Login to Portal

Forgot your password? Click here.

Don’t have an account? Click here.


CT Construction Digest Friday January 6, 2023

Plan to rebuild Hartford highways gaining support, waiting for DOT

Tom Condon

If brought to fruition, it could be the most ambitious public works project in Connecticut this century, a radical redesign and reconstruction of the infrastructure in the core of the capital region. 

But first, everyone has to agree that it’s a good idea — and a key state agency has yet to be heard from. 

The project, announced two years ago, is called Hartford 400. It calls for the removal of the massive highway interchanges in Hartford and East Hartford, the construction of new bridges and tunnels, more parkland and the reconnection of North Hartford to downtown, among other things.

It is a daunting endeavor: preliminary estimates predict it will take 15 years and cost $17 billion. But some of that money is in the till.

Counting more than $6 million in the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act, the project has drawn more than $10 million in public and private funding for economic analysis, preliminary engineering and specific elements of the overall project. 

With more federal infrastructure funding becoming available, “this is becoming achievable,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin at a recent press conference at which U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, announced a $900,000 federal earmark for the project. 

Also, the project’s design, by Hartford native and Los Angeles-based urban designer Doug Suisman, has won wide local praise and this fall garnered two major awards.

The potential benefits to the region are plentiful, said Larson, an ardent supporter, who ticked them off at the press conference: the project will open large swathes of downtown land in Hartford and East Hartford for economic development and recreation; improve mobility and alleviate the worst traffic bottleneck in the state; repair the decaying dikes along the river to prevent a Katrina-like catastrophe; and improve air quality and public health.

But keeping a complex, multi-year project on track is a huge challenge.

“Long term continuity is in short supply,” architect and planner Patrick Pinnell observed. Supporters could leave office, business interests could object, funding could dry up, and so on. 

The first challenge, at this point, is that the state Department of Transportation, indispensable to the project, has yet to sign off on it. 

Suisman said in a recent interview that along with the funding, the keys to bringing a long-term project to fruition are vision, leadership and a deadline.

A deadline, Suisman said, helps focus the effort and make it easier to organize the work. He cited as an example preparations for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, on which “everyone is working like crazy.” The deadline is in the title: it would be more than a little embarrassing if the city weren’t ready to host the 2028 Games in 2028.

The deadline for the Hartford project is 2035, The city’s 400th anniversary, hence the project’s name. It is an ambitious timeframe.

As for leadership, the governor and his commissioners of transportation and economic development must be on board. Gov. Ned Lamont has indicated support for the project, as has House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford. Larson has garnered support from other members of the state’s Congressional delegation. 

But since many of the current officeholders will leave and be replaced over the course of a long project, it may be necessary to create an agency or authority to oversee the project, Suisman said. 

But how it is run likely will depend on how the vision comes together. It is still not unanimous, in part because we’ve reached this point via two separate but more or less parallel planning processes, one of which is not yet complete.

The 1960s-era highway system in Hartford was criticized almost as soon as it was built, for isolating parts of the city, poorly designed ramps and generally sacrificing too much of the place, including historic buildings, for the ability to drive to or through it.

About two decades ago, the DOT began planning to replace the 2.5-mile series of viaducts that carry I-84 through much of Hartford. The DOT first considered simply repairing the viaducts as they stood, but a citizens group urged the department to broaden its thinking and undo some of the damage the highway did to the city. 

Department planners first considered bringing the elevated highway down to grade level as an urban boulevard. This would have cured the walling effect of the viaduct, but would not have solved the traffic congestion. I-84 was designed to carry 55,000 cars a day but by then was carrying more than three times that number, 175,000 vehicles. Add 100,000 on I-91, and the interchange was seriously overburdened. 

In 2016, then-DOT Commissioner James Redeker initiated a study of the I-84/I-91 interchange, looking for a way to reduce the congestion.  

Shortly thereafter, Larson himself came up with a plan to bring the highway traffic through an elaborate series of tunnels and asked DOT engineers to study it. They didn’t think it would work. They came up with a different solution, a “northern alignment,” which would bring I-84 on a new, capped connector through the city’s Clay Arsenal neighborhood to the North Meadows, then over a new bridge over the Connecticut River to reconnect to the existing highway in East Hartford.

Larson didn’t think that plan went far enough to recapture the river. Finally, in 2019, DOT pulled back the I-84 study and replaced it with a three-year regional mobility study, saying the region’s infrastructure needed a more “holistic approach.” 

