Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The army prepares to invade Maromas again
The Hartford Courant reports this morning that the Army Corps of Engineers appears to be looking at another site in Maromas to build its Army Reserve Training Center. This site is one that was recommended by the city, on property currently owned by CL&P, and on or adjacent to a former feldspar mine.
Come on. Residents showed up in force to protest the last proposal to build a massive site in Maromas, which will include pouring acres of blacktop. What's with the city, and the Army?
I understand that the city sees these parcels as fair industrial development plots. Call me crazy but why are city fathers so eager to have additional industrial development poured on what they admit is a unique slice of wilderness in Central Connecticut. To give them some credit, city planners are working to reserving a vast corridor of Maromas as "open space." However, those same planners seem reluctant to pursue open space acreage along the riverfront (which, duh, is prime, open space, recreational land).
Forgive me if I sound like I trust neither city planners nor the Army, because I don't. In the end, the city gets nothing for this development. No taxes. No addition to the grand list. More traffic on a sensitive roadway. How does the city see this fitting in to the plan of development currently being revised? Does it help the problems of crime and poverty downtown? Does it create incentives for retail development downtown, or in specified areas? Does it attract the kind of industry which will help Middletown? Does it make the schools better? I don't think there's a "yes" answer among those questions.
We need to suggest the Army build on a brownfield, or send them packing. This is an unwanted and unnecessary development, and I can only hope that our citizens will be out in legion at the June 10 meeting when the Army unveils its plans again.