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Letter to the Editor: Let’s Rebuild the Garage Right – Where it Already Is

October 25, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor:

Acting as concerned, private citizens, a non-partisan group recently formed a PAC called Canton GOES (Garage On Existing Site).  Our website is www.CantonGOES.org and our Facebook page is Facebook.com/CantonGOES.  We provide factual information for voters interested in learning more about why we support a Yes vote on Nov. 8th to re-build the town public works facility at its current location with important site enhancements.  To be specific and factual – these enhancements include protecting the environment by constructing the garage, office area, salt shed and fuel pumps above the 100 year flood plain.  Public restrooms and improved parking are also included and the potential remains to further develop river access and site entry.

It appears the majority of Canton residents agree on the key issue of needing to replace the garage facility (Garage YES!).  Photos of the existing facility and how and where equipment is stored strongly reinforce that we should act now to solve these problems.  In fact, I have personally voted in support of the previous proposals and appreciate the dedication and effort over many years to prepare them.  However, it is time to evolve in order to resolve this issue.  The majority of voters repeatedly rejected these proposals by fairly wide margins citing concerns including project size, cost and neighborhood location.  We need to listen and respect what these voters are telling us or we risk alienating them and turning them against any and all garage proposals.  Studies and failed referendums are piling up – as is the tab for not solving this problem – over $337K spent to date related to garage replacement efforts.  Waiting “just a little while longer” for a perfect solution acceptable to the majority of voters has added up to over 8 years and counting.

This is the Right Project, Right Price and Right Place.  This new garage proposal listens to the majority of voters and addresses their concerns. We now have the opportunity to come together and vote YES for a comprehensive solution.  This project is over 20% smaller than previous proposals, yet still allows us to store all the DPW vehicles and critical equipment inside, perform maintenance and wash vehicles.  The price at $3.82 million is also 20% less than the last proposal since we are using the current site and a revised building design.  The Costs of Doing Nothing are even higher – consider our workers’ safety and morale, rusting equipment and that a new DPW truck costs over $160K!  Increased efficiency and extended equipment life truly make this a project that can pay for itself over time.  The place is the same site adjacent to the existing waste treatment facility, except improved to protect the environment by building above the 100 year flood plain.  This plan is consistent with other public facility projects built in CT in similar locations.  Importantly, no neighborhoods will feel like the town garage is being relocated too close to them.  The public will benefit from more amenities at this site with restrooms and parking and we still preserve the future opportunity for enhanced river access.

Let’s support a right-sized town garage project at an established, town-owned site next to our waste treatment facility.  Voting Yes on Nov. 8th finally solves our garage problem, vastly improves the current site to protect the environment NOW, and listens to the voters with a cost we can support as taxpayers.

Brian First, Canton
(Submitted by Brian First as a private citizen and Chairman of the Canton GOES PAC)



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