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Home Care in Middletown, CT

They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that’s how it should be – a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.

However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren’t able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today’s world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That’s where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Middletown, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.

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The Always Best Care Difference

Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.

Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients’ lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a “one size fits all” approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.

The Always Best Care difference lies in life’s little moments – where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can’t quite keep up with life’s daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Middletown, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.

How does In-home Senior Care in Middletown, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliché, it’s especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

Types of In-home Care in Middletown, CT

To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:

Personal Care Services

If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Common personal care services include assistance with:

  • Eating
  • Mobility Issues
  • Incontinence
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming

Home Helper Services

Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.

Common home helper care services include assistance with:

  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Pet Care
  • Prescription Refills
  • Morning Wake-Up
  • Walking
  • Reading

Companionship Services

Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.

Common companionship services include:

  • Grocery Shopping
  • Transportation to Appointments
  • Nutritional Assistance
  • Conversation
  • Planning Outings
  • Completing Errands
  • Transportation to Community Events and Social Outings

Respite Care Services

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.

When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior’s daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.

Benefits of Home Care in Middletown, CT

Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:

  • Age in Place
    According to AARP, 9 out of 10 seniors prefer to age in place within the comfort of their own home. With in-home care, seniors have a way to stay at home, receive the care they need, and maintain a sense of independence, improving overall wellness.
  • Peace of Mind
    If you or a member of your family have assumed the role of caregiver for your senior loved one, you know how stressful the job can be. Between caregiver burnout and constant worry, being a family caregiver is hard. In-home care relieves your burden and gives you peace of mind knowing that your senior family member is in expert hands.
  • Socialization
    Unlike many senior care facilities where the staff and residents rotate frequently, seniors can foster new friendships and build bonds with their caregiver. Seniors who socialize on a regular basis are often happier, which fosters positivity and leads to increased wellbeing.
  • Personalized Care Plan
    No two seniors need the same kind of in-home care assistance. That is why each of our care plans are tailored to meet our client’s individual needs. We offer plans that cover everything from light housekeeping to more involved duties like transportation to doctor’s appointments. Our Care Coordinators will work closely with you to develop a personalized plan to ensure your senior’s needs are exceeded.

Always Best Care offers a full array of care options for clients at all levels of health. With our trusted elderly care services, your loved one will receive the level of care necessary for them to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it’s true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior’s home truly mean to them?

A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home’s emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior’s home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Middletown, CT, seniors don’t have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors’ health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors’ quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom – much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it’s usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care’s home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Middletown, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you’re worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

  • Veteran’s Benefits: Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.
  • Private Insurance: Home care can be included as part of a senior’s private insurance plan. Read over your loved one’s insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.
  • Life Insurance: Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver’s role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors’ minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Middletown,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior’s day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:


An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

Latest News in Middletown

Amato’s toy shop in New Britain closing after more than 60 years; stylish mid-rise apartment building on the way

The Amato’s toy store, a downtown institution in New Britain for more than 60 years, is shutting down and developer Avner Krohn plans to replace it with a new six-story, upscale apartment building.Steve Amato, co-owner of one of Connecticut’s few remaining independent toy retailers, announced Wednesday that he and his wife, Sheri, will close the business in late February and retire.“My friends are my customers, and that’s going to be the hard part — the relationships. But I’ve been doing this...

The Amato’s toy store, a downtown institution in New Britain for more than 60 years, is shutting down and developer Avner Krohn plans to replace it with a new six-story, upscale apartment building.

Steve Amato, co-owner of one of Connecticut’s few remaining independent toy retailers, announced Wednesday that he and his wife, Sheri, will close the business in late February and retire.

“My friends are my customers, and that’s going to be the hard part — the relationships. But I’ve been doing this full-time since 1974,” Amato said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m 65 now. I’m tired.”

Generations of parents around Greater New Britain were turning to Amato’s for birthday gifts and Christmas presents long before Toys R Us nearly cornered the U.S. toy market, and the store has continued well after the national chain folded.

The business dates to 1940, when Vincent Amato founded Amato’s Toy and Hobby Center in Middletown. He added stores in New Haven, Waterbury and New Britain and built a reputation for an extensive stock, with a special focus on model kits for building miniature plastic airplanes, ships and cars. By the time he retired, the chain had just two stores: Vincent Amato’s daughter took over the Middletown location and his son, Steve, ran the New Britain one.

By then, both stores were destinations for toy shoppers from around central Connecticut and serious hobbyists from across southern New England.