That study is due to be completed in 2023.

In 2007-08, leaders of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts initiated an urban design effort to better connect downtown Hartford’s arts and cultural institutions and make the area more inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists.

They hired Suisman, who proceeded to design the iQuilt, a loose-footed “green walk” of public spaces, some new and some restored, running from the river to Bushnell Park and the Capitol. A nonprofit, the iQuilt Partnership was created to execute the plan, which has quietly made downtown a more pleasant and less intimidating place to walk.

The iQuilt folks decided to keep the their project going, with a broader scope. Suisman recalled that Hartford was nearing its 400th anniversary, in 2035. Using that as a deadline and the river as a focus, the group, backed with a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, created a vision.

Suisman said in a recent interview that the DOT’s decision to study the possible relocation of the I-84/I-91 interchange opened the door to bigger thinking about how the region could evolve.

Studying earlier plans, taking parts of the DOT plan and Larson’s tunnel concept, Suisman created Hartford 400. 

One of several issues with the current highway system is that it was never finished. It was supposed to include a ring road, but only a small portion of it, from Windsor to Manchester, was built. Thus both local and through traffic are funneled into the choked downtown interchange.

The Hartford 400 plan would create a kind of inner ring, though roughly triangular in shape.  The base of the triangle would be I-84 in a tunnel running east from the Flatbush Avenue entrance to I-84; it would pass beneath South Hartford and surface just in time to cross the river via the Charter Oak Bridge. It would then rejoin the existing I-84 roadway through East Hartford towards Boston.

The second part of the triangle would run roughly where the I-84 viaduct is today. It would be a capped highway, below ground, emerging around the XFinity Theater. It would allow an eastbound driver on I-84 to connect to I-91 north towards Springfield.

The third leg of the triangle would run north-south below ground in East Hartford, connecting both Route 2 and I-84 west across a new Connecticut River Bridge and connecting to I-91 at an enlarged Jennings Road interchange. 

The triangular configuration allows the removal of both the I-84-I-91 interchange and almost all of the Mixmaster in East Hartford, freeing up more than 100 acres of prime urban land.

I-91 would run through through the middle of the triangle, on its current route but lowered and capped from Coltsville to Riverside Park. The cap above the highway would carry a new thoroughfare called River Road, bordered by new development on one side and new parkland on the other — effectively a 1.5 mile southward extension of Riverside Park. Thirteen streets would connect to River Road, allowing local traffic, bikes and pedestrians to connect to the river along the city’s entire riverfront.

With the triangle pattern in place, there would no longer be a need for the portion of I-84 from Union Station to the Bulkeley Bridge — now an elevated curve that drops into a 200-foot-wide trench — that walls off the North End from downtown. Morgan Street, now little more than a highway access ramp, could again become a street, connecting Main Street to the riverfront.

The project also includes a 7-mile linear park, to be called the HartLine, that would be built from Bloomfield along the little-used Griffin rail line to downtown and then to East Hartford across the Bulkeley Bridge. A branch of the HartLine would cross over I-91 near Dunkin’ Donuts Park via a new ramped bridge called RiverLink, replacing the present desolate structure with a more welcoming path from North Hartford and downtown directly into Riverside Park.

The Hartford 400 plan has been well received by local planners and officials and has received national attention. He and the iQuilt Partnership have been selected to receive the prestigious 2022 Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal in City and Regional Planning from the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania. The judges called Hartford 400 an “exemplary plan.”

The project also just received the 2022 Honor Award in Urban Design from the California chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who called the plan “transformative.”

Will the DOT’s mobility study endorse and support Hartford 400?

Strategic communications manager Shannon King Burnham responded to a CT Mirror inquiry with a guarded but positive statement:

“The Greater Hartford Mobility Study’s vision for enhanced mobility through an integrated, resilient, and multimodal transportation system shares many common goals with Hartford 400. The study includes similar concepts and recommendations in its universe of alternatives — several of which are moving through the screening process for detailed modeling and analysis.”

So, we’ll see.

Some may find it unusual that a public infrastructure plan can emanate from a private source, but Suisman said it happens as often as not. Good ideas are where you find them. For example, the hugely popular Belt Line in Atlanta, a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails and transit, was imagined by a graduate architecture student at Georgia Tech.

Locally, Riverfront Recapture, which has built a system of parks and amenities along both sides of the river that Hartford 400 would enhance, was founded by an executive at the Travelers Cos. Riverfront is a nonprofit that continues to expand parkland and trails. Similarly, iQuilt is a nonprofit that would help raise funds and coordinate the Hartford 400 effort.

