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Letter to the Editor: Supports the DPW Facility Proposal

To the Editor:

After considering the options I am writing to support the Board of Selectmen’s recommendation to locate a new DPW facility on the present River Road site.

As a member of the previous BOS this site was not believed to be an available alternative. Now viable, I believe it makes the most sense based on needs, fiscal responsibility, and the failed attempts to relocate the facility.

This may not be the ideal solution but likely is the most practical. Our Waste Water Treatment plant is going nowhere else and my own experience indicates that the DPW and enjoyment of the river can co-exist. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: We Can Make Our Garage Safe and Be Fiscally Responsible

Comment: To the Editor:

Driving through Canton it’s hard to miss the “Garage yes, but not on our river” signs. They always leave me puzzled. We have a town garage, currently on our river and the river has not suffered by its proximity. In all the intense and emotional arguments I heard about the Garage I’ve never heard any facts that stated the Garage and it’s activities have done any damage to the river. It’s a testament to the commitment and skill of our Public Works Department that they have taken such good care of the river while also taking such good care of our town. The ‘not on our river’ arguments seem to revolve around the current and proposed Garage structures being unsightly as viewed from the river.   … Continue Reading

Public Hears Details of Preliminary TIF Master Plan for Collins Co. Complex

By John Fitts

On Thursday evening, representatives from Camoin Associates presented the public with a preliminary Tax Increment Financing Plan for the Collins Company Complex.

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is the process in which a town, for a period of time, allows a portion of the increased property tax revenues generated by a project to go back into the project and/or related improvements and/or administrative costs.

For the past several months, the company has been working with a town-appointed TIF Steering Committee to develop a preliminary master plan for the 19-acre complex, the former site of the Collins Company, a world-famous manufacturer of edge tools that operated from the 1820s to 1966.

Currently Colliers is listing the property, on behalf of At Collinsville, for $3.9 million. Currently there are dozens of businesses in the complex but town officials have been frustrated for years at the lack of redevelopment of the complex, some of which is deteriorating to various degrees.

On Thursday, Jim Damicis, senior vice president at Camoin, shared an overview of TIF, the process for the town and the idea that a public-private partnership could help spur redevelopment at the complex.

The company estimates the property could generate more than a million in annual taxes. Today it generates approximately $32,000.

Damicis said a project could help the town diversify its job market and tax base and preserve a historic and beautiful asset in it’s the village downtown.

“This represents a significant opportunity for Canton,” he said. … Continue Reading

Calling all would-be archaeologists:  Canton Land Trust hosts dig at former Poor House Barn

September 29, 2016 Community, Environment No Comments
Mary Conklin Sanctuary. Photo by Phil Philbrick

Mary Conklin Sanctuary. Photo by Phil Philbrick

Submitted Release 

Be an archeologist for a day at a dig on Sun. Oct. 23, 10 a.m. at the Canton Land Conservation Trust’s Mary Conklin Sanctuary. New Hartford Town Historian Anne Hall and noted archeologist Ken Feder of Central Connecticut State University will lead the dig of an historic foundation that was once the Canton Poor House barn.

“Our expectation is that we’ll find ceramics, glass, metal (nails, bits of farming equipment) and bricks. No gold or treasures!” said Land Trust Co-President Jay Kaplan.

Participants should:

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, protective boots and gloves,
    • Bring trowels and small shovels, and
    • Bring pencils or pens and tape measures (with metric scale).

The dig is not suitable for young children. In case of bad weather, see www.cantonlandtrust.org.

From Rt. 44 turn onto Indian Hill Road and follow for approximately 1 mile until the 2nd driveway on the left past the intersection with Spaulding Road. Enter the driveway and park on the unpaved parking area on the right.

… Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: ‘Our Town Garage Not On The River – Really!’

To the Editor:

We, the residents of Canton, are stuck in a lengthy, multi-layered imbroglio about where to build the new town garage.  There are many issues which have risen to the surface in the years that we have been struggling to find a pathway to implement this very critical upgrade, and the present one is the Farmington River – or not!

We’ve been at this for more than 10 years, with proposals and plans that have matured to ballot questions more than once.  We’ve been asked to support a new garage in three or four locations with well-developed project plans for each.  Those proposals have suffered defeat for a variety of reasons – a location near somebody’s backyard, the cost of acquiring the needed parcel of land or a design that was considered too extravagant. … Continue Reading

Roaring Brook Nature Center Announces Programs

September 27, 2016 Community, Environment No Comments

Submitted Information.