“Amato’s Toy and Hobby is a landmark business in our city and has been a source of cherished memories for so many,” Mayor Erin Stewart said Wednesday afternoon. “Steve and Sheri Amato have been pillars of our community for decades.”

The store sign’s unique letters-in-diamonds pattern has been faced Central Park since the mid-1960s. The 22,000-square-foot shop was the centerpiece of the 2017 Lifetime movie “A Very Merry Toy Store,” and Steve Amato recalls how it made even bigger headlines 34 years before that.

In the midst of the 1983 Cabbage Patch Kids craze, the two Amato’s stores were each scheduled to receive 12 of the wildly popular dolls in late November. An advertising flier announced they’d go on sale one morning at 9:30 a.m. He arranged for the dolls to arrive in an armored car.

“The night before when I went to close up, there were two guys in the lobby. I said ‘They go on sale at 9:30,’ and they said ‘we know, we’ll wait,’ " he recalled.

“The next morning they were still there on the sidewalk, there was a local councilman and his wife and babysitting in beach chairs waiting. We gave out numbers to the first 12 people and it all went OK,” Amato said. “There were TV trucks everywhere, we were on the news in Texas.”

Amato plans to sell the the Main Street building to Jasko Development, the company that is building a six-story apartment building next door. City leaders consider that project, called The Brit, as transformational for downtown, particularly because it replaces a long-abandoned bank building that occupied a prominent street corner.

On Wednesday, Avner Krohn, Jasko’s owner, confirmed that he plans a sister building to The Brit on the site of Amato’s. City records show the two-story Amato’s building dates to 1925, and both Amato and Krohn said it has significant defects and would be expensive to restore.

“Those buildings are in need of millions of dollars of repair, and no retailer is coming to take 12,000 to 20,000 square feet. If we didn’t do this, they’d just sit there for the next couple of decades,” Krohn said.

It would be a virtual twin to The Brit, but with a few stylistic changes, Krohn said. It will have more than 100 market-rate apartments, primarily a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, and first-floor retail with a restaurant.

“We’re in the early stages of design, but this will be a significant project - north of $20 million,” he said. “The units will have 10-foot ceilings. There will be rounded glass on the corner, and an outside dining space set aside for a restaurant,” he said.

If everything goes smoothly, Krohn expects to complete The Brit by the first quarter of 2023, with the second building done about six months later. Krohn said the new one hasn’t been named yet.

Supersized art project with bigger message in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Kat Owens, A professor of politics, economics, and international studies at the University of Hartford has been wrapped up in her work of late.Largely because Owens, who is also an artist, is working on a project that is 60 feet long and 20 feet wide – a portrait of a Sperm Whale made entirely of discarded plastic bags and shipping mailers.When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, Owens, who has traveled around the Wo...

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Kat Owens, A professor of politics, economics, and international studies at the University of Hartford has been wrapped up in her work of late.

Largely because Owens, who is also an artist, is working on a project that is 60 feet long and 20 feet wide – a portrait of a Sperm Whale made entirely of discarded plastic bags and shipping mailers.

When COVID-19 hit in early 2020, Owens, who has traveled around the World as part of her academic research, had to work close to home. That’s when the “Ingested and Entangled Project” started.

“Ingested and Entangled is about the animals that are affected by marine debris,” Owens said.

What was an old Woolworths storefront on Main Street in Middletown now serves as Owens’ studio, where plastic-sewn portraits of sharks, sea turtles, and seals are already hung on the walls. Owens sews the plastic bags together to create her works -- think plastic bags instead of paint -- and currently, the 60-foot whale portrait is taking shape.

“I’m doing this because I want people to understand that it’s not easy to recycle these plastics and they’re everywhere and they affect these animals,” Owen said.

Owens added she hopes to create 46 portraits of different animals -- all made by plastic trash, to represent the 46 species most at-risk from the toll of the debris.

“For me, this was a way to keep thinking about the problem of plastic pollution,” she added.

Professor Owens often invites school classes and community members to help with the art projects. Her hope is that a gallery or public space will want to showcase her works and help to promote her environmental message.

“The message is that plastic surrounds us and that things need to change or it's going to cause huge problems for the environment,” Owens said.

To learn more about the Ingested and Entangled Project, click here.

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Survey culling input on Middletown’s riverfront redevelopment master plan

MIDDLETOWN — The city is looking for more participants to take a survey that will help guide local officials and the architecture and urban design firm overseeing the master plan to redevelop a key piece of the city’s Connecticut River front....

MIDDLETOWN — The city is looking for more participants to take a survey that will help guide local officials and the architecture and urban design firm overseeing the master plan to redevelop a key piece of the city’s Connecticut River front.

