TWO-BLOCK FOCUS: Firm chosen for downtown Shelton study

The city will hire the engineering and consulting firm of Milone & MacBroom to complete a $10,000 study of a two-block area in downtown Shelton.

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved the hiring at its Feb. 10 meeting.

The goal is to create possible concept plans for the area bordered by Howe Avenue, Center Street, Coram Avenue and White Street.

The city owns a number of parcels in the area, including the Echo Hose firehouse, probate court building, two parking lots, and a former police/fire station. The area also includes the privately-owned Matto site, where a large structure burned down 13 months ago, as well as the U.S. post office.

Possible new City Hall site?

Mayor Mark Lauretti has said the city should look into the possibility of building a new City Hall there, noting the opportunity to construct such a landmark building — and perhaps transform the city center in the process — doesn’t come along very often.

Milone & MacBroom, based in Cheshire, is a large firm that does considerable work throughout the Northeast from multiple offices.

The company “has a good track record,” said P&Z member Virginia Harger, who chairs the P&Z's Downtown Subcommittee.

Six firms had made inquiries about doing the study but Milone & MacBroom is the only one who actually submitted a proposal. The company has done other work in Shelton, especially for the Shelton Economic Development Corp.

Could lead to other consulting work

P&Z members expressed surprise more companies didn’t pursue the work because it could lead to related work in the future, especially if a major project should be pursued on the site.

P&Z Alternate Frank Osak said he thinks the limited money involved in the consulting contract may have discouraged other firms.

P&Z Chairman Ruth Parkins said she hopes the study leads to “a real conceptual plan on what that area will look like,” taking into account such factors as parking, traffic patterns and architecture.

Milone & MacBroom is likely to have 45 to 60 days to come up with ideas for the two-block area. It will work with P&Z staff, the Downtown Subcommittee and the mayor,  among others.