New London seeks more inviting waterfront
By Scott Bellile
Dumpster pads for New London’s downtown alleyway will aim to reduce the number of trash and recycling bins visible along the Wolf River.
The New London City Council on Feb. 14 passed a motion authorizing engineering firm MSA Professional Services to design two dumpster pads for $5,850 total.
One pad is proposed for the west end of the alley toward Taft Park. The other would be centered in the alley. The pads would serve as communal areas containing multiple dumpsters, to be used by North Water Street businesses as well as the upstairs apartment tenants.
North Water Street business owners and members of Forward New London, a citizen-led downtown revitalization group, made the request for dumpster pads to the city. While not all downtown business owners attend Forward New London meetings, those who did in recent months agreed communal dumpster pads would look better along the river than each business having its own dumpster as is current practice.
Two restaurants, Jolly Roger’s Pizzeria and El Tequila Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, are interested in having outdoor seating if they alley is cleaned up. Jolly Roger’s co-owner Shellie Leahy said at past Forward New London meetings she will not consider it until there are fewer dumpsters because the odor would overwhelm customers.
MSA is scheduled to finish design plans for the dumpster pad in mid-March, according to the amended contract.
MSA is already contracted to perform a nearly $500,000 restoration of the deteriorating retaining wall along the north riverbank this summer. During the wall project, MSA will also install a dock and fishing pier.
Once the dock is installed, Forward New London expects more boaters and fishermen on the river, so the civic group wants the waterfront to look more inviting.
The pads might be enclosed for aesthetic reasons and to prevent public dumping.
“My concern here is we’re doing this to clean up the alley and make it look better so that the dumpsters are all in one place, but I’ve seen multiple times where Graichen [Sanitation, the trash collector] picks up once a week, and businesses have three times that amount of garbage sitting out there,” Alderwoman Lori Dean said at the city council meeting. “Are they going to be able to accommodate that?”
“There’s actually a couple of the businesses down there that do get multiple pickups during the week,” Public Works Director Jeff Bodoh replied. “And yeah, it would be more pickups down there for [Graichen] … They’re going to have like a preliminary preview of the dumpsters. I want to make sure that they can work with the configuration so they can properly pick up the dumpsters.”
Jeff Graichen, co-owner of Graichen Sanitation, told Forward New London at its January meeting that his company could pick up trash more often from the dumpster pads.
One point he brought up is some business owners may become unhappy with the farther walk to take out the trash after losing their personal dumpsters.
“It comes down to how far people want to transit their recycles and trash to a certain area, which in the summer and in the spring and fall is not too bad, but when you get an ice storm, it’s not a lot of fun,” Graichen said.