Cooper Robertson is overseeing the Return to the Riverbend project, which not only includes the Harbor Park and River Road area and former water treatment plant, but the Silver Street neighborhood just over a mile away.

A second online community workshop is set for mid-January.

The campaign will result in a long-term master plan that guides future growth and development of the city’s riverfront, according to Cooper Robertson. It will include recommendations for future land use, flood protection, transportation improvements and community benefits in a study area stretching from Harbor Park to the Rushford Center.

Mayor Ben Florsheim said many individuals have provided comments on the project in the Main Street Market pop-up space, as well as ranked related issues they want to see tackled first.

Comments posted on the back wall will be incorporated into January’s meeting, he said.

“Right now, the space reflects where we are in the process, which is still fairly early, still collecting ideas, still putting together the parameters for the vision,” he said.

The space at 386 Main St. will evolve as the process continues.

Cooper Robertson is now working on renderings, designs and maps of the area that will present different options.

“The storefront will be the repository for getting ideas to the city, and disseminating that back out to the public,” Florsheim said.

Silver Street and the surrounding area is technically a riverfront neighborhood, the mayor said, however, not many people know that. The goal is to involve residents living closest to the site.

“We want to make sure, as we plan every element of this process, that people who actually live in that area, and the people who are going to be directly impacted by changes, have a voice,” Florsheim said.

The North End is also near the riverfront.

“Dramatic change,” and housing displacement on the surrounding streets are not expected, he said. Rather, it’s more of a re-creation that may mean changes where the community wants them to happen. It would take into consideration pedestrian access and safety.

The map also includes the adjacent Connecticut Valley Hospital campus, which has some vacant buildings. The city is in preliminary talks with hospital leaders, property owners, boards and commissions members, and various stakeholders, Florsheim said, however, “that’s still a distant process. That’s not our land to decide what to do with it at this point,” he said. “Perhaps there are partnerships in the future.”

Most people don’t know the master plan includes parcels beyond Harbor Park, “a small strip of land,” the mayor added.

Next month’s workshop will feature the sharing of design concepts, and a walk-through of initial planning ideas. Just like the last workshop, participants will separate into groups to voice their reactions with the goal of having an in-depth discussion, Cooper Robertson said.

“We want to think through what we want to do immediately in the next couple of years, but that CVH property is so important to the future of the city and state,” Florsheim said.

To complete the survey, visit The second virtual community workshop is scheduled for Jan. 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. To register, go to

Farm and Winery Planned for Middletown Parcel Under New Regulations

MIDDLETOWN – Looking for a fresh start and a new career, Joe DeFrancesco bought a farm at 519 Miner St. in the Westfield area with plans for a quaint winery that would serve as the foundation for his farm business.DeFrancesco is the first to apply for a farm winery since the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission...

MIDDLETOWN – Looking for a fresh start and a new career, Joe DeFrancesco bought a farm at 519 Miner St. in the Westfield area with plans for a quaint winery that would serve as the foundation for his farm business.

DeFrancesco is the first to apply for a farm winery since the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission approved several new uses for farms in town – looking to give farmers more options for revenue as the high cost of land and low margins continue to threaten the stability of small Connecticut farms.

Having grown up on a farm in Haddam, said he has been thinking about starting a vineyard for about a decade. When COVID first struck, it was a call for him to figure out what he wanted to do with the next several decades of his life, he said. It was time to buy the farm.

“The job’s not easier,” DeFrancesco said. “Wake up early in the morning, take care of the animals, keep the vegetation down – it’s a full time job.”

He said he’s learning as he goes, and has learned a lot on YouTube, and from other farmers in the area who have been supportive and passed on some of their knowledge.

“It’s like a community that’s almost been lost, that’s trying to come back,” DeFrancesco said.

DeFrancesco said his vision isn’t for a “grand” vineyard like some others in the state, but something with a more quaint farm setting where people can relax, drink wine, look at the animals and enjoy their surroundings.

He bought a 7.3 acre property along Interstate 91 in the Westfield area of Middletown a year ago to be the site of his new farm. There were horses on the property already, and he’s started raising chickens and keeping goats, and has thought about adding alpacas.

DeFrancesco said he’s planning to grow about 2 acres of grapes, and make and bottle wine on the farm. He said he’d use about half of an existing barn for the production, then leave the front half of the barn for tasting. He would also build patios covered by awnings so people can sit outside and enjoy the scenery – looking at the horses or the sunset while having a glass of wine.

“Having a farm like this is a way of conserving the land,” DeFrancesco said. “I can’t say how many people just driving by will stop along the road just to have 10 minutes to look at the horses or the ducks and geese in the pond.”

