Friday, February 22, 2008

Maromas still threatened by Army Base

Leave it to our town planner and town fathers to come up with a solution to a problem which still invites the Army Corps of Engineers to pour acres of blacktop over undeveloped real estate (this was reported in the 2/22 Hartford Courant, but does not appear on their website right now - though the Lieberman visit to Middletown story is listed four times)

Let me begin by listing my prejudices. As far as I'm concerned, the Army can go to some other town to build their facility. I consider myself a patriot, and a realist, but I mistrust nearly every concept devised by the Pentagon at any level. Also, this Army Reserve Training Center offers not a single advantage to Middletown. The monetary gains are questionable when measured against the costs we will face over the years. And, once the Army is in place we as a town have absolutely no authority to tell them what to do there. So if they decided (and I'm not suggesting they are) to open an extreme interrogation training center, we could do nothing to prevent it.

So, everyone agrees that the facility shouldn't be on Freeman Road. But if we replace the auto graveyard (in Maromas), or put it next to the planned power plant on River Road (next to the river and in Maromas), we are somehow doing something more preferable? I, for one, don't think so.

There is no inspiration in the town planner's suggestions. Why not build on the old Nike site, or on some other brownfield far from the Connecticut River. Why not suggest that the Army find another town, considering the burdens we face from our mental health and prison facilities?

Are town councilors, and the mayor afraid to appear inhospitable to the military? Afraid of being called unpatriotic, or soft on terrorism?

What are the real motives? The site on Saybrook Road will allow the feds to put sewer and water lines down Saybrook Road and further open that thoroughfare to development (likely a welcome thought to the Chamber of Commerce). On the other site, we'll have yet another quasi-industrial parcel directly on the river, a 19th century concept if ever there was one. But maybe we'll be able to sell the Army some aquifer water from the pump we're being granted by the power company who gets access to the aquifer in the deal.

It's great that townspeople, environmentalists, Freeman Road residents and open space advocates got together to get the Army to reconsider its siting plans. Let's hope the coalition sticks together to prevent some other equally ruinous placement for the training facility.


Unknown said...

Is there some hidden benefit to having a large Federal installation in our town? A promise of future compensation for this invasion? Would it not seem more sensible to employ a a regional site selection process to accommodate a regional consolidation? The proposed sites are all bad.The difficulty of "finding" a good site in Middletown just goes to prove the error of forcing something so large on one small town!

Anonymous said...

The army needs to look out of town, there isn't really a need for this.It's a waste of money and space.We don't need no stinkin army base .There is no benefit having this dump here at all.Use our tax money for people who need food , clothing and a plce to sleep.