Jackie Gorsky Mandyck, executive director of the iQuilt Partnership, said nonprofits such as hers play a regional coordination role that counties might play in other states. 

Indeed, projects that cover more than one municipality often are challenging in Connecticut. But in this case the two primary towns, Hartford and East Hartford,  are on the same page, in full support of Hartford 400, said Bronin and East Hartford Mayor Mike Walsh. 

Obviously the funding is a sine qua non for the project, but the federal government appears to have rediscovered large-scale infrastructure investment, evidenced by last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will provide $550 billion over five years. Larson’s office provided a list of more than a dozen other possible sources of government infrastructure funding that could support Hartford 400, including such programs as the Community Project Funding acts of 2022 and 2023 and the Reconnect Communities pilot program.

Larson’s full-fledged support is vital to the project. He has long taken an interest in the region’s infrastructure and shepherded a relatively major project, the Coltsville Historical Park in Hartford’s South Meadows, to fruition. 

At 74, the Congressman has represented the First District since 1999. Hartford 400 could be his legacy, or a large part of it. He calls the project “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” 

Is it all a pipe dream? Anyone who thinks so should look at Fall River, Mass., where a “very similar” project just broke ground, Suisman said in an email. It involves the removal of a four-lane elevated highway to reconnect downtown to the Taunton River waterfront. It will free urban land for housing and economic development and reconnect the city’s North End neighborhood to the river.

Suisman compared the Hartford highway system to the frame of a house. He said while the frame and its foundation are important, you don’t live in the frame, you live in the rooms. Hartford’s rooms are its streets, squares, parks and buildings. But you can’t build those rooms with an old frame that blocks the outdoors and isolates family members from each other. 

“We need a new frame.”

Finally, it is ironic, or perhaps unfortunate, that if Hartford 400 moves ahead, the major infrastructure project of the 21st century in Greater Hartford will involve correcting the errors made in the 20th century’s biggest project. Said Larson: “We have to get it right this time.”

This reporting was made possible, in part, through generous support from Robert W. Fiondella and the Fiondella Family Trust.

Downtown Windsor revitalization project secures $3 million for 'road diet'

Emily DiSalvo

WINDSOR — The town has received $3 million in federal funds to complete a "road diet" project on Broad Street. 

The $3 million, which was included in the year-end $1.7 trillion federal spending bill, will be combined with $1.2 million from the state to reduce the number of lanes on a segment of Broad Street running from Batchelder Road through the center of town, a distance of approximately 25,050 feet. The project is one piece of a downtown revitalization vision for Windsor, which includes a redeveloped Windsor Center Plaza led by Windsor native Greg Vaca.

The First Town Downtown group spearheading these efforts hosted  U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, in March for a tour of downtown, which Vaca believes led to the $3 million appropriation.

"We went through with him, 'What is the road diet? What development is happening around Windsor?'  to get him excited for the promise of improving the streetscape and how much value that would add to residents."

Broad Street in Windsor is part of a road extending from the North End of Hartford to downtown Windsor Locks. The segment in downtown Windsor has a speed limit of 30 mph and two lanes of traffic in both directions. In 2014, the town put together a transit-oriented development master plan that included many strategies for improving the downtown area that sits directly beside the Hartford Line train station. Some suggestions in the plan involved on-street parking and reducing the number of lanes. 

In addition to federal and state funding for construction, the Windsor Town Council, at a meeting Tuesday, accepted additional state funding for the design phases.

On Dec. 21, 2020, Windsor Town Council approved $85,000 for a preliminary design of the Broad Street road diet. Council reviewed the designs from this phase and selected a consultant to work with on the final design. The state awarded Windsor a $200,000 urban action grant for the final design phase, which will include a reduction from four lanes to two, on-street parking, left-turn pockets, bump-outs to help pedestrian crossing and traffic signal modifications. The council accepted these funds Tuesday.

A traffic study from 2014 and updated in 2020 shows the Broad Street corridor is expected to operate at an acceptable level even after a road diet, according to Town Engineer Robert Jarvis. 

Road diets are happening in the Greater Hartford area with increasing frequency. Hartford is working on a road diet for Asylum Avenue. According to city planners on the project, the theory is that fewer, narrower lanes naturally slow traffic.

