A hotel would join the more visible structures along the waterfront. A band shell would appear on the south lawn of . And the site formerly occupied by the famous “little pink house,” relocated after a Supreme Court eminent domain decision, would be filled in with an observation tower.
These were some of the proposals put forth in the Yale Urban Design Workshop’s “Fort Trumbull Vision,” a 75-page report detailing recommendations for the revitalization of the Fort Trumbull peninsula. The workshop, a branch of the Yale School of Architecture that provides urban design assistance to communities in the region, has been meeting with business owners and residents, holding public presentations—including a —and gathering data for the proposal since May of 2010.
“This plan is not intended to either redress grievances or make people forget the events and battles surrounding the proposed redevelopment of Fort Trumbull, but rather to restart and move forward the actual development process in as inclusive and constructive a manner as possible, so that the site can be a productive and attractive part of the New London community, while acknowledging all aspects of its history,” the report states.
The report says that the main goal is to “move towards a comprehensive urban design concept for the Fort Trumbull area that anticipates the creation over time of a distinctive mixed-use urban neighborhood, creating economic development opportunities built around the historic and scenic resources of the site.” The strategy would capitalize on the waterfront views as well as natural features such as rock outcroppings while making the peninsula more accessible to visitors.
Using Fort Trumbull State Park as an existing destination point, the proposed development would create a number of “anchor” destinations with a neighborhood “fabric” of residential and commercial spaces linking them. The key additional development would be a resort hotel and conference center on the north end of the peninsula, along with a nearby marina.
Another significant development would be a cultural site on the southern part of the peninsula. Though the report leaves the possible subject matter of this site open, it suggests that a Coast Guard museum would be fitting due to the existing and the fact that Fort Trumbull once housed the . A nearby band shell could be used for outdoor concerts by the Coast Guard Band.
One goal of the development would be to strengthen connections between downtown New London and Fort Trumbull. A pedestrian bridge to , either along the existing Amtrak bridge or with a new drawbridge, would be complemented by strengthened bicycle and pedestrian routes along Howard Street and Shaw’s Cove. With a and nearby jobs at , the report says that Fort Trumbull should have several modes of public transit. These could include a seasonal water taxi service with stops on the New London and Groton waterfronts and a possible second train station in Fort Trumbull.
The other proposals in the report include:
- Improvement of the Howard Street corridor to allow easier vehicle access to Fort Trumbull
- A commercial fishing pier with public access and accompanying restaurants
- Development of Howard Street parcels with attractions such as a health club, hockey rink, and tennis courts
- Structured parking on the peninsula, ideally located in the middle of blocks, as well as a central parking garage
- The development of Hamilton Street as a arts-oriented mixed use area with studios and galleries
- A Heritage Trail linking historic sites in Fort Trumbull and downtown New London
- The establishment of a Fort Trumbull Action Committee and Design Review Board, “including representatives of the City, the local stakeholders, the NLDC , preservationists and local design professionals, to steward recommendations of this report and review any future development proposals for compliance with this Plan.”
- Active promotion and marketing of Fort Trumbull, along with the pursuit of relevant state and federal grants
Most of the proposals are projected to be long-term developments, not likely to appear for two to 10 years. The report recommends that some proposals can be implemented immediately, such as the establishment of the Fort Trumbull Action Committee and Design Review Board and marketing of the peninsula.
A presentation on the plan will take place at the meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday at .