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$2.2 million project to update Waterbury Green is complete

WATERBURY -- The temporary fence that has surrounded the Waterbury Green for just over a year will come down Thursday morning, according to city officials.

In May 2016, Waterbury closed off the green to the public to complete $2.2 million in renovations and updates. It's part of the Waterbury NEXT project paid for through a state grant.

"The vision for this was to upgrade a lot of the amenities of the downtown green, but to keep its original character," said Mark Lombardo, Supervisor of Parks and Golf Courses in Waterbury.

Just about everything in the green is new including water fountains, benches, trash cans and LED lights. The walkways still follow the same paths, but have new concrete and pavers.

Lombardo said, "The last upgrades haven't been done since late '80s or early '90s, so it was time for a makeover."

There are a lot of improvements that aren't as easily seen including an underground irrigation system, upgraded utilities to help power large events and concerts on the green, and free Wi-Fi.

City officials hope these new amenities will encourage a different type of crowd to gather on the green, including students from the nearby UConn-Waterbury branch.

An official opening ceremony with Mayor Neil O'Leary and other city leaders is scheduled for Tuesday at 5 p.m.

"I'm hoping they open soon so we can just go in there and just enjoy it, you know. I'm looking forward to it," said lifelong Waterbury resident Luz Rosado.

She said, "I'm hoping the people will take care of it."