"The problem with the speed limit of 30 miles an hour is speed limits don't matter, right?" Vaca said. "I mean, unless you're one of the few people that like just stares at your odometer, you basically drive as fast as you feel comfortable. Unfortunately, it's probably about 45, 50 miles an hour."

Final construction and design documents are expected to be completed in the fall, with construction anticipated to begin in the spring or summer of 2024, Jarvis said Tuesday.

Vaca, who will develop the Windsor Center Plaza as a separate part of the downtown revitalization, celebrated the new funding for the road diet as an opportunity to increase pedestrian safety and help downtown businesses.

"Downtowns are suddenly coming back to life with development," Vaca said. "I think 2023 is going to be a significant year in moving those initiatives forward."

2 Housing Tax Breaks Approved


Local legislators signed off on two decade-plus tax break deals for two different affordable housing plans that will see 129 new apartments built in Beaver Hills and West River.

Alders approved those tax breaks Tuesday night during the latest full Board of Alders meeting in the Aldermanic Chamber on the second floor of City Hall. 

One tax break went to the West Ridge Apartments, a planned new 65-unit apartment complex for seniors and people with disabilities that the Branford-based Queach Corporation is set to build at 7 – 17 Stone St. in the shadow of West Rock. 

The 17-year tax abatement freezes the Stone Street development’s taxes at $350 per unit per year for each of the 52 below-market-rent units. (The 13 market-rate units will not receive tax breaks.) Taxes for each below-market-rent unit will then increase during that period only if the landlord chooses to raise the rent; taxes will go up by the same percentage as rents.

According to the property owner’s local tax break application, 14 of the new apartments will be reserved for renters making no more than 25 percent of the area median income (AMI), 12 units will be reserved at 30 percent AMI, 26 units at 50 percent AMI, and 13 units will be rented out at market rates.

Beaver Hills Alder Brian Wingate, whose ward includes the proposed new West Ridge building, urged his colleagues to support the tax break on Tuesday night. ​“This is clearly in line with our legislative agenda,” he said. ​“This is great for the neighborhood.”

Queach plans to provide wraparound ​“supportive housing” services for disabled tenants of 14 of the apartments. Those tenants will be identified by the state Department of Social Services. 

The developer also plans to knock down four single-family houses and relocate and renovate a fifth single-family house on Stone Street to make way for the new apartment complex. The developer already owns all of the properties in question.

The other tax break approved by the alders on Tuesday night was for a planned new 64-unit, entirely below-market-rent apartment building called The Monarch at a former laundry facility at 149 – 169 Derby Ave. in West River.

The 15-year tax abatement deal will let the Avon-based developer Honeycomb Real Estate Patners pay $450 per unit in taxes in its first year, with taxes increasing by 3 percent annually for each year of the agreement after that. 

The planned new four-story complex will comprise a mix of one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Three will be reserved for tenants making up to 80 percent AMI, or $72,080 for a two-person household; 48 for tenants making up to 60 percent AMI, or $54,060 for two people; and 13 for tenants making up to 50 percent AMI, or $45,050 for two people.

The income requirements will apply to tenants at the time they sign their leases. According to Honeycomb, tenants will be able to increase their income and earn up to 140 percent of the AMI while remaining in the building.

Fair Haven Alder and Tax Abatement Committee Chair Jose Crespo spoke up in support of the Monarch agreement.

“It’s gonna bring life to this side of the community,” he said.

Norwich hiring first position to help with multimillion-dollar school building project

Matt Grahn

NORWICH— After voters approved the city’s referendum to demolish most of the existing elementary schools in Norwich and build four new ones, the project is moving on to its next step.

On Dec. 22, Norwich opened a request for proposals for an owner’s representative position for three of the planned school buildings, those on the sites of the John B. Stanton and Moriarty elementary schools, and the site of the former Greeneville Elementary School. The city will accept applications until Jan. 27.

The owner's representative is the first service provider the city will select for the school building project. This role will help the city pick an architect and other roles on the project, according to the request.

The first reason the request has gone out now is that the project is on an aggressive schedule, School Building Committee Chair Mark Bettencourt said.

A 2022 presentation from the school district states that the new Stanton Elementary and Greeneville schools will open January 2026, and the new Moriarty and Uncas elementary schools will open fall 2028.

Many of the school buildings in Norwich are past their intended lifespans of 30 years, some nearly a century old. The School Building Committee found maintaining the current schools for 20 years will cost $160 million. In contrast, discontinuing use of the current elementary school buildings, building four larger school buildings and renovating Teachers Memorial Global Magnet Middle School would cost the city about $149 million, after expected state reimbursement reduces the project costs from $385 million.

