Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Council Approves Community Health Center Project

The Common Council voted on Monday to allow the mayor to convey city a city parking lot on Main and Grand streets to the Community Health Center for the construction of a new headquarters and treatment center for CHC.

The plan for the new CHC building garnered support from the downtown business community, including immediate neighbor Phil Ouellette owner of Eli Cannon’s.

“We’re no longer going to be the red-headed stepchild when that building is completed,” Ouellette said.

“This is vital,” said Peter Harding, who owns Liberty Square, a block away. “Especially right now the way the economy is. You’re not going to see another project like this for years.”

When it came to the Council debate on the issue, the support was nearly unanimous. One of the two holdouts, David Bauer, showed concern that the project was not the best financial decision for the taxpayer. He noted that the city would convey valuable downtown property for $1, and the building, as a non-profit would not be on the tax rolls.

Bauer’s fellow council members roundly disagreed with his assessment noting the years of service CHC has provided to Middletown and residents in need


John Milardo said...

The Unions have given up $1 million dollars due to the huge deficit we are facing in town. The Council gives away a piece of property for $1 to the Health Center, taking away thousands of tax revenue dollars because they are considered a non-profit organization. If the property was sold at a reasonable price to someone else, the City would have increased their yearly tax base and tax revenues, and brought in a significant one time monetary revenue for the sale of the property. Additionally, three houses will be demolished for this project and taken off the tax base for the City; forever.

Anonymous said...

It is a sweet deal to get Main Street property for a dollar, along with community block grant money from the city for how many years? And approval in less than 30days? All at the expense of Middletown taxpayers.

This story sounds familiar, Richmond Group familiar.
So where's the usual noisy urban villagers this time.

"Many of us believe that wrongs aren't wrong if it's done by nice people like ourselves."

The least the health center can do is pay a discounted tax rate to the city for these privileges.

Jennifer Saines said...

To anonymous at 10:40: If you are insinuating that people who live in the Village District are guilty of a double standard with respect to the proposed CHC building ("So where's the usual noisy urban villagers this time"), I would point out that the *only* two members of the public who raised critical questions at the recent Common Council meeting regarding the building were, in fact, residents of the Village District (I was one of them; for the other, see the report in yesterday's Middletown Press, http://www.middletownpress.com/articles/2009/04/06/news/doc49dabc78b4c9b070145323.txt).
I wonder why, you, anonymous, did not approach the microphone if you feel strongly about this project.

In addition, another resident of the Village District noted problems at the Design Review Board meeting regarding the design of the proposed builiding and parking lot. I also spoke to what I saw as a design flaw at the Planning and Zoning meeting.

For the record, I was also openly critical of the Liberty Square project (as were others who live in the Village District) with respect to its siting, the relocation of an historic building, and the construction of a parking lot with a curb cut on Main St. I and others were also opposed to the Richmond Group Project. Although I feel that the proposed CHC project could be an opportunity for Middletown, I feel that both the CHC and the City would be better served if the CHC were to build into their plan the potential for retail at street level.

The only way the decision-making process will improve is if people in Middletown offer constructive criticisms or simply register their opposition in a timely manner, rather than griping anonymously after the fact.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of underutilized vacant property in Middletown that could service the needs of the Health Center. What we have here instead is a monument (outrageously ugly) on a promenent corner on Main Street. This facilty should be off Main Street along with the deadbeats that patronize the facilty. Middletown is doomed to be nothing but a welfare city! I'm moving out of the North End and out of Middletown!