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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.

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."

sebastian dangerfield September 30, 2011 at 10:32 PM
Again, I ask Tom and Tony, do you consider the 4.2 mio dollars that was spent years ago, to be part of the calculation of any project that goes in there? To me, it's ludicrous to. To include it, would then on many levels, argue for it's remaining vacant. I just wish people who try to accuse others of fraud and misrepresentation, would acutally look in the mirror and be honest in debate. And while Tony 'cant speak for Tom', it would be refreshing to see a guy who is capable of debating points of Republicans, also be courageous and principled enough to debate ridiculous accusations by Democrats-in an effort to tone down the rhetoric. John Sini says in a recent post that Republicans are to blame for much of poor management of facilities. Why is it impossible for a Democrat to ever take issue with other Democrats, if the assertions are offensive and misguided? Dont talk about past or current administrations misrepresentations or hypocrisy of John Sini with respect to politicizing things, when you understand (and it's clear you are not dumb) that you also play games with numbers and take different approaches to numbers as it fits into your agenda. It does not take a genius to read Tony's determination that affordable housing at Leroy wont cost taxpayers a dime--and then read he includes the 4 mio dollars when determining costs to the taxpayers for the shuffle. You insult everyones intelligence with your disingenous assertions. Just tell the truth.
Darien Taxpayer October 01, 2011 at 04:59 PM
It is quite amusing to see the Democrats trying to portray themselves as being fiscally responsible now that they are not in charge and out in the wilderness. We sure didn't hear much of that when Evonne Klein was running things. They couldn't spend taxpayer money fast enough. I remenber when they laughed at the option of selling the old library. Now they want to sell it? What a joke. On the other hand, the Republicans have nothing to crow about. Sitting in that presentation at the RTM was painful. You guys need to do a much better job of preparing your presentations and making sure guests do the same. It was a mess and people couldn't read much of anything or even see the pictures very well. My eyes may not be what they used to be, but middle school kids could have done better.
Chris Noe October 03, 2011 at 12:30 PM
Right now this issue is about "power." Seniors and taxpayers just pawns in this pathetic display. Darien paid "top dollar" for a downtown property and the Republicans think "office space" is the "best use?" Every Republican should be ashamed. The Channel 12 debate airing now Jamie says, "Shortly after the election we visited the Senior Center and were appauled at it's condition." Think about how ashamed every Republican should be. Your candidates had never been to the Senior Center prior to being elected. Shame on all of you who support this. This is failed government. Darien deserves better. Chris Noe RTM District 2 Ultra-Conservative Candidate for First Selectman www.duc06820.com
robert bewkes October 03, 2011 at 11:08 PM
no I like it the way he wrote it
Debra Ritchie October 03, 2011 at 11:59 PM
Our seniors deserve better. They have been neglected by naysayers who ignore their needs and left to spend their days in a facility that is falling apart around them. I am ashamed of the state of our senior center and proud of Dave, Jayme and Jerry for coming up with a great solution.

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