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Republican First Selectman Candidates Respond to Sidewalk Engineering Report

Paul Giusti and Rob Mallozzi, in their own words.

On Tuesday, July 5, Cabezas DeAngelis engineers delivered their engineering analysis of what it would take to install sidewalks on lower Main St. in New Canaan. The report was delivered to the town engineer, , and will be presented at the meeting of the Fire Commission Tuesday night.

A copy of the engineers’ report is attached at right.

Installation of the sidewalks were included in a approved by the . Inclusion of the sidewalks in the road bond was the focus of a referendum, which was held on April 27, and which was .

Patch asked the two Republican candidates campaigning for First Selectman to respond to the information in the report. Both and responded to the following question. Their answers, provided by e-mail, follow.

Patch: The engineering report for the Main St. sidewalks was released on Tuesday, and I wonder if you would share with me your response to the report and what your recommendations would be to the Town Council in terms of moving on this report and the installation of the sidewalks.

 

Response from Paul Giusti:

I had an opportunity this morning to review the information regarding the road and sidewalk design. As you requested, here are my thoughts:

 In reviewing the preliminary design plans for the road and sidewalks for Main Street, there are a number of steps that need to be taken and a number of questions that remain to be answered in order to gather the facts and make an informed decision.

The plans need to be reviewed by the Fire Commission as well as the Police Commission in order to obtain their input. The Department of Public Works needs to obtain bids to establish the cost of the project. The design also needs to be reviewed to determine if there are opportunities for value engineering to find ways to reduce the overall project cost without sacrificing what is needed. All of this information will be provided by the Department of Public Works when they make their presentation to the Town Council.

The efforts to obtain the needed input and to determine the construction costs are moving ahead. Once that information is available, the Town will have all of the facts and can bring the interested parties together, gain informed consensus and take the appropriate action. 

Response from Rob Mallozzi:

There was a total lack of leadership and inadequate planning on the part of this administration that led to this inevitable situation. Who isn’t in favor of sidewalks? I use them, you use them, and they are a wonderful component of our great town. But pitting neighbor against neighbor because the Town voted to move forward without a true cost estimate or a defined path made no sense to me back in February and throughout the spring. I don’t for one minute believe that the majority of the 1300 citizens who voted against spending money on sidewalks intended to deny sidewalks to Main St residents or South School families. This issue came up in a road bonding discussion and caught folks by surprise.

I would ask the Town Council to establish a ceiling on what we will spend on these sidewalks before we go much farther. Remember, the estimate the Town Council and based their vote for the inclusion of new sidewalks in the Road Repaving Project was $400-500,000. If installing sidewalks requires the taking of private property or the removal of utility poles, I believe it would be a deal breaker. It appears from the report that this is a likely scenario. I also think the referendum decision would be null and void if the amount exceeds what the residents understood when they voted for sidewalks in April.

As I have lobbied for all along and was quoted in Patch when I announced my back in February, we need to pave Main Street as it is in terrible condition. I have also mentioned many times and have investigated with Richard Stowe, that we should seriously consider adding bike lanes to the paving project (very little cost), so we can make headway toward the goal of delineating a path/walkway from the road. But we must repave Main St. at the earliest possible time frame. 

Roy A. Abramowitz July 12, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Scott C Callaghan (a\k\a SCC): Although I think it best not to have a dialogue with you on Patch, I must respond to your unfounded accusations of "ignorance of events" or "disingenuous demagoguery". Scott if the referendum was not about the cost of the sidewalks why then were the two groups characterized by themselves and the press as "the pro-sidewalk group" and "the against sidewalk group"?. Believe me RAW is very much versed in the facts and workings of town processes and the truth behind previous events. RAW facts: on day one Mr Radman stated as an Architectural Manger that the costs would exceed $1,000,000. He gave that advice free of charge. Now we hear the same conclusion after spending $25,000 and four months after Dan's comments. I after observation of the sight did an op-ed T.V. interview pointing out the utility and apparent eminent domain issues shorthly thereafter. Fire Commissioner Roger Williams during the same period pointed out the problem of automobile and truck traffic needing to pull onto a sidewalk to allow emergency vehicles to pass. Where is TC now? They said: "If there were eminent domain issues it would be a deal breaker" They voted on a $400,000 cost that now appears will be in excess of $1,000,000 and passed a budget without considering these apparent additional costs or the Lakeview Bridge costs. Now that is what we call "Ignorance of Events" and "Disengenuous Demogoguery". So SCC vote RAW since this will not happen under the watchful eye of RAW.
heavens sake July 12, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Process on sidewalk funding was flawed because dubious cost ,and was suddenly introduced hostage to asphalt paving --cute but flawed. Thats why we had a referendum , continuing debate and meeting this evening very appropriately at Firehouse. Perhaps we should have had a long range plan prioritizing sidewalk plan for entire Town rather than local lobbying effort, while at same time Bridge process was unraveling. As far as Long Range Plan , $250,000 is a tidy sum for yet another plan destined to be shelved. In meantime Town Hall roof needs replacement, an elevator and other repairs that can be handled at a modest cost. Instead we will have grandiose plans extremely costly to taxpayers requiring deficit financing at the wrong economic time with demographics working against us. But yes ,I have stated an opinion on the Long Range Plan, so lets wait until they submit the final report. Can hardly wait for the process to begin.
NCMom July 13, 2011 at 06:02 PM
let's not forget that these sidewalks were also supposed to include a small part of Old Norwalk Road that would benefit those many families living near Kiwanis Park, the Transfer Station etc to access town and schools safely.
CTgal111 July 13, 2011 at 09:02 PM
@SCC: I am curious as to why you are not currently running for a political position? Seriously, you seem to have many answers and much time to be involved in all of this--why not put yourself on the line and contribute something tangible vs. tearing down a man who is actually doing just that?!!!
R A Leon July 13, 2011 at 09:21 PM
WALKER & DE WAELE RESIGN The previous (current) administration SHOULD be criticized for concealing information from voters and before the budget was passed by TC. Walker and De Waele should resign, with all due respect.

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