Saturday, August 16, 2008

The mayor hosts the army and others

Tuesday's meeting in City Hall at 6:30 PM will bring an impressive array of officials to Middletown to discuss the Military Training Facility on Boardman Lane. The Army is sending the commander of the Louisville Division of the Corps of Engineers, as well as the Deputy Engineer, who is the highest civilian in the Division.  Todd Hornback, in the Corps' Public Affairs Office, told me that Col. Landry, as a recently appointed commander, was coming because he is eager to acquaint himself with the Middletown project.   However, according to a source familiar with briefings by the army, the military and civilian commanders of a Division typically only make appearances at hearings by Congress, it is extremely unusual for them to appear at a briefing to local, city officials.  

The meeting was initiated by the Army last Wednesday, when they requested that Mayor Giuliano arrange a meeting between local elected officials and the Corps of Engineers. However, although the Army requested the meeting, this is the Mayor's meeting. Mr. Hornback told me, ""The mayor's office is hosting the meeting on August 19th," suggesting that Mayor Giuliano will be leading the meeting. Both the Mayor's office and Mr. Hornback indicated to me that the Corps of Engineers would make a presentation, and then be available to answer questions from elected officials.

All of the elected officials who have expressed concern about the Boardman Lane site, or the previous Freeman Road site, have been invited by both the army and the city.  These include Senators Dodd and Lieberman, Congresswoman DeLauro, Attorney General Blumenthal, Secretary of State Bysiewicz, State Senator Doyle, and State Representatives Kalinowski, Hamm, and Serra. The Westfield Residents Association has also invited Governor Rell.  Alison Dodge, in DeLauro's office, told me that Congresswoman DeLauro will be attending.  Kristin LeDoux, in Senator Lieberman's office, informed me that although the Senator would be unable to attend because he is on the campaign trail for McCain, one of his senior staff would represent him at the meeting. Senator Dodd has not yet decided whether he will attend himself or send a staff member. The Mayor's office expects that both Bysiewicz and Blumenthal will attend.

At this meeting, no members of the public will be permitted to speak regarding the Army's plans for a military training facility on Boardman Lane. However, although this is not a public hearing, it is a public meeting. The mayor's office has made it clear that the city will not close the meeting to the public, all members of the public are invited to attend. 

There is much to attract people to the meeting, which was prominently advertised in Saturday's edition of the Middletown Press.  The military training facility in Middletown has generated controversy and attention since it was proposed, first for a meadow in Maromas last year, and then for wetlands in Westfield this summer.  The awareness and concerns of City residents about the military's plans seems to be increasing every month.  

If the issues were not sufficient to draw a crowd, undoubtedly many will come to see Mayor Giuliano host a high-ranking Army commander, Congresswoman DeLauro, Attorney General Blumenthal, and representatives of Senators Dodd and Lieberman.  Their discussions on the future of Middletown and the Military facility should be quite interesting to witness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brownfield Wisdom? I am proud to have been mistaken for a Westfield Resident in the past...

That nice 18th century farmhouse probably has its own genuine brownfield since toilets were not common until a couple of hundred years later. Would that mean it is a good site for an Army Base? NO! The point being that even a bonafide brownfield is not necessarily a good site for an Army base. This includes the genuine brownfield "contaminated" site at Pratt and Whitney on the Connecticut River waterfront.
The City's pet River Road site, which in an often repeated fib has been referred to as a brownfield, is a phoney. Fake brownfields should not be considered even if the word brownfield has been used to describe them! I agree, Middletown should ask the Army to look elsewhere.