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Sandy Hook Revitalization Gains Momentum



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Sandy Hook Revitalization Gains Momentum

By Steve Bigham

Things are happening rather quickly in Sandy Hook these days as the revitalization of the area continues.

In April, the Rocky Glen Mill at 75 Glen Road was sold by the Glen Mill Corp to the Jack Braverman Group of Westport (under the name Lynwood Place, LLC) for $3.3 million. That same company, operating under the name Falling Water, LLC, purchased the other mill, just up the road at 27 Glen Road, for $1.15 million last summer.

This month, The Mill, a large antiques group previously located at Rocky Glen Road, announced its plans to move to the old Sandy Hook Hotel (111 Church Hill Road) in the center of Sandy Hook. The Mill becomes the second antiques shop to move into Sandy Hook in the past year or so, joining Jonathan J. Mester Antiques and Interiors, which opened in Sandy Hook 18 months ago. This week, Mr Mester expressed interest in expanding his shop and possibly moving to another location within the Sandy Hook center.

Just up the road from there, Fairfield Auctions has set up shop at 53 Church Hill Road in the Sonics & Materials building. The newly opened auction house is renting space from the large Newtown company and will host an open house for the Chamber of Commerce on May 24.

Reports indicate that other antiques shops and home furnishing stores are also looking at Sandy Hook as a possible destination.

“The more the merrier,” said Mr Mester, a Newtown resident. “Sandy Hook is the only real village feel that Newtown has. It’s the only place where you can walk along the sidewalk from shop to shop.”

Mr Mester said he would have never started his business in Sandy Hook around ten years ago when it was better known for head shops than it was for antiques shops.

In the Sandy Hook center, builder Mike Porco has been renovating several buildings along the Pootatuck River, including the former red brick General Store, which he hopes to restore to its original condition. Then, he plans to bring someone in to re-open the store.

“What we’re trying to do down here is revitalize Sandy Hook, to make is sort of like a village, similar to Kent or New Preston,” Mr Porco said. “At one point, Sandy Hook was a thriving center. Everyone came here, they drank here, and they partied here. But when the factories burnt down [or moved away] everyone moved out. What we’re trying to do is bring them back with antiques shops and different shops,” Mr Porco said.

Earlier this year, Envisage beauty salon moved into one of the buildings and the Marsha Mark school of dance/ballet is expected to join the Newtown Academy in using the new studio built by Porco Construction.

Mr Porco is also renovating a handful of buildings farther down Glen Road and is now in discussion with local banks about the possibility of bringing a full-serve branch to the area.

Across the street, PJ’s Laundromat is finally slated to open later this spring

On May 26, 27, and 28, Sandy Hook will host its first-ever Village Festival, which will include the Lions Club’s annual duck race fundraiser for the Treadwell Park playground down the Pootatuck River. A carnival will also be held, complete with booths, games, and rides. Proceeds from the festival will go to help fund the extension of a public water line into Sandy Hook.

“Once the water main comes in, I’d like to see the street have cobblestone pavers that would reduce the speed of traffic. We also want to install brick sidewalks with lanterns and trees. That would be the final stage,” Mr Porco said. “We haven’t pushed for it, but I’m sure there’s a lot of grant money out there for old towns like this.”

The Mill, owned by Jane Apuzzo and Sandra Wright, will re-open at its new location June 1. Gone will be the wide aisles and soaring ceilings of Rocky Glen Mill. However, the new building, built in the mid-19th Century, has a charm and history all its own. The Mill’s focus will continue to be 19th Century American country furniture with a smattering of eclectic garden and architectural pieces.

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