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Letter to the Editor: Rebuilding on River is Short Sighted

November 6, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum No Comments

To the Editor:

In 2003 we moved back to Canton from Avon and have been impressed and proud of the way Collinsville has flourished over the past 13 years.

From a charming but sleepy little center, Collinsville has steadily acquired vitality and a reputation for superb recreational opportunities, as the town has strategically supported a variety of important improvements and developments. 

Key improvements and additions have  included the scenic walking trail which follows the Farmington River and winds through the town; the growth of businesses in the center of Collinsville catering to recreation on the River;  a growing variety of establishments serving tasty food and drink at all hours of the day; a live entertainment venue;  galleries and unique shops, an antiques center, a small grocery store a lovely farmer’s market on Sundays during the growing season; and some superb annual events, including the fantastic  annual Halloween Parade.   This wonderful confluence has created a scenic “destination” location featuring a unique, historic business center with architecturally significant and interesting homes, churches and buildings, and neighborhoods that are picturesque and increasingly desirable – all anchored by the Farmington River.

The result of this careful and appropriate development has been recognized in a number of articles, including several published in national publications which have identified Canton and Collinsville as desirable places to live; and by a burgeoning influx of “tourists” and visitors from outside communities.  These visitors come to avail themselves of Collinsville’s combination of shops, restaurants, recreational opportunities, (walking, kayaking, bicycling, running, etc.), and the scenic beauty of our town.   I was recently in Collinsville on a warm, mid-autumn Sunday morning and observed that traffic to the Farmer’s market was brisk; La Salle Market was filled to capacity, with visitors spilling out onto the sidewalk; and runners, bicyclists and walkers were represented in large numbers.   I asked a number of individuals if they were Canton residents.  Much to my surprise, at least two thirds of those I spoke with were from out of town.   While some were from neighboring towns in the Farmington Valley, many were from Kensington, Southington, Torrington and other communities far outside of our Valley region.

I would argue that ultimately, the success and allure of Collinsville and Canton’s town center is defined by its proximity to the Farmington River.   In addition to all the other practical, safety and environmental reasons for not rebuilding the Town Garage in its current location, there is the important issue of vision.  By enhancing our riverfront, and making the most of it from an aesthetic, public and recreational standpoint, we will continue the careful, visionary development that has embraced the walking trail, the successful combination of residential, business and recreational interests, as well as the preservation and enhancement of Canton’s natural and historic resources.

Please VOTE NO to rebuilding the Department of Public Works Garage in its current location.  Rebuilding this structure on the Farmington River is short-sighted and will NOT support the long-term interests of residents, property-owners, businesses, and the Canton Department of Public Works, or the future reputation and cachet of our very special, scenic and desirable town.

Hedy and Frank Barton
North Canton


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