Also, the longer the project takes, the more likely it is to become more expensive, said Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom.

Second, the city wants the school building project to be a priority for the state in 2023. This includes dealing with state reimbursement rates. For parts of the school building project that qualify, the city can currently be reimbursed up to 67%, Nystrom said.

However, the city is working on improving the reimbursement rates, working with state Sen. Cathy Osten and her colleagues to see if it can be done legislatively. Other towns in the state were able to increase their rates to as high as 90%, so it’s possible for Norwich, also a distressed municipality, to have a reimbursement rate increase, she said.

The city will also meet with the state Office of School Construction on Jan. 18 to talk about the reimbursement matter further, Bettencourt said.  

Quality and experience with school building projects are the most important factors to be considered for the owner's representative position. To that end, the School Building Committee is developing a grading rubric to evaluate interested contractors, Bettencourt said.

“Money will be part of the issues in the end, but initially, we are more interested in the quality of the service provided,” he said. “It behooves us to have the best possible assistance in that endeavor.”

As of Dec. 29, no submissions had been filed, but more than two dozen companies have downloaded documents from the request. The school building project in Norwich is enticing to a contractor because it guarantees years of work, Nystrom said.

Lyme-Old Lyme Selects Committee to Oversee School Construction, Excludes Chief Critic

Emilia Otte

LYME/OLD LYME — Board of Education members were split over who should be elected as the ninth member of the building committee that will oversee the renovation of four of the district’s schools, with some members arguing that the committee needed a greater diversity and, in particular, more women. 

A project cost of as much as $57.5 million was approved by voters in a November referendum, and will include replacing boilers, installing HVAC systems, and code upgrades at Mile Creek, Lyme Consolidated, Center School and Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School. It also includes the addition of classrooms at Mile Creek Elementary School.

The only requirements for the committee, which consists of nine members and three alternates, is that at least one person has experience in construction. The committee will be responsible for recommending an architect, construction manager and possibly an owner’s representative. They will then oversee the entirety of the project as it progresses. 

The Board of Education received 23 applications for the committee. Each member of the board was asked to review the applications and rank their top nine choices. 

Many of the initial applicants had worked as project managers or had backgrounds in engineering and construction. Others worked in fields like real estate, communications, interior design, architecture, and education. Several said they had children in the school, or worked for the school district themselves. 

During the meeting, board member Mary Powell-St. Louis said she’d noticed that only four of the 23 applicants were women. She also noted the large number of applicants who had backgrounds in engineering, saying she wished there was a greater diversity in the experiences of those who applied. She suggested that the board re-open the application process and do more to encourage people from different backgrounds to apply. 

Board member Laura Dean-Frazier said that she would also like to see more women applying, but she felt that reopening the process wouldn’t necessarily result in more female applicants. 

Based on a ranked-choice voting — the initial procedure — the top nine applicants would include David Kelsey, a member of the town’s Board of Finance, a real estate developer, and a frequent critic of the planning process so far. But based on total votes, there was a four-way tie for the ninth seat.

Board member Anna James suggested that the committee give the position to Cara Zimmermann, a Democrat, and one of the people who tied for ninth place, as a way to have more female representation on the committee and a greater diversity of experience. 

But other board members argued that, based on the ranked voting, David Kelsey actually ranked the highest and should be given the open seat. 

“We did this weighting, the chips fell as they lie,” said Board member Chris Staab. “In my opinion, I think Dave should have the 9th spot because he is weighed at the ninth.”

Board member Jason Kemp said he agreed with James that Zimmermann should be given the position. He said that the board already had a member of the Board of Finance — Andy Russell — who had been chosen for the building committee. He also said that he felt Kelsey wasn’t supportive of the project. 

“Dave Kelsey was very strongly against this project in any way, shape or form,” said Kemp. 

Board member Steve Wilson disagreed, saying he felt that Kelsey would be a good member to have on the committee. 

“He was on the top of my list,” said Wilson. “He really seems to do his homework and brings out issues that other people have overlooked.”   

In a phone call with CT Examiner, Kelsey said he was “disappointed” by Kemp’s words. He said that although he disagreed with the process the board had used, he was not against the project itself. 

“That’s just patently false. I absolutely support these extensive renovations as required commensurate with the high quality of education that we give our kids,” Kelsey told CT Examiner. 

