Riegert Square parking lot makeover to start this summer

Fairfield using $1.25M in ARPA funds to pay for reconstruction project in city’s Town Center.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Once the engineering plans for Riegert Square’s parking lot redevelopment are finalized, Fairfield will soon be ready to start construction.

Before construction starts, however, City Council must first approve agreements with the strip plaza’s nine property owners, one of which is the city of Fairfield. That process is expected to be in late March or early April.

“As of now, they’re all on board,” Fairfield Development Services Director Greg Kathman told City Council last week of the property owners.

Fairfield will use $1.25 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funds for the redevelopment of the strip plaza that’s remained relatively unchanged since it was developed in the 1970s. Riegert Square’s 15 curb cuts between Patterson Boulevard and Nilles Road ― which includes the traffic light at Glenna Drive ― are expected to be reduced to four access points.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Officials with the city’s development services and public works departments say the overabundance of curb cuts put pedestrians and motorists in danger.

From 2019 to 2021, a significant percentage of the 37 crashes are because of vehicles exiting the shopping plaza, and a dozen were injury related, according to the city. City Engineer Nick Dill said many of those accidents were preventable due to driver confusion exiting the plaza.

The project would also improve the aesthetics of the corridor as well as enhance the quality and image of Fairfield’s Town Center, and create a healthier environment for business growth.

Public Works Director Ben Mann said the engineering plans are about 99% completed, and once they are completed, the project will be close to being bid out. The city will also repave the parking lot, add some new sign bases and add landscaping, but Mann said “most of the work is in the right of way.”

“That will clean that up quite a bit,” he said of the project. “The big win here is closing up a lot of these curb cuts, so it will be a lot safer. But what needs to go hand-in-hand with it is a center turn lane so that’s something we’re working on for the next couple of years in the (Capital Improvement Program).”

Riegert Square’s parking lot redevelopment should begin in early summer and should take about four months to complete.

Kathman said as the city is working on the Riegert Square project, which is on the east side of Pleasant Avenue, there have been some preliminary discussions with property owners on the west side about consolidating curb cuts and doing other improvements. There are nearly a dozen curb cuts on the west side of Pleasant Avenue between Patterson Boulevard and Nilles Road.

“There seems to be some interest,” Kathman said of the potential changes to the west side of Pleasant Avenue. “It’s very early, but we’re hopeful that in conjunction with the project on the east side we can do some things on the west side.”

About the Author