NORWICH – No matter what day of the week, there’s someone chilling out at Howard T. Brown Park. Norwich resident Karen Carignan was visiting the park on Monday, visiting her friend Gary Moyer and playing checkers.
“Coming here is nice and peaceful, except for a siren every now and then,” Carignan said. “It’s normal in the city center.”
Harbor Commission Chairman Tucker Braddock hopes the new funding will make the park an attraction for residents of Norwich and the surrounding area.
Brown Park is on Chelsea Harbor Drive next to Norwich Harbor, where the Shetucket and Yantic rivers meet to form the Thames River.
State Representative Emmitt Riley announced on Friday that the State Bond Commission had approved $ 544,020 in funding for Howard T. Brown Memorial Park to replace the docks, in addition to the $ 200,000 set aside by Norwich in 2019 for the project.
“I’m encouraged that we’re getting something back from the state of Connecticut,” Braddock said. “It’s important to clean up Howard Brown Park, and that’s one way to do it.”
The work that will be done on the park, according to Braddock, will include replacing the docks at the front of the park and to the right of the boat launch, adding safety rails and putting in place a ramp for compliance with the United States Disability Act. He expects the work to take place next fall or spring.
“If it’s spring 2022, then it won’t have those three or four months of winter wear and tear,” Braddock said.
Braddock said the docks themselves are not a safety hazard, but noted that they are getting older as they have been there for at least 28 years. It pays homage to Norwich Public Works for patching up the docks over the years.
“Concrete only has a certain life, and we feel the docks have filled their lives,” Braddock said.
Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom said the buoyancy foam that makes up part of the docks erodes over time and the quay could break. He also said the replacement docks will either be installed on flat beds or on the Thames.
Nystrom hopes the improvements to the park will also encourage other events to be held, including shows such as the free weekly Rock the Docks summer concerts of the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce.
Carignan also wants to see more events in the park.
“Before, there were all kinds of festivals and stuff here, and I would like that to come back,” Carignan said.
Riley also values Howard T. Brown Park as a resource for the town, highlighting all bass fishing in the area.
“It joins some really nice rivers, and there’s a lot of current there and there’s great fishing,” Riley said.
Lebanese Carl Eskedal was fly fishing in the park on Monday. He visits the park eight to ten times a year and has been going there for 30 years. He has the impression that the docks are in good condition.
“The guys who fish don’t really care,” Eskedal said. “They stand in the woods in the water.”
However, said Eskedal, it is good to make documents more accessible to people with disabilities.
“All rivers have everything accessible to people with disabilities, so why not?” Said Eskedal. “It makes sense to me.”
Braddock said the park is an asset to the city because it gives people the opportunity to spend time on the water.
“It’s something the citizens of Norwich can enjoy, so let’s make it as good and profitable as possible,” Braddock said.
In one look:
Norwich Harbor Commission executive chairman Tucker Braddock wants to remind people to obey the Howard T. Brown Memorial Park parking regulations and not to feed the ducks as this disrupts their natural diet and could make them sick.