Wilson said he felt that the committee should have diversity, he said he didn’t want “token people” taking the place of people who were qualified. James pushed back that Zimmermann was qualified as a professional. 

Zimmermann’s resume shows that she has experience as an interior designer and project manager, including managing budgets for furniture, fixtures and equipment, and managing contractors. She also has three children in the school system.

“My experience as an interior designer has prepared me to be familiar with the bidding process, project management, as well as current codes related to IBC, NFPA, ASHRAE, OSHA and ADA,” she wrote in her application letter.  

Zimmerman told CT Examiner that she looked forward to being on the committee and adding her perspective. 

“I appreciate the members of the board that saw the value in including my voice on the committee, and I look forward to adding to the conversation as we improve the buildings and enrich the educational environment for our town’s students.”

The board eventually voted 6-2 in favor of Zimmermann, with Jenn Miller and Chris Staab voting against. Wilson did not vote. 

The other members voted to the new committee include Board of Education members Steve Wilson (R) and Mary Powell-St. Louis (R); Old Lyme Board of Finance member Andy Russell (R); Lyme Board of Finance Chair Alan Sheiness (unaffiliated); retired architect John Hartman (D); Kenneth Biega, Part Owner of Noble Construction & Management in Essex, CT, which specializes in education construction (unaffiliated); Richard Conniff, a science writer who has written for multiple outlets (D); and Sara Hrinak, chief engineer for the Cross Sound Ferry (R). 

The three alternates chosen were Kelsey — who said he plans to decline the position — Thomas Kelo and Darren Favello. 

Board member Suzanne Thompson also asked whether teachers and staff members would have the opportunity to weigh in on the project. 

“The last thing you want is you don’t have the chief cook getting to design the kitchen,” said Thompson. 

Superintendent Ian Neviaser said that as part of the design phase, the architect would meet with school staff and talk about what does and doesn’t work. He said it also might be possible to have representatives from the buildings be able to express their opinions to the committee. 

The board appointed Wilson as chair of the Building Committee and Powell-St. Louis as vice chair.

Torrington OKs 20-year, $5M solar deal


TORRINGTON – The city is locking into a solar program that could bring it $200,000 in energy savings annually over the next 20 years for a total of about $5 million and essentially shift it to clean energy.

The City Council on Tuesday night authorized Mayor Elinor C. Carbone to sign a nonresidential Renewable Energy Solutions Auction Program – State Agricultural and Municipal Solar Program Service agreement. Through the program, the city will be matched with a solar project for which it will become the “virtual off-taker,” attorney Paul Michaud said in a presentation.

“There’s no cost to the city,” he said. “There’s no liability to the city whatsoever.”

Michaud represents TRITECH Americas, which will develop the project to which the city will be paired, assuming the company is awarded an appropriate project through an Eversource Energy auction. He said the city’s energy usage would be matched with a solar project that will draw an equivalent amount of energy. The city would then get a share of revenue from that project and every year would receive quarterly checks.

Energy created through the project goes into the gird and is “virtually outlaid to the city,” Michaud said.

He learned through Eversource the city uses about 12 million kilowatt hours and, based on that, determined it could receive about $204,000 per year for the next 20 years, he said.

“Over 20 years, you get almost $5 million,” Michaud told the council.

TRITECH, an American subsidiary of a Swiss company that completes solar projects all over the world, has several in various stages of development in Connecticut, Michaud noted. Projects it completed in Bristol are drawing revenue to that city.

The six-year program is a response to a state law requiring a zero-energy carbon grid by 2040, Michaud said.

A competitive program, projects are awarded via Eversource auctions, the first of which will be scheduled in early February, Michaud said Wednesday. There will be more auctions over the next five years. The attorney said he’s optimistic TRITECH would be awarded a project to match with Torrington.

“The client is extremely competitive, so we’re pretty optimistic,” he said.

Council member Paul E. Cavagnero said he was not convinced it was a good idea for the city to enter into the agreement and did not support the motion. He said he would like someone at the city level to give a presentation about the program.

Facilities manager Jamie Sykora, who recommended the program to the council, said Eversource programs are constantly changing and pointed out that rebates he had gotten for the city in 2022 have been cut in half for 2023.

Carbone, who said she also was still learning about the program, said the city was not changing how it does business.

“Our usage gets changed from a fossil fuel to clean energy,” she said.

The motion passed 4-2 with Anne L. Ruwet, Drake L. Waldron, Armand Maniccia Jr. and Keri L. Hoehne in favor, while Cavagnero and David L. Oliver opposed.