Monday, December 10, 2012

Mayor Announces New Public Safety Addition

Standing at his official lectern in a fine drizzle, flanked by visiting dignitaries and a phalanx of firefighters in dress blues, Mayor Daniel Drew today announced the transfer of the abandoned Army Reserve Training Center on Mile Lane to the City of Middletown.

Unused since the Base Realignment and Closure Commission created the new Maurice Rose Armed Forces Reserve Center on Smith Street, the old center will qualify for State funds to be renovated into a regional firefighting training center.

Expressing his gratitude to U.S. Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro and Senator-Elect Christopher Murphy, (both in attendance) as well as to Senator Richard Blumenthal and Governor Dannel Malloy, Mayor Drew described a seven-year process that eventually brought the 20+ acre site under the City's ownership.

Although the actual property conveyance occurred near the end of October, the official announcement was made exactly one year after the opening of the new Reserve Center. Moving the training center from its current East Main Street site will permit a vastly better training experience, and may eventually allow additional uses, such as a dispatch center or a fire substation.

Describing the importance of a state-of-the-art firefighting training center, Mayor Drew spoke of attending a Fire Ops Training class in September, gaining first-hand exposure to the dangers firefighters can experience at any moment. Echoing the Mayor's comments, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro thanked the firefighters present for their bravery and dedication as first responders. She spoke of meeting a firefighter's wife, who expressed her constant hope that her husband could do his job and come home to her at the end of his shift.

Senator-elect Murphy spoke of the lengthy bureaucratic process, which Congresswoman DeLauro spearheaded successfully, and he congratulated her and Mayor Drew on the project. Not all base closings led to such outcomes, he said. He joined in thanking the firefighters present, and talked of how the job has changed in the past twenty years, with greater risk and greater responsibilities.

Deputy Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger, President of the Middlesex County Fire Chiefs' Association, said that the property transfer actually marks the conclusion of a twelve-year process for the Fire Department, since that is the length of time they have been seeking a new training site.

Sited on a hilltop adjacent to Middletown High School property, the abandoned Reserve Center was originally built as a Nike Missile Center during the Cold War. 
Mayor Drew described the property's value at $1.5 million. Asked if the building will be renovated or removed, Mayor Drew said that the architectural review had not been completed as to the suitability of the building, but that he was confident the building is structurally sound. 

A further question about site contamination brought the response that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has confirmed some slight contamination, and that some amount of soil will need to be removed, primarily because of petroleum spillage. The D.E.E.P. will not, however, permit residential development on the site because of the contamination.


joseph getter said...

The present location of the Middlesex County fire training center is 34 East Main Street, in the middle of the interchange of routes 17 and 9, close to the soon-to-be relocated sewage treatment plant on the river. Changes are coming soon to the area, and moving the fire center out would allow for a possible re-design of the highways here. Just stating the obvious (re: highways), but it wasn't mentioned in the post.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another "Mo" moment:
Mo apparatus
Mo firefighters
Mo Lieutenants
Mo Chiefs
Of course you will need a permanent "training center" Chief
and finally:
Mo taxes!
Better consolidate quickly!