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)


Richard Kamins said...

Correction, question and comment:
The former Nike base is on Mile Lane, not Avenue.
How much will the new Fire station cost? You wrote $9.
As someone who lives near Mile Lane, the fire station is needed in the area. The closest one is still Cross Street, over by Wesleyan's Freeman Athletic Center.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor would like the Army to sprawl. develop the sites in Maromas that have previously been identified. No one who lives near Mile Lane would like to have the Army for a neighbor.
Some residents in Westfield would like the Army to decide that a Connecticut River view would be ideal. On the other side of town, many consider a location in the IT Industrial Zone to be most sensible. Down-sizing the project has predictably resulted in an instant replay, at high speed, of the first go round. Nothing has changed , it is just going faster. Maybe, it could get downsized again. Then we could really spin our hamster-cage wheels!

Anonymous said...

The city has always treated the wealthier per capita Westfield residents ( and Chamber members who happen to live there) better than those in South Middletown, so it should be of no surprise Maromas is back on the table.

Anonymous said...

Switch the 9 million dollar Fire Station to Boardman Lane! Surely 25 acres are not necessary for a new Fire Sration. Are they? Locating the new Army facility near the New High School on a brownfield, near, the local economy, on a previously used Army Base, seems like a no-brainer! And it would set a good example for the M.H.S.students too, about flexibility and smart growth.