Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Army Presents Plans for Reserve Center

The Army Corps of Engineers gave a presentation to the Mayor, members of the Planning and Zoning, Inland Wetlands, Conservation Commission, and Common Council, and about a dozen members of the public on Tuesday evening. Diane McCartin, project manager for the Armed Forces Reserve Center, introduced the environmental specialist working on the permit process, and the designer and the architect for the AFRC. Each of them spoke for about 15 minutes.

It was an informative and professional presentation by a group that had clearly put a lot of thought and resources into making this project successful. There were many questions from Commissioners and members of the public, which the team of specialists and architects handled very well. Although the Corps will not be submitting anything for approval at city agencies, these plans and their presentation
surpassed virtually every other application I have seen come before Inland Wetlands or Planning and Zoning.

The AFRC is currently under construction on Smith Street at the former Cucia Park. This construction will impact 1.6 acres of wetlands, and to receive a permit for this, McCartin's team was required by the EPA and the Corps' environmental division to purchase and permanently protect 40 acres of land in the same watershed. Members of the Inland Wetlands Agency were astonished at this ratio of mitigation to destruction. McCartin explained that the Corps no longer uses a simple ratio, but rather looks at what is needed to replace the functions of the wetlands being damaged. The Corps' plan to preserve 52 acres on Boardman Lane, removing invasive species, enhancing the riparian zone, and permanently protecting as open space the upland area which drains into the wetlands.

The AFRC is designed as a long project parallel and adjacent to I91, in order to minimally impact the wetlands along Sawmill Brook, and the associated pond visible from Smith Street. The primary building, which will house offices, classrooms, storage, and an exercise gym, will be 4 stories tall, and visible from Smith Street. Behind this building will be parking for 300 cars and motorcycles, and further back will be a vehicle repair and maintenance building wit
h a classroom and some offices. Visitors, workers, and soldiers will typically park between the two buildings, and then walk into the main entrance, which faces the parking lot.

The AFRC is being designed to achieve certification as a 'green' building, according to the lead architect for KBE, which is designing and building the $52M project. The Army appears to be sparing few expenses to achieve this. There will be five storm water detention basins, capable of holding a 100 year storm. The largest of the basins will drain through a cascade channel, dissipating the flow of rainwater. There will be a 40 kilowatt photovoltaic solar panels, solar heated hot water, and a 10,000 square foot green roof.

The Architect said that the building will look familiar to Connecticut, using the "New England vocabulary of brick and precast concrete, with metal trim."

DeRita Construction is currently grading the site, in anticipation of pouring the cement footings in early June. Peter DeRita said that approximately 120,000 cubic yards have already been removed, and about 800-900 truck loads leave the site every day, transporting dirt to sites on Ken Dooley Drive, Middle Street and a site in Cheshire.


Anonymous said...

Will the Army be repaving the roads that are being destoyed by the dump trucks? Timber Ridge has actually buckled in two places! We now have cones in the road to warn of the bad conditions!

Smith and Middle Street aren't much better.

Anonymous said...

... having a "That's Middletown" moment over this project. We receive only 2 million dollars for Cucia Park but there is 1.2 million dollars to mitigate wetlands on Boardman? Wish I could know how that Boardman money is being distributed, especially the commissions and fees.

Also curious about getting DeRita to do the site work after their performance at the MHS site.

Anonymous said...

You are having a That's Middletown moment over the Army spending 1.2 million to mitigate wetlands and preserve open space? Just exactly what is your point? The commissions and fees to whom? You mean the money being spent to mitigate the wetlands they are forcing themselves to recreate because of Cucia Park wetland losses?

And this comment about DeRita construction baffles me. Are you talking about the wall? Because all of the other site work at Middletown High was exceptional. They went out of their way for Middletown on that project. Exactly what nonsense are you speaking of? Again the wall? This was a MINOR glitch in a really good project for the City of Middletown. Do not start a controversy where one does not exist! Its a federal government, specifically an Army project. But your nose out, I'm fairly certain they have it handled!

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering if DeRita is the only construction firm in town since they seem to get every job that has ties to the city government. Let's not forget the great mounds of dirt on Long Hill Road that were promised as soccer fields and I'm sure we haven't heard the last problem with the building of MHS.

Anonymous said...

The Long Hill "soccer field" site looks more like an unofficial, semi-permanent DeRita dirt and rock sorting facility. What's the plan for that place? Who's in charge? Where does the money go?

Jane said...

The "Long Hill Soccer Field" could have been a pretty decent subdivision -- paying property taxes to the City and everything. But some neighbors with clout (make that capital "C" Clout) fought it to the death. And then the City had to pay quite a lot to buy back the land from the developer. It wasn't pretty. Now, when it rains, the wetlands turn red from the clay run-off. Hmmm, such a deal.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:35 AM seems a little touchy. I understood perfectly the unmistakable odor of the Boardman/DeRita elements to the new Reserve Base.

The right people seem to be in the right place to see that the "usual suspects" get taken care of.

As long as Middletown construction projects have the same look & feel as the unspoken garbage territory agreements, we will continue to have soccer parks like we have on Long Hill Road.

For the record, everything at the new MHS will be exceptional right up to the moment that it falls apart. Why are all four corners of the building settling at different rates? Why have there already been roof repairs? The punch list on this exceptional project leaves me punchy!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the four corners of the building are settling at a different rate? Really? Which four corners...cause I count a lot more than four corners out there. Honestly, who's conducting that little survey of the four corners? BOE? Private Citizen? Roof repairs? How are roof repairs DeRita constructions fault? People in Middletown always think somethings always a conspiracy.

If the four corners are settling at a different rate, how come there are no building repairs? And if there are building repairs later, I'm sure you'll be there to blame DeRita, even though I didnt see them construct the building! This is another problem with Middletown, everyone is so negative, you just wait in silence for something to break down, and scream conspiracy when it does. God forbid buildings and projects have natural settlement, and have to be repaired at some point down the road. Here, it will be an I told you so moment! But wait, the High School building sits on what was part of the original building, parking lot, and baseball field! How can that be considered was there since the early 70's! Psst, it was not part of the "fill" project, the architects made sure of that.

Oh ya by the way. The Long Hill road soccer fields, are that way because you, the citizens of Middletown voted not to spend money on the project to finish it. You see the youth soccer club ran out of monies. Went to the City , the voters turned it down flat and so it remains unfinished. I do not recall reading how that was DeRita's fault. Again with the Army complex, the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT hired DeRita, not the City of Middletown. Says something about his work now doesnt it. Middletown is full of conspiracy theorists, and guess are so wrong, you look like fools.

By the way that smell you refer to, seems that maybe your garbage needs to be taken out every now and then. Please refrain from using the fruits of your conspiracy theories. The stupidity of the post becomes unbearable. One more thing, let's stop claiming that I work for DeRita, or in any form that I am them. I do know the owners of the company, and have for years. This is a good Middletown family, stop bashing their good names. Maybe just maybe they are the only construction company capable of the site work that was necessary. Please look up the meaning of site work also, it may clear up some of your "conspiracy" thoughts.

I get real tired of the subliminal "Italian" comments out there. Put your money were your mouth is, if you have proof, go see the Middlesex County Prosecutor, if not, shut up and stop bashing Italian families.

Anonymous said...

EXCEPTIONAL?You think the work at MHS was acceptable?
JCJ Architects f**** up big time. The wall, the too small gym, the locker rooms? These weren't just opps's they should be sued!
Why they got hired to do the redistrict study after is stupid.