In an attempt to address economic conditions within the Silas Deane Highway corridor, the Towns of Rocky Hill and Wethersfield formed a partnership and made a commitment to revitalize the Silas Deane Highway spanning both towns. Utilizing STEAP grant funds, the towns jointly hired a consultant team to evaluate and conceptualize a revitalization plan for the 3.46 mile corridor from RT 15 in Wethersfield to Dividend Road in Rocky Hill entitled, “The Silas Deane: A Vision for Reinvestment, Wethersfield and Rocky Hill, Connecticut”, prepared by Fuss & O’Neil, completed in 2006. Also funded was a market assessment study prepared by RKG Associates.
The Fuss & O’Neil plan laid-out a framework in which to begin the economic revitalization of the entire Silas Deane Highway, identifying the project area as a “Town Center”. This framework recommends design modifications to the existing highway at specific points, implementation of a façade program and zoning regulation changes. Elements of the plans are now being (and have been) implemented in both towns.
In response to the Fuss & O’Neil plan, the Town of Rocky Hill applied for, and received, a number of STEAP grants to fund the design and construction plans for the Silas Deane Highway Streetscape, as well as the implementation of a façade improvement grant program. Rocky Hill completed Phase I in 2013. Improvements consist of roadway reconfigurations, intersection safety improvements, creation of two pocket parks, new sidewalks, landscaping, street furniture, decorative lighting and decorative crosswalks. In addition to the completion of Phase I. The Town has also funded 14 façade improvement projects for various businesses located along the Silas Deane Highway.
Phase II is currently in design. The anticipated start of construction for Phase II is Spring 2016.