Merritt Parkway Service Areas
In 2007, the Connecticut Department of Transportation held a public informational meeting on the Connecticut Statewide Rest Area and Service Plaza Study. The presentation included the suggestion that the service areas on the Merritt be demolished and replaced with new buildings to maintain "the historic character on the Parkway." The Conservancy opposed any destruction to the six historic buildings and requested a greater role in any improvements to the service areas.
CTDOT issued a request for proposal for the redevelopment and long-term operation for all 23 service plazas in Connecticut. Included in the proposal was the condition that the Conservancy would participate in the review of any proposed construction activities, and our goal "for these facilities to be maintained at, or restored to, their historical appearance and kept within the Parkway’s character."
In 2009, The State of Connecticut entered into a 35-year public-private partnership with Project Service LLC, a joint venture between SUBWAY and the Carlyle Group. As a result of our work, gas pumps and canopies are relocated truth from the buildings, increasing safety and enhancing views. MPC's architectural reviews helped to preserve the exteriors of the historically protected buildings and limited advertising on the sites by the vendors.
The renovation of the service areas received the 2016 Award of Merit from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. The award was a collaborative effort of Project Service LLC, CTDOT, the Merritt Parkway Conservancy, Newman Architects, PC, David Scott Parker Architects LLC, and the Carlyle Group.
Fairfield Northbound Service Area Post and Prior Renovation
MPC advocated for the removal of commercial logos on the building. Additionally, stopped the proposed construction of an illuminated monument sign with electronic
gas pricing to be placed at each
service area entrance.
Merritt Parkway bridge designer George Dunkelberger designed the Colonial Revival stations. They are similar to the architectural styles of service areas located on the Westchester County parkways. The buildings were designed to "add a touch of New England architecture" to the Parkway. Exterior features included a chimney, exterior clock sheathed in copper, colonial lanterns and a three-sided bay window was located on the front façade.
Each station included a service and storage room, a lounge "fitted with modernistic furniture," and restrooms.
Major renovations were made to the original buildings in 1958 and 1988.
MPC review of plans and onsite meetings resulted in the following:
Removal of paint - exposing original brick.
Replacing the storefront windows with double hung sash windows.
Replicated clock sheathed in copper with turned balusters.
Wood trim profiles were reproduced and painted the original color.
Slate roof was replaced in kind.
Wood shutters were replaced.
Coolers, generators and exterior equipment screened from front view.
MPC worked with Project Service on the site plans relocating the fueling canopies
away from the buildings, increasing safety and enhancing views of the buildings.
The canopy design was selected by MPC
as it quietly blends into the surrounding landscape.