Tuesday, July 29, 2008

An Army Press Conference

The army has announced that they will be holding a press conference in Middletown to "discuss planned Middletown Armed Forces Reserve Center preferred site":
Thursday, July 31st
The Inn Middletown, 70 Main Street.
From the Media Advisory:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will respond to local concerns of citizens and officials of Middletown CT.  Two public meetings, (a third planned for Aug. 27); a public website designed to answer questions from the community (here); emails; telephone calls and face-to-face meetings with community members, have not been adequate to address community concerns. It is the Army's sincerest desire to communicate with Middletown residents regarding how we are proceeding with planning this critical project. We feel the public has a right to know the site selection proces, the reasons behind the Boardman Lane site as the preferred site, and how the Army will hear and address any concerns with the site.  
Present at the meeting will be representatives form the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, U.S. Army Reserve, Connecticut Army National Guard.

In a press conference on Monday this week, the mayor, several members of Common Council, the Secretary of State, and Representative DeLauro strongly condemned the choice of Boardman Lane for the Army base, as reported by all the media who cover Middletown, including The Middletown Eye, the Hartford Courant, and a cover story in the Middletown Press, and most of the TV stations.  WNPR did story on the meeting, which was arranged by DeLauro.  
Monday's press conference followed a "private meeting" between the politicians and residents.  The army has also held private meetings with elected officials and residents (separately) prior to public statements.  The army has not indicated whether the press conference on Thursday will likewise follow a private meeting with elected officials or Middletown residents.

UPDATE (July 30, 4PM). Diane McCartin, of the Army Corps of Engineers, explained to me that this press conference is NOT open to the public. It will be in a small room on private property at the Middletown Inn. Members of the public will not be allowed to enter the room.  The Westfield Residents Association requested that one of their representatives be part of the press conference, in order that the press would get an alternative viewpoint regarding the Army base.  This request was refused.


Anonymous said...

Ed, are you an official Press person? Will you be allowed in the Press Conference? You are Middletown's Eye, and Ears, too. Trustworthy even in pique. Will you be there???

Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) said...

I'm going to do my best to crash their party.

Anonymous said...

Naturally, there will be a pack of snarling dogs sniffing around the Inn at Middletown this afternoon, eager to urinate all over the Army's boots. It could be fun! Any tax payers out there, on the inside, serving water to the thirsty attendees, who will volunteer to snitch? Surely the Mayor knows someone experienced in boot licking...How about a pizza delivery?

Please, Press people, ask the Brass why the Army wants to spend $75,000,000 to $100,000,000 of our taxes without insisting on the best site the State of Connecticut has to offer? If the answer is BRAC,BRAC,BRAC, it is time to let the tomatoes fly.

Jasper Cane

Anonymous said...


Trying to find the most suitable site for this large Army Base in Middletown is like trying to find the ideal site for an igloo on the equator. The Groton sub base might make sense. Was it simply an Army typographer, getting BRAC 2005 ready for publication, that put the base consolidation in Middletown? Reading the salient BRAC 2005 section, and I actually performed this tortuous exercise, the identical close and consolidate language occurs over and over around the nation. Just the names of the states and towns change. It is frighteningly possible that there was no thought at all to the choice of Middletown. Either this is the case or the "forces" who chose the location are too ashamed to step forward and take credit. Most frequently, our representatives go to bat for the state to keep jobs from being lost and bases from being closed. They publicize these achievements, rightfully, to get reelected on their merits. The facts of the current situation in Middletown are well-known, especially to me. What we need now is an enlightened leader acting on behalf of the Army and the citizens of Connecticut the Army protects and serves, to step forward and insist on a regional search for a sustainable site.

Hounding the Army is getting to be a full time job.