About a hundred residents of Westfield gathered Monday evening at the Westfield Residents Association (WRA) annual picnic and quarterly meeting. They were joined by three members of Planning and Zoning (Catherine Johnson, James Fortuna, and Matt Lesser), and by Representative Ray Kalinowski (100th district). Ron Goodrich superbly grilled the hamburgers and hotdogs, and the picnic tables groaned under the weight of baked beans, pasta salads, scrumptious desserts, and that sweetness-masquerading-as-salad, ambrosia (without which no potluck would be complete). Stuffed with each other's delicacies, and in the middle of catching up on neighbor's news, the business meeting commenced. The customary secretary's report, treasurer's report, and summary of recent P&Z and I/W meetings affecting Westfield were dispensed with fairly quickly. We then turned to the main item of new business that brought a much larger than normal turnout to the meeting, namely the proposal by the army to build a training facility within the core of the Westfield section of town. Many residents of Bell Street, Boardman Lane, and Timber Ridge Lane spoke of the devastation to the area that would be caused by the presence of a large military facility with its associated trucks and traffic. These streets have the scale and feeling of country lanes only recently paved (which in fact, they were). Other residents spoke of the impact on the Westfield Fire District and the Middletown City budgets that the army facility would have (the Army would pay no taxes for city services, and its permanent staff are likely to contribute children to our overcrowded and underfunded school district). Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz has spoken with several residents and told them that she wonders why a huge base is being built in a town that does not want it, when there are so many towns in Connecticut that DO want the base. Rep. Kalinowski spoke and offered his full support for WRA efforts to convince the Army that this land is not suitable for construction of the facilities. He announced that he was arranging a public meeting for the army to discuss the training facility with the neighborhood residents.
All of the Westfield residents present pledged to attend the special Common Council Meeting this Wednesday evening at 7PM. There will be two items on the agenda, the Contract with the Firemen, and consideration of the WRA letter to Common Council asking them to support an effort to relocate the army facility to a more suitable site in Connecticut.