Monday, September 15, 2008

Mystery Park = Cucia Park

You may have read an otherwise informative article in the Middletown Press yesterday about the Army Corps of Engineers and it's continued investigation of Boardman Lane as a site for the Army Reserve Training Center, but you may have been puzzled about the identity of a mystery site mentioned by Corps spokesman, Todd Hornback.

According to the press, at a meeting on Wednesday :

... the Corps will also discuss a new site that has been suggested, Hornaback said. He would not give much insight into where that site may be.

"The city sent a recommendation for a particular site," he said. "It's a new site that we have not seen yet, a particular park that has not been used."

Of course, that site was identified, more than a week ago on this newsblog, as Cucia Park.

The Press story cites correspondence sent by Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Representative Rosa Delauro and Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano to Governor Jodi Rell, and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates demanding transparency about "the formal legal opinions, the U.S. Army Corps indicates that this facility must be built in Middletown."

While the town, and the city's site committee seem pleased to have discovered this new site, and the Corps seems ready to at least discuss it, questions remain if the Corps accepts the site.

Will the city be bound by its own recently adopted statute to put the parcel up for open bid because it is town property?

How will the Army compensate the town, and for what amount?

Since the cite is a park (open space), will the city be committed to applying the funds received from the Federal government to buy other open space (perhaps the site on Boardman Lane, or sites in Maromas)? Or will the city create another park?

Who is the Cucia for whom the park is named, and are there any conditions in the grant of that park land to the city which would prevent the deal?

Does the Army Reserve Training Center really have to be built in Middletown?


Anonymous said...

Army Occupation

I got this front page article today, Monday, September 15. You must have some pull with the MTown Press. How did you get today's news yesterday?

Why Mr. Hornback could not say, "Cucia Park", is about the only mystery surrounding the "new site that has been suggested" to readers of the Middletown Eye. Doesn't the MPress read the Middletown Eye? Does the Press know about the advice offered to the Army by the stacked Mayor’s Advisory Panel? The public as well as the property owners should be aware of the Panel’s findings so that they may fully participate in the upcoming meeting.

I hope the complete information was made available to the Press, especially the dubious ratings and rating system as well as the composition of the non-representative Panel.

I cannot recall whether the Panel was created to give advice to the Mayor and Planner or take advice from the Mayor and Planner…

If the Army accepts Cucia Park, most everyone will consider it a good compromise, despite the questions it raises. It is incredible how fast the Panel found this solution. Good thing too, cause these folks on the Panel were ready once again to recommend the Mayor's dream for sprawling development, River Road, a site that both the Army and the Middletown Conservation Commission have previously rejected.

If the wetlands of Cucia do not pose insurmountable problems, this modestly sustainable site may be the best solution.There is a restaurant nearby, it is close to highways, not in anyone’s backyard and the City rather than a private individual would receive the proceeds.

Will the Advisory Panel need to be reconvened if the wetlands preclude the Army’s acceptance of Cucia Park?

Anonymous said...

Guiliano, Warner, and McHugh made a heroic effort to have the base built in Maromas. It's hard to know whether to admire their tenacity or to pity their ineffectiveness. Their enthusiasm for developing Maromas seems to have gotten in the way of their doing the necessary homework. Somehow, they didn't realize that there was a conservation MOU on the Freeman Road property and that the army wouldn't want to build on River Road because of the terrain or on the P&W site because of the pollution. If the stacked advisory panel had been just a little more compliant or if the army had been just a little more susceptible to being bullied, you can bet that no one would have suddenly "remembered" Cucia Park and that construction would have already been begun somewhere in Maromas.

Anonymous said...

Where/What is the Bysiewicz property?

fishmuscle said...

Bysiewicz property is at the intersection of Middle Street and Smith Street. It lies between the Boardman Lane property and Cucia Park. It is now extensively degraded in preparation for an approved 12-lot industrial subdivision. It's not a bad site for the army, from an environmental perspective. It is not clear at this point whether there would be traffic and line of sight issues. However, according to Bill Warner, it would lead to the permanent loss of as much as $650,000 per year from the city's tax rolls. No other site under consideration even comes close to such a direct financial loss.

Anonymous said...

I think it is called Liberty Commerce Park. Located on the west side of Middle Street across from the intersection with Smith Street. It appears to be a work in progress, with a huge heap of bulldozed dirt , a couple of storm drains and considerable site preparation completed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is no good to lose tax base, parks or open space. Is Mile Lane beginning to make sense to anyone?