NORWALK, Conn. – Workmen have transformed the view on a Norwalk roadway in advance of a grant to create a more permanent fix-up.
The wildflower meadows installed by volunteer Mike Mushak in medians on West Avenue have been pulled up and replaced by purple petunias and other colorful flowers.
“The Redevelopment Agency assumed the maintenance responsibilities for the SoNo traffic islands and Art Park of which the plantings are a part,” Norwalk Redevelopment Agency Executive Director Tim Sheehan said in an email.
More than a year ago, at a meeting to unveil West Avenue landscaping plans, then-RDA Special Projects Manager MaryGrace Weber said the work would include narrowing the median strips and installing irrigation to provide the water needed for the landscaping. Funding sources had been identified to support the work, she said, but Sheehan said the new flower planting is “not part of the larger West Ave. Master Plan or the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant Application.”
That grant is a United States Department of Transportation program. In May, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that USDOT had received grant applications totaling $9.5 billion, when there is only $600 million to go around.
However, Norwalk has the funds to go ahead with another RDA project. In April, RDA Senior Project Manager Susan Sweitzer informed the SoNo Task Force that lights would be installed on a trellis along the waterfront at the Maritime Aquarium. Sweitzer said this week that the installation will start on Monday.
The new SoNo sign under the Washington Street railroad trestle bridge is also expected to light up. The LED lights are on order, Sweitzer said.
Don’t expect a SoNo sign for the other side of the Washington Street intersection as yet, she said. But the LED lights will be programmable and change colors, she said in April.