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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The vertiginous terrain has caused severe problems at the nearby Kleen Energy construction site, with erosion visibly pouring into the Connecticut River. These problems would be increased with the addition of an Army base which will require parking for 1,000 cars on a busy weekend. The Army deserves a good site for the new facility. A site perched high above the Connecticut River adjacent to a unique, vast, undeveloped forestland offering priceless panoramic views is not a good choice for an Army base. Not only is it a logically bad choice on account of two messes being worse than one mess, but these two messes would be sure to multiply exponentially if the City continues to pursue its stated course of self-destructive planning. First the City seriously injured itself by approving Kleen Energy, now it appears eager to inflict a mortal wound by encouraging "light" industry along its undeveloped Connecticut River water frontage. What would constitute "heavy" industry , parking lots the size of the Mojave Desert? Hello? Would "sensitive" development be right for the steep slopes of the Grand Canyon? I don't think so. Wake up Middletown! Treasure this beautiful part of the City and work to preserve and protect it for generations to come.