The following programs are among the many offered by Roaring Brook Nature Center, which is located at 70 Gracey Road in Canton. See more at http://roaringbrook.org

Saturday Morning Bird Walk

Roaring Brook Nature Center will offer a Saturday morning bird walk on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 7:3 to 9 a.m. Fall bird walks take advantage of the annual fall migration when birds travel through the Farmington Valley area by the thousands on their way to wintering grounds to our south.  The walks are designed for all levels of expertise from beginner to the more experienced birder. Pre-registration is not required and the cost of the walk is $3.00 for members, $5.00 for nonmembers.  Bird walks are not geared for very young children and participants should bring binoculars and dress for wet conditions underfoot.  Call the Center for additional information at 860-693-0263. … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: Preliminary TIF Plan Presentation is Thursday


Leslee Hill

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

This year, the Town has been looking at ways to incentivize redevelopment of the historic Collins Company property (the “Axe Factory”) in Collinsville.  At the Annual Town Meeting in January, we heard a presentation on Tax Increment Financing, which is linked here:

Since then, the Town used grant funds to hire a consultant to prepare a preliminary TIF master plan. This preliminary plan can be presented to potential developers, to describe what incentives the Town may be willing to provide them. This preliminary plan will be presented to the public by the consultant on Thursday evening, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Community Center, Room F. Below are some FAQs regarding Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”).  … Continue Reading

Second Political Action Committee Formed Around Public Works Facility Project

September 27, 2016 Environment, Government No Comments

There are now two political action committees that have formed to take a position on the proposal to rebuild the public works facility at its current site.

Updated with links. 

By John Fitts 

A second political action committee (PAC) has been formed surrounding the proposal for a $3.825 million public works facility at the current site of 50 Old River Road.

Filed on Sept. 23, Canton GOES (Canton Garage on Existing Site) is promoting a yes vote for the Nov. 8 referendum.

The town is looking to bond for a facility of approximately 14,217 square feet facility. The plan calls for more than 11,000 square feet of storage with a maintenance area, lift and dedicated wash bay. It also includes lowering the ballfield for floodplain mitigation, a new salt storage shed, partial demolition of the existing facility and a public restroom.  … Continue Reading

Idea of Rebuilding Public Works Facility at Current Site Remains Controversial


Not On Our River PAC launches web site, facebook page

By John Fitts 

CANTON — As residents ready to head to the polls this November, the issue of the town’s Public Works facility has managed to take some attention from the increasingly bizarre presidential race.

For more than 10 years the issue of a new – or expanded – Public Works facility has generated controversy in town, largely due to disagreements on cost and potential locations. Personality conflicts and ethical charges have also been a factor and Board of Selectmen members have urged residents to keep the tone civil.

This time around, the subject surrounds the idea of rebuilding the facility at its current 50 Old River Road location. On Tuesday, Nov. 8, residents will be asked whether the town should “bond” in the amount of $3.825 million to fund a new facility at the site. Selling municipal bonds is essentially the town’s way to borrow funds and pay off the project over 20 years.

Town officials say the debt payment would be highest in the first year – $328,875 – and, in that year have an impact of $72 for the owner of an average” home assessed at $238,832. The town’s payment would be $289,750 the next five years and continue to drop from there, according to the town’s numbers.

The current plan, drafted with the assistance of Fuss & O’Neill, is a modification of one that town staff developed earlier this year. The conceptual plan calls for a 25-foot high facility of approximately 14,217 square feet, with more than 11,000 of that being for storage with a maintenance area, lift and wash bay. The plan also includes lowering the ballfield for floodplain mitigation, a new salt storage shed, partial demolition of the existing facility and a public restroom.

Plans for a new access road from Route 179 and river access were removed from the conceptual plan but the town worded the proposal in a way that some those improvements and/or others, such as better separation of the current roadway and Farmington River Trail, could be included if there’s adequate funding.

Last week, the Political Action Committee (PAC), Not On Our River, announced that it had launched a web site, www.CantonNotOnOurRiver.org, and facebook page (Not On Our River) as part of its campaign to defeat the plan. … Continue Reading

It’s Official: Latest Public Works Facility Proposal Will be on November Ballot

The latest plan borrows heavily from the Barkhamsted facility, gets the facility to one level and brings the price below $4 million

The latest plan borrows heavily from the Barkhamsted facility, gets the facility to one level and brings the price below $4 million

By John Fitts 

CANTON — With a 4-1 vote Wednesday, selectmen officially voted to put a $3.8 million proposal to build a new Public Works facility at the current site on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The plan calls for the final design, construction, construction and equipping of an approximate 14,000 square foot facility at the 50 Old River site as well as partial demolition of existing facilities, lowering the ball field on site for floodplain mitigation, and potentially improving the existing access road that serves as both the roadway and Farmington River Trail. The proposal is broad enough to include other improvements, such as formal river access, should there be sufficient funds or other income sources, such as grants.

Town officials said the plans are conceptual in nature, with the ability to tweak details in the final construction.

Approximately $75,000 would be used to cover costs associated with project selling municipal bonds, the town’s way of borrowing funds and paying back the project over time.

According to documents released before the vote, the first year payment would be the highest at $328,875 and raise taxes .3 mills, or a $72 increase for the “average” homeowner. Payments would then decrease over the 20-year payoff time, according to the town.

After years of attempting to find a new location for the facility and failed referendums, the Board of Selectmen has discussed rebuilding at the current site since January. The proposal was forwarded by town staff after they were instructed to re-evaluate what could be done at the current site a few months earlier.

On Wednesday, first selectman Leslee Hill said she was approached by town staff shortly after taking office.

“More could be done there than previously thought and that was a game changer,” she said. … Continue Reading


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