The town of Madison is getting a makeover.
First Selectman Fillmore McPherson told NBC Connecticut there's been no major investment in the town's primary commercial district on Boston Post Road in more than a century. But with a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning, that's all about to change.
Madison is keeping all the old charm but with a gleaming new look. By this time next year, downtown Madison will have more curb appeal – literally – right down to the granite.
"We're going to be replacing the sidewalks on both sides of the street," McPherson said.
And that's just the beginning. A revitalization project initially conceptualized in 2002 will leave very few stones unturned. In fact, about 24,000 square feet of that concrete slab sidewalk will be replaced by brick pavers – an instant facelift.
"Trees and tree grates, with new plantings that are appropriate for a downtown situation," McPherson explained.
Downtown Madison's literal curb appeal will get an upgrade as well, with granite to replace the existing curbing. Even some of the standard-issue road signs will be taken away to make room for more ornate versions.
Much of what will be replaced has been here for more than half the town's 189-year history. Not that downtown Madison is lacking quaintness: with several locally-owned businesses, it's one of the more idyllic main drags in the state.
"It's going to be beautiful," Grand Apizza owner Michael Nuzzo predicted, shrugging off any worry of disruption while the dust flies.
"It's going to interfere a little, but we'll work around it. It'll be all right," McPherson said, pointing out that downtown Madison will remain open for business almost as usual. "It's probably not going to be until next spring before we finish. We'll be knocking off work about mid-November."
He cautioned that some aspects of the touchup, such as tree planting, must bow to Mother Nature.
Although he doesn't have a final tally, McPherson said the end cost will almost definitely be less than the originally estimated $3.2 million, most of which is being funded by state grants. He said some of the cost has been defrayed by volunteer efforts in the planning stage.
"[Volunteers have] driven a lot of the design work, and doing surveys about what people would like. We've had a lot of input from the residents and citizens of the town," he said.
Other promised improvements include modernizing parking space to current code, aesthetically pleasing new streetlight fixtures with energy-efficient LED bulbs, an overhaul of the center median strip, and removal of all overhead power lines.
Construction is set to begin the week of Monday, July 6.