The town council recently discussed a revitalization plan for Thompsonville, which will include a new physical look, social experience and economic impact for that section of town.
"Thompsonville needs the most help, which involves re-energizing the residents, attracting private investment dollars and sprucing up the location to create economic vitality and vibrancy," Assistant town planner Courtney Hendricson said during a Dec. 17 special meeting of the town council. "A targeted effort in Thompsonville benefits the entire Enfield community."
Hendricson proposed physical changes to Thompsonville, including: a downtown area, a transit center, walking and biking paths, on-street parking, and increased and improved access to the Connecticut River.
Hendricson pointed out the positive attractions already in Thompsonville — the Strand Theater, the Connecticut River waterfront, Freshwater Pond and Bigelow Commons.
"There's a need for busing, biking, walkways, lighting, businesses and housing to create a better sense of place," Hendricson said.
Hendricson said the revitalization would also include small stores with housing on upper floors.
Councilwoman Gina Cekala suggested town planners consider including boutiques and a possible hotel in the area. If a proposed casino in Springfield is built, she said, it could put Enfield on the map as a destination.
Councilman Greg Stokes said his biggest concern was parking. He suggested tearing down dilapidated properties and turning them into parking areas.
Town staff recently conducted a survey about Thompsonville and got over 100 responses. Those surveyed indicated a desire for more attractions and activities, including microbreweries, coffee shops, concerts, and farmers markets.
In January, the town council will start setting goals for the next two years. Town Manager Matthew Coppler said he hopes Thompsonville will be included in those goals, but added the town would have to spend money on the transit center, bikeway trails and other improvements.
Coppler said there have been recent improvements around Freshwater Pond, such as new fountains and a paved parking area across from Caronna's Market.
Hendricson said the plan presented to the town council was a "short-term road map at this point."
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