In May of this year, private real estate investment and development company Paragon Realty Group acquired the leasehold for Wilton Center’s Town Green, a town-owned property.
At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Oct. 19, the selectmen were briefed on Paragon’s development plans.
There to speak from the company were CEO John Nelson and property manager David Wright. They were joined by Eva Chiamulera, landscaper with Austin Ganim Landscape Design LLC.
Nelson commented on the shared value the property assumes in the partnership between the town as a public landlord with a mission to further economic development in the area, and Paragon as the private tenant looking to keep buildings occupied with businesses.
“It’s in our mutual interest to enhance that property and to create the best retail environment [possible] on the Town Green,” Nelson said.
Those enhancements, which Wright called “life safety” and “aesthetic” improvements, include the milling and repaving of the “main” Town Green parking lot that runs from Hubbard Road to Old Ridgefield Road.
“It was very tired,” Wright said, “had a lot of potholes, a lot of undulations in it, a lot of cracks.”
That part of the plan was originally slated for August, but now that Austin Ganim has been commissioned and a landscaping project is in the works, it had to be stalled. To date, an irrigation system has been set, and some of the bigger, more mature trees on the green have been pruned to eliminate dead limbs that could pose safety hazards and also to increase the amount of sunlight able to penetrate through to the property’s grassy area where people often walk.
According to Wright, paving will resume in the coming weeks, and planting will commence before the weekend.
“We’re doing the whole parking lot … that landscaped area in front of Berkshire Hathaway, around the side where the green is, and particularly with a big focus on the gazebo area, we’re going to put in all perennials … we’re really, really excited. It’s going to have a nice pop.”
Chiamulera presented the landscape design, which in addition to adding a number of new native and non-native species will work to save pre-existing growth where possible.
Selectman Mike Kaelin asked if there was a plan in place for future maintenance of the plants, and inquired as to when such maintenance would need to be performed.
Chiamulera said most of the plants are long-lived, “so it’s really one of those situations where as things are developing, you may just come back in and just touch things up and not have to do an entire refreshment.”
“This particular plan comes at a very substantial cost, so it’s not something that we’re looking to do again in the short term. … Overall it should be a 10- to 20-year plan,” interjected Wright.
First Selectman Bill Brennan said, “It’s very, very exciting. … It will complement the many other things we’re doing in town — improving our sidewalks, pedestrian safety — and I think it adds to the whole environment. I’m so glad you’re going to be able to get it in this fall.”“