standing Stonington Town Hall

STONINGTON — During the coming budget deliberations, the Board of Selectmen will explore solutions for the former circus lot property at the end of Noyes Avenue and parking issues in downtown Mystic. Now they are seeking feedback from the public as they prepare to move forward with both projects.

The town will host separate discussions on each project in the coming weeks, with a presentation and community conversation on the Pawcatuck park proposal scheduled for Wednesday, and a separate joint discussion on downtown Mystic parking slated with the Groton Town Council on Feb. 21. First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough said both meetings will give officials and members of the public a chance to hear details regarding the projects and offer feedback on proposed solutions.

“These are two topics, the overgrown Circus Lot and downtown Mystic parking, that we’ve been working towards solutions on for a long time now. It will be good to be able to bring these both forward and make additional progress,” Chesebrough said this week.

The first meeting, which will be held at the Pawcatuck Fire Department from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., will focus solely on solutions for the vacant lot at the end of Noyes Avenue.

Chesebrough sees a future for the overgrown lot that includes a beautiful riverfront park that could benefit downtown Pawcatuck, something that has also long been a vision of the Economic Development Commission as part of its ongoing effort to revitalize the downtown area. It would also provide a use for the site, which has remained unused for decades.

Noyes Avenue runs parallel to Stillman Avenue, and dead-ends in the lot, which includes riverfront views that look across to Canal Street in Westerly. The lot, which became known as the Circus Lot because of the events once held there, contains 6 acres of land.

Westerly had purchased the lot more than a half-century ago, hoping to use it to provide drinking water for Pawcatuck customers, but the well was never used due to concerns that the water supply was no longer drinkable. Chesebrough has said there is a history of previous environmental contamination on the property as well.

The town is currently in talks with Westerly regarding acquisition of the property. There is a clause in the original agreement that stipulates Stonington would have the first option to purchase the property back at $35,000. Recently, however, Chesebrough requested and the Board of Selectmen approved a budget request of $445,000 to begin exploring clean-up and redevelopment.

The overgrown lot remains unused and the river largely cannot be seen from the end of Noyes Avenue.

“The plans for the Circus Lot are a big ask. I know that, but I also think the town has a real opportunity here,” said Chesebrough, who said implementing a solution for the lot was one of her priorities prior to the pandemic shifting the course of everything. “I want to get these ideas out there and on the table so that we could begin to have more valuable discussions about the best way to use that site in the future,” Chesebrough said.

A flyer for the meeting is available on the town’s website at

The second meeting, which will be held as a joint session that includes the members of the Board of Selectmen and the Groton Town Council, is less geared toward the public and more designed as a working session to address parking issues in downtown Mystic.

Chesebrough said there has been plenty of discussion over the past few years regarding how to address growing parking shortages in Mystic and its impact on emergency services and businesses, especially as the town has embraced tourists seeking more outdoor vacation and day-trip options. Some discussions will include concepts such as parking lots, parking meters and other restricted or timed parking.

“The goal is to find a viable, long-term solution that will best serve everyone in the community,” she said.

For more information on the joint meeting, see the Town of Groton website at

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.