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Canton Commission Approves Integrated Housing Proposal for Commerce Drive

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A rendering of the planned apartment complex.

By John Fitts 

By a 6-1 tally, the planning and zoning commission on Wednesday approved a proposal for a 40-unit integrated housing unit on Commerce Drive.

Pending funding, Regan Development Corporation of Ardsley, NY plans to build a three-level complex with approximately 70 parking spaces on 7 acres below Boulder Ridge. At approximately 65,000 square feet, it would feature common areas and 29 affordable units for the general public, one apartment for a building superintendent and 10 units for clients of Canton-based Favarh, an organization that supports people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.

The Favarh designated units would be built to accommodate a wide range of special needs, smart technology and more. While the general population units would all be 1- and 2-bedrooms, the Favarh specific ones would be as large as three bedrooms for those who need live-in assistance. Favarh will have staff at the building at all times. … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: 2017, Canton’s Year of Mental Wellness

December 19, 2016 Community, Government No Comments

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

Greetings of the Season!

I hope you all are enjoying the winter weather, and are staying warm and healthy.  I want to share with you a special announcement of an initiative that has been in the planning stages for several months.

Earlier this year, I began forming a task force to look at the issue of opioid addiction in our area.  This started from conversations with Jennifer Kertanis, the Director of the Farmington Valley Health District, and Claire Cote, our Senior and Social Services Director.  We also involved Chris Arciero, Canton Police Chief; Kevin Case, Superintendent of Schools; Sue Saidel, Chairman of the Youth Services Bureau; Justine Ginsberg, FVHD Community Health Coordinator; Maria Skinner, Clinical Director of the McCall Center in Torrington and Canton resident; Mary Hess, Canton League of Women Voters; and Rev. Linda Spiers of Trinity Episcopal Church.  Through our conversations, our scope enlarged to include the broader themes of addiction, mental health, and mental wellness.   … Continue Reading

Selectmen Take A Step that Could Pave the Way to Relinquishing Grange Building

December 15, 2016 Community, Government No Comments
The grange building in North Canton.

The grange building in North Canton.

No Final Decision made Wednesday

By John Fitts 

While selectmen took an action Wednesday that could pave the way for the grange building in North Canton to be returned to the state association, members held off on deciding its ultimate fate.

In September of 2013, the town accepted the building as a gift from members of the dissolved Cherry Brook Patrons of Husbandry Grange #210. Earlier that year, selectmen in place at the time, had accepted the building by a 3-2 vote.

In recent months, the current Board of Selectmen has grappled with whether to keep the 534 Cherry Brook Road building for community use or give it back to the state grange association.

Current estimates for the work needed at the grange are nearly $145,000. With an offer of help from Boy Scout Troop 177, the town’s cost for necessary repairs and code work, would drop to approximately $107,000. Abatement and required bathroom work/additions are two of the biggest costs. Additionally, town officials said the annual costs at the building are approximately $4,500, a figure that would go up to $11,600 if the building were to be rehabilitated. … Continue Reading

Developer Formally Proposes Integrated Housing Complex for Commerce Drive

An architectural rendering of the proposed building. Image taken from a larger drawing by Kitchen and Associates.

An architectural rendering of the proposed building. Image taken from a larger drawing by Kitchen and Associates.

By John Fitts

CANTON, CT — A New York developer, working with local partners, has formally proposed an integrated, 40-unit apartment complex on Commerce Drive.

Regan Development Corporation of Ardsley, NY is under contract to purchase the 6.95 acres at 300 and 350 Commerce Drive, with the idea of offer 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units, 10 of which would be set aside for clients of Canton-based Favarh, an organization that supports people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.

The lots are near the Boulder Ridge Complex and the complex would be set back from the road and include a mix of 1- 2- and 3-bedroom units as well as amenities such large community room with kitchenette, other common areas, a mail center, laundry rooms and  secure storage. The complex would be a tax-paying entity.   … Continue Reading

Friends of Canton Public Library Announce Fundraisers

Submitted 

The Taste Dining and Activity Books

The Friends of the Canton Public Library are holding two fundraisers this holiday season. The group is  selling the 2017 Greater Hartford Edition of The Taste Dining and Activity Books. These books have hundreds of coupons for a wide variety of area restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums and so much more. Dish n ‘Dat, Joe Pizza, First and Last Tavern, and La Trattoria are but a few of the many area restaurants. Entertainment venues such as the Bounce House, and local miniature golf centers as well as the Hill-Stead Museum or the New Britain Art Museum are included. … Continue Reading

Canton Celebrates its Expanded Skate Park

By John Fitts 

Canton officials and numerous skaters from near and far celebrated a newly expanded skate park at Mills Pond Park Saturday afternoon.

