More improvements planned for Trumbull's Long Hill Green

TRUMBULL — The placement of the town’s World War I monument on Long Hill Green makes it an accident waiting to happen, according to First Selectman Vicki Tesoro. The stone marker sits on the green just a few feet from a curved section of Main Street with a 35 mph speed limit.

It wouldn’t take very much for a car driving on Main Street to hit it, she said.

“Somebody might be traveling too fast, and we hope that doesn't happen, but it could, and the car could end up on that green and the rock where the memorial is located on a stone,” said Tesoro.

But that will soon be in the past, as a new location for the monument is one of a number of improvements planned for the green as the town begins work on the third stage of the Long Hill Green Improvement Project. The work was scheduled to begin Thursday and conclude in August.

The entire improvement project, which is planned to include a new stop light, new plantings and additional sidewalks, should be completed in Spring of 2022.

Tesoro said the current phase of the project will consist of the cleaning and “greenscaping,” of the area, plus the replacement of lights, plantings and structures that had fallen into disrepair. The work is intended to improve sight lines and make travel safer in the area.

The improvement plan was first developed in 2018 and previous phases included the construction of a right turn lane on Whitney Avenue and a sidewalk connecting Whitney Avenue to Dunellen Road. The results of these first phases, according to Tesoro, has been an increase in visitors to businesses and more pedestrians in the area.

Rina Bakalar, the town’s economic and community development director, said the latest phase of the project would result in a more inviting location for pedestrians in addition to increasing vehicular safety in the area..

“We're building out the village district,” Bakalar said. “Walkability is one thing, even safer vehicular traffic, and ability to use the green space more functionally, to give the area more of a sense of place.”

Bakalar had first described the changes when the town held a public hearing about plans to make Trumbull Center more walkable and safer. She said the improvements were a way to make the area more business friendly.

For her, the end results of the project may even lead to the area becoming a destination in its own right.

“Residents can use the area, congregate, visit the businesses,” she said. “We may even in the future have modest events out there for the community.”

The work in the area is not expected to cause traffic disruptions.

The World War I monument isn’t the only memorial that will be moved as a result of the ongoing work. The Chester Main plaque, which has sunk into the ground, will be raised to make it more visible to passers by.

According to the town, on Dec. 15, 1957, Assistant Chief Chester J. Main was working to decorate the tree on Long Hill Green for the annual tree lighting, along with firefighters Art Knapp, Ben Cavaliere, and Paul Provenzano.

The members had raised a ladder, which they were climbing to hang lights, when they came in contact with the power lines and he was electrocuted and later died from his injuries.

Tesoro said that the end result would make the area less dangerous for all.

“We're trying to make that area safer. That's always my number one priority,” she said.