Thursday, September 18, 2008

The History of Cucia Park

Information provided by Bill Warner, director, Office of Middletown's Planning, Conservation and Development.

The city bought open space in the 1970's using the federal land and water conservation fund, Mile Lane, Smith Park, Zoar Pond. These are deed restricted and cant be used for anything except recreation.

We bought nothing in the 1980's as federal funds dried up.
In the 1990's we bought lots of open space using local open space funds and state matching funds. These properties are deed restricted and cant be used for anything other than passive recreation (state funds). Soccer fields was all local funds from open space and recreation bond.

Limited research by Town Clerk and Council Clerk indicates Cucia Park property was bought using local funds in 1963. The land was bought to build a reservoir in the Industrial Park Road area. The wells on River Road were built and the city decided to use the Westfield land for an industrial park. Portions of the Cucia Park property were sold for the industrial development on the north and south side of Smith Street and along Middle Street. Today's Cucia Park was what was left and very difficult to develop.

It was named Cucia Park in the early 1970's after Louie Cucia, Town Clerk, died at work in the Town Clerks Office. Interestingly to this day the Park and Recreration Department has considered Cucia parrk to be 4.4 acres, basically the area around the pond. Park and Rec staff didn’t even know the city owned the other 36 acres.

The majority of Cucia Parks 4.4 acres is not in the area being considered by the Army.
The amount of earth work makes development very unfeasible except for a very large complex (army) not profit motivated. Basically Cucia became a park by default, it was not bought as a park or open space.

Bysiewicz Industrial Park. That parcel is an approved 12 lot industrial subdivision. Conservatively speaking the land can support 370,000 sq.ft. of office/industrial building. The per square foot taxes paid for similar buildings in that area is $1.75 per sq.ft.

If the Army decided to acquire Bysiewicz, we would be losing the potential of at least $650,000 in taxes per year and a few hundred jobs.

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