Monday, June 22, 2009

Park Sale and Parking Department at Special Meeting of Common Council Tonight

The Common Council has scheduled a special meeting for tonight, to consider several ordinances relating to a new Parking Department, and to vote on whether to authorize the Mayor to sign an agreement with the U.S. Army for the sale of Cucia Park.

The Common Council voted on April 6 to move the job of parking management and enforcement from the Police Department to a new Parking Department. The new department will be in charge of studying the best parking arrangements for Middletown, especially for the downtown district. By city charter, the Council has to hold a second vote within 90 days of the April 6 vote, 90 days will have elapsed prior to the next regularly scheduled Council meeting, in July.

Selling Cucia Park
The U.S. Army has offered the City $2M for the sale of Cucia Park, where the Army plans to build a training facility for Reservists and National Guard. By city charter, the sale of city owned property must be approved by Common Council. In this case, the city is selling over 40 acres of land designated on city maps as "Permanently Protected Open Space".

The Common Council resolved in October, in Resolution 10-12, "...monies suffient to replace the park and open space land as a result of such sale would be placed in a special City Account for the purchase of park and/or open space land." The Democratic majority on the Council voted in April to use most of the money ($1.5M) instead to cover increases in city operating expenses, and in their press release stated that they would use the remaining to "replenish the General Fund".

Cucia Park is described in the Middletown Trail Guide as "conducive to birding, hiking, fishing, and picknicking, with biking along the abandoned railroad." The trail guide notes that the Park and Recreation Department maintains the grassy area surrounding the pond, and includes the map of Cucia park reproduced below.

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