Canton’s 5,000 square foot skate park was originally built in the early 2000s and the new section involves some 3,000 square feet of concrete elements. Rampage, which also built the original park, recently completed the improvements, at a cost of a little less than $93,000.

The funds were included in a state Small Town Economic Assistance Program funds the town received in 2014. Other improvements, including poolhouse renovations and court resurfacing, had already been completed but the skate park took a little longer after going through a couple of iterations.

The expansion plans were approved by land-use agencies over the summer.

“It’s such a relief and it’s very exciting to finally have the park up and running,” Joshua T. Medeiros, director of Canton Parks and Recreation, said. “All the feedback we’ve received so far on the park has been really, really positive.”

Dan Cotton, of Burlington, frequented the park when younger but in recent years but had gotten away from the sport.

“Having this, it’s bringing me back,” he said, in part. “I’ll be here day in and day out, along with the rest of these people. It’s going to be a good time. I love it.”

Editor’s Note: Thank you to The Basement for the music in the above video. Their album, under the name Ruben’s basement is available as a CD or download at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rubensbasement.

The band will also be acoustic sets Saturday, Nov. 19 at Maple Cafe, 938 Maple Ave., Hartford, starting at 9:30 p.m. Follow them at https://www.facebook.com/Rubensbasement/

Letter to the Editor: Congratulations to BOS, DPW

To the Editor:

I offer my congratulations to the Board of Selectmen and the members of the DPW on the successful passage of the Canton DPW Facility referendum.

There is finally a plan that produced a resoundingly clear approval from our citizens and now town officials must deliver the advertised project within the allotted budget. … Continue Reading

Election Day 2016: Town Public Works Facility Plan Approved

By John Fitts 

By a tally of 3,219 to 2,550, Canton voters approved the proposal to build a $3.825 million Public Works facility at the present 50 Old River Road site near the Farmington River.

The plan had been a controversial, and often polarizing one in town, and two Political Action Committees, Not on Our River and Canton GOES (Garage on Existing Site) had formed around the issue.

The proposal was a 14,100 square-foot facility, salt shed and new fueling station at 50 Old River Road, where the town’s current, approximate 600-square foot Public Works garage sits today.

The town has struggled with the issue for years. In 2010, voters rejected a plan to purchase property at 5 Cherry Brook Road for $900,000. Two years later a $6 million plus plan for that property never made it to referendum after property appraisals came in well below the purchase price for the parcel. In May of 2013 and November of 2014, rejected $5.4. million and $4.78 million plans for a facility at 325 Commerce Drive.

This project was also controversial. Some called it a sound economic proposal that would provide safer work conditions and further protection for the river. Opponents said it is a negative for the river to keep the garage at the site, diminishes recreational opportunities and was too much of a compromise and negated all possibility of future expansion. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: How Canton Finally Proposed A DPW Facility Voters Liked

To the Editor:

What appears below is a brief political history of the recently-approved garage proposal that is based upon available source documents and conversations. It may be inaccurate in some details but arguably presents an accurate take on the feelings of many of those cited.

… Continue Reading

Opponents, Proponents Continue Focus on Tuesday’s Public Works Facility Vote

November 7, 2016 Government, Referendum No Comments

By John Fitts

CANTON – Despite the temperatures in the 30s, a group of representatives from those fighting the town’s proposed Public Works Facility huddled on the site of Route 44 early Monday morning.

“A lot of people are giving us really positive indications,” said David Sinish, who is treasurer of Not on Our River, a Political Action Committee formed around the issue. “There are thumbs up, great smiles waves, horn honking. We really believe that people are getting the message that maybe 50, 60 years ago, it was a good idea to build a garage next to the river. Now we’re a lot more sophisticated in our environmental thinking and it makes no sense whatsoever to put a garage next to the river.”

The group is fighting the town’s plan to build a 14,100 square-foot facility, salt shed and new fueling station at 50 Old River Road, where the town’s current, approximate 600-square foot Public Works garage sits today. The project is for $3.825 million.

Strongly supporting the measure has been a second PAC, Canton GOES (Garage on Existing Site).

Canton GOES PAC chairman Brian D. First said he also feels the group has used a variety of methods to reach voters. Like NOOR, supporters have sent letters to the editor, run a web site and facebook page and posted numerous signs around time. Canton GOES has also funded several direct mailings.

“I think we have certainly demonstrated a strong effort to reach the voters with the facts about the merits of this garage project,” First said.

First said the plan addresses concerns such as cost and includes areas for recreation while providing an adequate facility designed with input from the Public Works Department.

“This meets all of our needs and still allows us to address the concerns that people are seeking for recreation,” he said. “It really provides an area that is set aside for recreation.”

… Continue Reading

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