MYSTIC — While there’s nothing “wrong” with Coogan Boulevard, a four-lane route carved into the hill behind Olde Mystic Village and Mystic Aquarium between Route 27 and Jerry Browne Road, improvements to the roadway could increase Stonington’s grand list around Mystic’s “Golden Triangle.”

That’s the premise of Stonington’s Department of Planning and Economic Development Commission, an idea that can be traced back to a 2017 Community Conversation forum when residents and businesses were asked what zoning changes and infrastructure improvements might improve the area.

In the interim, University of Connecticut landscape architecture students visited Coogan Boulevard and the area around Exit 90 off Interstate 95 and were challenged to reimagine the area as the “Mystic River Gateway,” a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood center. Some of the student concepts included creating a roundabout at the four-way intersection at Clara Drive and adding a tree-lined walking path down the middle of Coogan Boulevard with auto lanes at the sides, transforming the road into an actual boulevard.

On Thursday, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Olde Mystic Village Meeting House, the students’ work will be presented at a Community Conversation focusing on potential improvements for the Coogan Boulevard area. The forum is sponsored by the Department of Planning and the Economic Development Commission.

“These are raw ideas right now. We’re going to ask people what they think,” said Jason Vincent, director of planning for Stonington, Thursday. “We need to have conceptual validation, to ask if is this worth doing.”

The students’ work will provide a vehicle to restart the conversation from 2017, and public input at the forum may help the town decide what direction to take.

“This is a ‘listening tour,’” he said. “We keep collecting ideas to understand what the community would like us to work on.”

For more information, contact the Department of Planning at 860-535-5095 or dop@stonington-ct.gov.

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com

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