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Middletown proposes a riverfront revamp

The city unveiled a master plan on Saturday for future growth and development along the Connecticut River.

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Middletown is ready for a riverfront revamp.  On Saturday, the city unveiled a master plan for future growth and development along the Connecticut River.

The re-development area stretches from Harbor Park to the Rushford Center, and from the river back towards Route 9 and Silver Street, covering over 200 acres.

The master plan includes recommendations for future land use, flood protection, transportation improvements, and community benefits.

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Leaders say the area includes various industrial, residential, open space, and under-developed sites that can be turned into parks, businesses, outdoor entertainment areas, new boat access points, and other community spaces.

Plans to redesign Middletown's riverfront began in earnest in 2011, when a sewage treatment plant was designated for decommissioning, opening up a key waterfront parcel. 

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Mayor Ben Florsheim said the plans have been a long time coming.

"Going back administration after administration, there have been those who have recognized the need to make a generational effort to reconnect Middletown with the soul of our city, the soul of our community, the reason people settled here in the first place, the reason immigrants first came here, which is this great river,” he said.

It was a long time coming, and finalizing and building the ambitious vision will also take time – and money. “To move forward with this project over the next many years, we will be looking at public and private investment,” said Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce President Larry McHugh

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There were preliminary design concepts for the master plan's long-term, multi-decade build-out that were created using input from the community.

Following this master plan, the consultant team will begin to work with city leadership, planning officials, and the community to adopt a zoning and regulatory framework for development.

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