Neighbors in Middletown look to protect historic neighborhood - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Neighbors in Middletown look to protect historic neighborhood

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MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

The look of historic Middletown could begin to change because developers are fighting for the ability to knock down homes and replace them with fast-food shops. 

A stretch of historic Middletown near Washington Street could soon look similar to a portion of Route 66 less than a mile away. 

That area is filled with fast-food restaurants and developers want to attract students and staff from the Wesleyan University campus.

That change can only happen once Middletown officials make a zone change to one section of Washington Street.

Jen Alexander, who lives in the downtown area, told Eyewitness News that she is fighting to keep the charm and the history intact.

A few weeks back, she and dozens of other protestors came right to the doorstep of the Wesleyan campus where they let the university, city, and potential developers know they'd like to see things remain the same.

"You think about those streets that are nice to live on," Alexander said. "That's what's being threatened because these shopping centers are backing up on the neighborhoods that are coming back."

Alexander said she'll be fighting an uphill battle because high-ranking officials such as the mayor are for the rezoning while many other downtown residents aren't.

"They need the walking distance. Leave the old houses the way they are," said Ryan Kleinschmidt of Middletown. "The historic sites should stay the way they have been."

But, not everyone agrees with Alexander and Kleinschmidt.

"You got all these empty buildings right here," said Leonard Sanders of Middletown. "You could put businesses in there."

The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. in Middletown's City Hall to discuss the proposed zone change and possibly vote on it.

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