On Nov. 3, Middletown voters will decide whether to authorize the city to borrow funds for a variety of long- term infrastructure projects. No final decisions on these projects have been made, but the referendum asks voters to authorize the borrowing that will be necessary for them.
The Jonah Center Board of Directors recommends a "yes" vote on the ballot question (see below).
The proposed or potential projects are: repurposing the gym and swimming pool of the former Woodrow Wilson Middle School for a community recreation center; moving City Hall into the Citizens Bank building on Main St.; buying or upgrading property along River Road so that the city has control of the area for riverfront redevelopment; building the long-awaited parking garage behind the police station; and road and sidewalk construction.
Members of the Jonah Center board attended a detailed presentation by Mayor Ben Florsheim and Director of Planning, Conservation and Development Joe Samolis at the Ecoin meeting on Sept. 28. We were favorably impressed with the strategic thought that went into these plans and the Jonah Center Board recommends a "yes" vote on the ballot question.
Adaptive reuse of existing buildings is preferable to demolition and new construction. Frontage on the Connecticut River is the city's most notable feature, and the long hoped-for combination of preservation, public access, and creative development will add greatly to the City's attractiveness for residents and visitors. To accomplish that, the City needs control of the relevant properties. Replacing the parking arcade with a multi-story garage with connected commercial and residential space will contribute to the quality and vitality of our downtown.
More information can be found on the city website here.