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Letter to the Editor: Garage Vote – It’s Time to Get This Done

October 22, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor:

Those opposed to rebuilding the garage claim that it is being built on the River. While that may sound like an ecological nightmare, it is not the truth. The actual proposed garage is 190 feet from the Farmington River. Compare this to 41 Bridge Street which is 60 feet from the River or Collinsville Canoe and Kayak at 150 feet from the River. How about the Collins Axe Factory and Riverside Nursery which have buildings that are less than 50 feet from the River. The DentFix Express garage at the corner of River Street (route 179) and Maple Avenue is closer to the River than the proposed DPW garage will be. You don’t have to take my word for it, go on the Town website and use the GIS maps for yourself – here’s the link: http://www.townofcantonct.org/content/19178/19210/. Are the same people that demand the garage be removed now going to demand all these other buildings and businesses be removed too?

I grew up in Canton. I never thought the garage being there compromised the Riverfront. The Canton Fireman’s Jamboree used to be down there by the River – it’s still by the River – just further upstream now. I remember the water-skiers used the Riverfront by the garage and practiced out there all the time, it never seemed to be in their way. We swam down there and jumped off the rope swing after picking tobacco; we parked in the lot near the garage. The garage never got in our way, as a matter of fact I never noticed it. The sewer plant was much more prominent and we always would swim upstream from it – for good reason!

OK, so let’s say we all vote no again – we already struck out once – this would be strike 4.

How’s that going to work for us in Canton? Not very well since we’ve already looked at 80+ alternate sites over the past decade, found 3 that could have worked. Every single one was voted down in referendums because of cost or the proposed site was too close to home. So the opposition recommendation is to vote it down and keep things status quo – keep the OLD garage there anyway and let it decay some more while we stay stuck in the proverbial mud.

Doing nothing will cost us all more money and lots of time. People are saying we should just “find another location”, insinuating that we can find and approve another site in a blink of an eye! WRONG – we been at this for over 8 years now – how can anyone truly believe we will be able to find another acceptable site quickly?

Voting no means the decrepit garage stays where it is and our town’s expensive equipment sits outside, aging and rusting prematurely. That will add more and more money to the price tag of $387,000 already spent on site plans, surveys, consulting and review costs.

Rebuilding the garage on the existing site is a WIN for Canton residents and for the DPW.

The new garage and new salt shed will be built above the existing 100 year flood plain. The fuel storage will be moved further away from the River and will also be above the 100 year flood plain. There will be flood mitigation created by lowering the softball field approximately one foot and raising the new garage facility by an equal amount. All this will be done pursuant to local and state regulations. The new garage will have appropriate drainage and be constructed in accordance with modern storm water runoff regulations. The new garage will be an environmental improvement over the existing garage and will allow for indoor storage of our town’s $160,000+ trucks and other equipment currently stored outside.

New Garage = Riverfront enhancement by virtue of reconstruction and site beautification along our River and the Farmington River Trail.

Contrary to the claims that the new garage will be preventing recreation along the River, the new garage is designed to enhance recreation along the River. The new garage will accommodate additional parking for possible future River access. The new garage will also have public bathrooms that will be accessible 24/7. The proposal also calls for rebuilding the Softball Field and saving the historic “horse barn” portion of the existing DPW facilities so that it can utilized as storage by the Town’s Park & Recreation Department.

We already own the property. All other sites proposed require us to buy land that requires extensive site work.

The current proposal to build a new DPW garage at its current location is guided by common sense. It is a less expensive and more efficient building than those that have been proposed in the past. It also represents a compromise between meeting the needs of DPW and those who want to use the River for recreation. Please join me and support our DPW by building the garage now, where is already is and has been for a lifetime.

Dan Seger

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