Moving ahead with Middletown’s waterfront expansion

MIDDLETOWN, Conn (WTNH) — With breathtaking views looking out over the Connecticut River, development of Middletown’s amazing waterfront may finally be opening up.
“The Connecticut River is a gem. One of the things people are surprised of is how little development there is on the river,” said Danny Crenin, owner of the Mattabesett Canoe Club.

Crenin is really the only game in town when it comes to waterfront dining…or waterfront anything.

“People say well that will be competition, my view is the more people we get down here the more amenities we provide, the greater it will be for the success of the city and everybody here,” said Crenin.

The vision is to connect the already bustling main street in Middletown with a soon to be developed waterfront.

A plan that could set the city upon a strong economic foothold for the future.

“That’s very exciting – because we can create something that will outlast all of us. And build something for the community in the long run,” said Mayor Daniel Drew.

It’s been a long, challenging journey. Before the project could launch the sewage treatment plant needed to be moved out. That meant a new sewer line had to be built connecting to Cromwell. Not an easy task.

“Getting that done involved years long negotiation process. Involving the City of Middletown, the Town of Cromwell, the City of New Britain, the Town of Berlin, the city councils in each of those places, inland wetlands, planning and zoning in Cromwell, army core of engineers, Connecticut DOT, Connecticut DEEP and I think I might be leaving out one federal agency,” said Drew.

That was just one phase.

Once the city has remedied is moving of major sewage systems, the anchor of the project with start with a boathouse and events center above it. Eventually connecting like a string of pearls along the waterfront, with mixed use development including condos.

“We expect that this will be a tourist attraction, and a regional attraction, people from throughout Connecticut already come to Middletown – we think they will come in even greater numbers when this is developed,” said Drew.

The project is now heading into the second phase, building a pump station. The people of Middletown will ultimately heave to approve a final design of the boathouse. Opportunities for the public to weigh in are set for the months to come, including a meeting in April.