Meriden holds grand opening for new city green

MERIDEN – A project that was an idea for decades and in the works for years is now taking Meriden into the future.

The city held a grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting for the new Meriden Green on Friday evening. Governor Dannel Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati, and others spoke before officially opening the 14-acre public park to the public.

The green is multi-functional. It provides space for residents to gather, play, and listen to outdoor concerts. But it also serves as a much-needed flood control basin.

“In order to get what you see here today we moved over 80,000 tons of soil on this parcel as well as put in all of this sidewalk, all the plantings, and all the lawn,” said Meriden Public Works Director Bob Bass.

The flooding issue at the center of the city had caused businesses to move away from downtown or out of the city altogether over the years. It is part of the reason the land sat undeveloped for so long and why so many fought for decades to make this happen.

LaRosa Construction Company, a Meriden-based family business, took the plans and made the project come together over the last three and a half years.

“We take a lot of pride in it because we’re from this town,” said Joe LaRosa, Vice-President of LaRosa Construction Co.

Now that the project is completed, the goal is that it will lead to further downtown redevelopment.

“I am constantly telling people Meriden is coming back and we are coming back strong, but until this park, until we opened this up, it was hard for people to see,” said State Senator Dante Bartolomeo, a 22-year Meriden resident.

There is space surrounding the park for new developments and buildings, including residential housing and mixed-use developments.

The opening celebrations continue on Saturday September 10 for “Community Day” from 9am to 4pm. The events include tours of the green, a farmer’s market, food vendors, and live music.