Monday, August 9, 2010

Parking Garage Development and Kayak Launch Projects at Economic Development Committee Tonight

The EDC has a busy agenda for their August meeting, tonight at 6PM in Room 208 of City Hall.

Swapping City Land for a Kayak Launch.
The "Coginchaug River Access Group" is proposing the development of a kayak and canoe launching site on the Coginchaug River, on Johnson Street at the intersection of North Main. Parking would be adjacent to a the Johnson Street Pumphouse, the launch itself would be on an adjacent parcel owned by Paul Szewzyck.

According to their letter, "The Coginchaug River Access Group" is a group "organized by the Jonah Center for Earth and Art to address the need for better access to the Coginchaug River." The group includes John Hall, director of the Jonah Center, Jane Brawerman, chair of the Conservation Committee, and Joe Carta, chair of Inland Wetlands Agency.

The River would be accessible via a 370 foot trail across the Szewzyck property. In exchange for granting a conservation easement on his land, Szewzyck would acquire City land on North Main Street, which he is interested in developing for industrial purposes. The Access Group "supports this transaction fully." No value is given for the conservation easement or the City land on North Main.

Parking Garage Proposal
Tom Hartley, Parking Director for the City, will present his case for changing the location of a proposed downtown parking garage from the arcade behind the Police Station to the Melilli Plaza parking lot. He says that expanding parking at the arcade would further skew the relationship between where parking is needed and where parking is available. He also expresses fears that downtown businesses will suffer if the 366 spots in the current arcade are removed during the nearly 1 year construction of a parking garage.

The EDC will also address several other issues:
  • Funding for an upgrade to the Downtown Business District's WiFi coverage.
  • A report by the Lobbying firm Panuzio and Giordano Public Affairs, LLC. The firm's contract for lobbying in Washington on behalf of Middletown is coming to an end, and the EDC will discuss an update on their activities. They have lobbied the House of Representatives on Appropriations and on an extension to the deadline for spending 2005 transportation funds, the EPA on the OMO toxic waste site, the Army and Congress on transfer of Mile Lane to the City, and the US Department of Agriculture on money for the Coginchaug clog.
  • A tax abatement for an office park development on Industrial Park Road, developed by Centerpoint and owned by Tall Properties.
  • City-owned properties at 131 and 155 Wadsworth Street.
  • In executive session (no public allowed), they will discuss the Midfield Corp. property at College and Broad, which is the subject of litigation.
The Economic Development Committe is composed of Councilmen Gerald Daley, Joe Bibisi, Robert Santangelo, David Bauer, Vincent Loffredo. It meets on the second Monday of the month, the next meeting is tonight, at 6PM in Room 208 of City Hall. There are no public hearings, but the first item on the agenda is "Public Session."

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