It has been nearly a year since the day the first train rolled through and stopped at the Fairfield Metro train station -- a project that had been in the works for years, and has since entered the wrapping-up phase.
First Selectman Michael Tetreau briefed both the Representative Town Meeting and the Board of Finance this week on the status of the Metro Center project. Finance board member Robert Stone got straight to the point, and asked Tetreau what the new train station ultimately cost the taxpayers.
Once the paperwork is complete and all grants and reimbursements are released, Fairfield will have spent approximately $10.4 million on the project, which totaled $45.1 million for both the construction of the train station and the intersection improvements that went with it.
The final estimated cost of the Metro Center includes the settlement of two lawsuits (one for $5.4 million, the other for $222,885) filed against the town by the project's contractor, Guerrera Construction Company, Inc.
The lawsuits have not officially been withdrawn, Tetreau said, because the town is waiting on paperwork from the contractor -- but both suits have been settled, he assured.
Paperwork is also holding up the release of grants and reimbursements from the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT), Tetreau said. According to the First Selectman, the DOT said paperwork for the intersection improvements project would likely not be completed until May 2013. The department did not give a deadline for paperwork related to grants for the Metro Center project itself.
There is $400,000 left in appropriations to finish up what Tetreau described as "punch list" items. At this point, "all the big surprises should be done," Tetreau said. But because the paperwork is taking longer than expected, there is some concern the price tag could be higher than what is projected now.
Another concern noted during the RTM meeting by Kathryn Braun, R-8, was a proposal by Blackrock Realty, the developer of the private portion of the train station, to build a 200-unit apartment complex instead of focusing on commercial development.
Tetreau replied that the proposal had been withdrawn and it would have required a zone change had the Town Plan and Zoning Commission voted on it.
"[Kurt] Wittek (managing director of Blackrock Realty) hasn't come back to me since I told him how I felt [about the proposal]," Tetreau said.
For past reports on the Metro Center, see:
- Fairfield Metro Update: DOT Wants More Parking
- Ribbon Cutting Marks Fairfield Metro's Opening