Jul 30, 2014

Selectmen Set to Vote Monday on $6.979M Shuffle Appropriation

Planners presented the latest designs and cost projections to both the Board of Selectmen and Representative Town Meeting over the past 10 days.

Selectmen Set to Vote Monday on $6.979M Shuffle Appropriation Selectmen Set to Vote Monday on $6.979M Shuffle Appropriation Selectmen Set to Vote Monday on $6.979M Shuffle Appropriation

The Board of Selectmen is set to vote on a $6.979 million appropriation Monday for a Republican-backed facilities shuffle plan, according to a published agenda.

Item 6a calls for the board to "take action on a resolution appropriating $6,979,000 for the renovation of 35 Leroy Avenue and 2 Renshaw Road and authorizing the issuance of bonds and notes in the amount of $6,979,000 to meet said appropriation."

Under the three-phase shuffle proposal,  green-lighted last summer in a 3-2 party-line vote:

  • The Board of Education's offices would be moved from their current home abutting the old library at 35 Leroy Ave.
  • The  would then be relocated from its aging venue on Edgerton Street to a revamped Town Hall annex, dubbed the Mather Center. 
  • The Edgerton facility would finally be razed to clear the way for senior affordable housing at the site. (This third component is not part of the current planning process and would likely be handled by a non-profit.)

Board members were given a formal presentation on the project at their most recent meeting, held on Sept. 19. Building committee chairman Norm Guimond, architect Rusty Malik, and architect Tom Arcari updated the selectmen on their latest designs and cost projections. The three delivered a similar presentation at Monday's session of the Representative Town Meeting.

Officials have raised the possibility holding a special RTM session to vote on the project, which could allow construction to proceed in time for a summer 2012 move by the Board of Education. Funding for the plan would require sign-off from the Board of Finance before reaching the RTM.

First Selectman Dave Campbell, joined by fellow Republican Selectmen Jayme Stevenson and Jerry Nielsen, contend that the project is the most space- and cost-effective approach to developing a new senior center and making good use of town facilities.

Democratic selectmen David Bayne and Callie Sullivan argue that multi-phase plan is inefficient and more expensive than constructing a new purpose-built center at the current Edgerton Street location.

Democratic first selectman candidate John Lundeen — along with runningmates Bayne and Vickie Riccardo — has advocated selling the 35 Leroy Ave. building to a private developer "who will build a mix of market rate and below market rate housing" geared at "empty-nesters."

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