He said his vision includes “limited” live music and events on the farm. He’s discussed restrictions on capacity and hours with the city – and both will likely be topics of discussion when the proposal goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission for a public hearing on Jan. 12, along with water, septic and parking plans. But he said he’s very conscious of the neighbors since he’ll be living on the farm as well.

“It’s where we’re going to live, so I don’t want to make a huge venue – I want to keep it pretty isolated,” he said.

To succeed as businesses, small New England farms often rely on several sources of income. The Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission decided last year to allow more farm-related businesses to give local farmers the chance to make and sell wine and beer and host events to supplement their income from raising livestock or growing produce – as well as farm stands so they can sell some of their produce directly to customers.

DeFrancesco said there might be a farm stand in the future, and now he’s talking to restaurants about buying the produce he’s growing in a garden on the property. He’d like to grow the garden and sell more produce, and possibly hold small vendor fairs for other local farmers to sell their produce or products like honey, he said. If the wine can draw people to the farm, then it could be an opportunity for local farmers to sell their products, he said.

“I want to make it a functional farm where I can survive, ” he said. “That’s what I want to do for the next 30 years to retire and live off.”

Editor’s note: a previous version of this story, drawing from the application submitted to the town, stated that the parcel is 7.8 acres. In fact, the parcel is 7.3 acres.

Riverfront eatery to ‘change the face’ of Middletown, official says

In all, Middletown can use up to $1 million in American Rescue Act funds for the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic power station, updated HVAC system and new sprinkler system.Already, the interior at the 80 Harbor Drive facility has been entirely cleared out.“From top to bottom, it’s gutted,” Middletown Common Council Majority Leader Gene Nocera said.The project is humming along, said Rocco LaMonica, who co-owns Eli Cannons Tap R...

In all, Middletown can use up to $1 million in American Rescue Act funds for the installation of a rooftop photovoltaic power station, updated HVAC system and new sprinkler system.

Already, the interior at the 80 Harbor Drive facility has been entirely cleared out.

“From top to bottom, it’s gutted,” Middletown Common Council Majority Leader Gene Nocera said.

The project is humming along, said Rocco LaMonica, who co-owns Eli Cannons Tap Room at 695 Main St. with his wife Aubrey.

“We’re very excited. It’s cool to see the vision starting to come together,” he said.

Securing an anchor tenant for the city-owned facility, which affords sweeping views of the Connecticut River and colorful sunsets from the outdoor deck, will encourage entrepreneurs interested in being part of the vision to take notice, Nocera said.

“Potential developers are going to want to see something like this to attract them. This will be the gateway into our riverfront,” said Nocera, who is also chairman of the 80 Harbor Drive Renovation Building Committee.

The project is an ambitious one. The interior will be filled with greenery, and natural light will flow through the structure, LaMonica said.

A glass-enclosed, visible working brew system, in conjunction with Eli Cannon’s Brewing Collective, which focuses on local craft beer, will be located on the first floor.

A takeout window for The Dragon Shack, the name a nod to Middletown High School students who will be working there, will offer lower-priced food for boardwalk and “boat-up” patrons. Twenty percent of the outdoor stand’s proceeds will be donated each year to the high school’s senior class.

The Good Neighbors Coffee & Creamery, a partnership with NoRA Cupcake Co. and Perkatory Coffee Roasters, will also be on site.

The former Mattabesett Canoe Club has had many tenants over the decades since the city purchased it in 1958. The site was originally the location of Middletown Yacht Club, which was built in 1930.

Up until now, the harbor area hasn’t been much of a destination, Nocera said.

“That’s why we were so interested in the project,” LaMonica said.

The “amazingly beautiful” and recently completed boardwalk, with its stamped cement base, new railings and benches, was paid for with a portion of the $55 million 21st Century Infrastructure Bond.

The boardwalk has been extended into a portion next to the restaurant in order to maintain continuity, Nocera said. “It’s a small thing, but a big thing. When it’s done, it’ll look completely different. No one even noticed it before. They will when it’s done.”

The LaMonicas expected to sign a lease agreement with the city by May 1. The project is on track to begin in the spring, LaMonica said.

“I imagine that to be a hopping place. It’s going to change the face of Middletown to a degree,” Nocera said.

Council Minority Leader Phil Pessina encouraged councilors to stop by the facility to see the new roof.

“It’s jumping out at you when you drive by. This is the first of many things to come in the improvement of a very well-known city asset that will be the anchor,” he said.

The next meeting of the 80 Harbor Drive Committee will be held virtually at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. For information, visit


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