Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Give us an inch and we'll take a Mile
Jen Mahr will file a full report and analysis of the public meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers on the proposed Army Reserve Training Center, tomorrow.
Two important points emerged after the Army promised to have an open process which will involve residents. One, the Army will not share it's legal opinion about why Middletown must be the site for the Army Reserve Training Center. Second, while the Army Corps promises to work with the town's Inland Wetlands and Waterways Commission, they will not apply for a permit to work, nor will abide by any such permit.
In the course of public testimony, it became clear that the Army would search for sites only in Middletown, and might consider brown field sites. Late in the questioning, the Army talked about the former Nike base on Mile Avenue. The site is pledged to the city, which plans to build a fire station and training center there. However, the property has not transferred, and the Army promises to remediate it before transferring it to the city.
Under the circumstances - still owned by the feds, a site of the right proportions that the Army Corps says will be remediated anyway - I stood and suggested it be put immediately at the top of the site selection list.
After the meeting the mayor spoke with me and explained that the Mile Lane site would not be considered, because the state has promised to fund the fire station to the tune of $9 million. If the fire station could not be built on Mile Lane, the city would also have to fund the purchase of an alternate site. In addition, the Mayor said the location is perfect for fire safety coverage in a section of town which needs it, particularly with a new High School.
(More opinion on the meeting at Caterwauled)