Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Boardman Lane Still On Army's List
The most interesting thing about the Army Corps of Engineers meeting about the proposed Army Reserve Training Center Wednesday night was the speculation after the meeting as to why the Army still had Boardman Lane on their preferred site list.
After announcing their four preferred sites, in no particular order, Boardman Lane, with access through the Dooley property, the Bysiewicz industrial park, Mile Lane (former Nike site) and Cucia Park (which is the town's preferred site), the Corps was assaulted by those in Westfield who were appalled that Boardman Lane was still being considered. In addition, representatives from Rosa DeLauro's office, Chris Dodd's office, and State Senator Paul Doyle all criticized the Army for not taking Boardman Lane off of their list.
The most cynical among the audience speculated that the Army kept Boardman Lane on the list, knowing that they'd be criticized, but allowing them to focus attention on sites they actually preferred. Another theory was floated that Boardman Lane was kept on the list to prevent lawsuits by the current landowner.
In the end, the city, which offered four site selections (Cucia Park, Bysiewicz property, River Road and Manthay Property), felt that Cucia Park, adjacent to Smith Street and I-91 in the Southwest part of the city, was the most appropriate site.
Councilman Ron Klattenberg, who chaired a citizens' advisory committee on the site, presented the findings of the panel.
"The panel was unanimous in its rankings of the site, and two sites stood out, Cucia Park and River Road," he said.
For their part, the Army reviewed sixteen sites, rejecting the River Road site, along with 11 others including sites on Aircraft Rd, Middle St, Roscommon Office Park, Country Club Rd, Middle Street Delta Building, Atkins St – Krane Development, Freeman Road, Saybrook Rd, Tollgate Rd and Pratt and Whitney.
The Army will consider the city's recommendations and review its findings, and assess public comments which it will welcome until September 29. They hope to make a final selection by the end of October.
Members of the public who spoke out mostly addressed regrets that the Army had not eliminated Boardman Lane.
Westfield Residents Association representative Stephen Devoto said, "I don’t see how you can have this site on your list, after the Common Council resolution , and the work of the panel. It doesn’t show the spirit of collaboration."
One Smith Street resident, Sargent, explained that the development would increase traffic on her street. She also noted that Cucia Park is in a flood plain.
"A flood took the road right out during a storm," Sargent explained.
When asked if the city might put revenue from the sale of Cucia Park toward the purchase of property for open space, Mayor Sebastian Giuliano said, "We're at step one. That's about step 25, and I don't like to spend money we don't have yet."