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Town Accepts $1.3 Million Grant for Second Phase of Collinsville Streetscape

August 10, 2016 Business, Government No Comments

A portion of Phase 1 Collinsville Streetscape. Photo by John Fitts

After some 45 minutes of discussion, Canton electors on Wednesday voted to accept a $1.3 million dollar grant for phase two of Collinsville streetscape.

The funds were announced in early June as part of nearly $11 million awarded under the state’s Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Grant Program.

Numerous people spoke out about the grant, with many supporting it but others stating that the state should not be allocating the money at this time. Some also feel the improvements diminish the area’s character but other residents feel they’ve helped the area. (See more via our archived live facebook feed at https://www.facebook.com/cantoncompass/?ref=settings)

While there was somewhat a movement against accepting the grant in recent weeks, Selectman Larry Minichiello was ultimately the only audible voice against it when it came to a vote. Earlier this summer, Minichiello and selectman Bill Canny voted against moving the process forward to the Board of Finance, which ultimately referred it back to selectmen and on to special town meeting. The three other selectmen, Leslee Hill, Tom Sevigny and Beth Kandrysawtz voted to move it forward.

Last summer, the town completed the first phase of the streetscape project, which included lighting, a complete revamping of the ‘Town Hall’ parking lot, plantings, benches, crosswalk and sidewalk improvements, street paving and more. The work centered around lower Main Street. In all, that project was $500,000, $387,000 of which came from a Connecticut Main Street Investment Fund Grant and the balance from Local Capital Improvement Program and town pavement management funds.

The additional funding is slated to bring improvements to:

  • Main Street from Front Street to River Street
  •  River Street from Main to Bridge Street Bridge Street from Main Street to River Street
  • Market Street and North Street
  • The Green

The exact nature of the changes will be developed, with public input, at a later time.

Below is the presentation given at the meeting by Neil Pade, Canton’s director of Planning and Community Development. It can also be viewed at https://www.scribd.com/document/320852051/20140522-CollinsvilleRGA

Letter: Consider Rejecting $1.3 Million Grant for Collinsville Streetscape

August 9, 2016 Government, Opinion 1 Comment

To the Editor: (In reference to brief about Collinsville grant vote Wednesday night).

One hundred percent of the grant’s source of the funds is DEBT.

The need is now to stop government officials from distributing such financially insolvent drugs called grants.

The grant to Canton comes from an $11 million allocation of General Obligation bonds approved by the State Bond Commission in March of 2016. … Continue Reading

In Brief: Garage Plan Expected Wednesday, Electors to Vote on Collinsville Grant

August 8, 2016 Government No Comments
The town's Public Works Facility at 50 Old River Road.

The town’s Public Works Facility at 50 Old River Road.

On Wednesday night, the Board of Selectmen is expected to discuss a Public Works facility proposal that could go to voters in November.

Earlier this year, after years of controversy, site searches and failed referendums, the town came up with a concept for rebuilding at its current site – 50 Old River Road – on the banks of the Farmington River.

Like past plans, this one has been the subject of some controversy. Recently the board authorized spending as much as $25,000 for Fuss & O’Neill to further develop the plan.

“As requested by the Board of Selectmen, the Town has contracted with Fuss & O’Neill to review the proposal to build a new Public Works Facility at 50 Old River Road,” Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner wrote in the packet for the upcoming Board of Selectmen meeting on Wednesday. “Over the past 10 days Town Staff have been reviewing the original proposal and several variations with Fuss & O’Neill with an emphasis on simplifying the proposal and reducing costs. Pursuant to the agreement with Fuss & O’Neill they will have a revised conceptual site plan, renderings and floor plan by the August 10th Board meeting. They will also have a preliminary cost estimate.”

For more on the subject, please see our most recent story here. … Continue Reading

Esty to Host ‘Congress on Your Corner’ in Canton on Monday, Aug. 8

August 5, 2016 Community, Government No Comments

Elizabeth Esty

Submitted Release 

CANTON — On Monday, Aug. 8, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) will host her ninth “Congress on Your Corner” event of 2016 at the Canton Public Library.

Residents will have an opportunity to meet with Esty one-on-one, and share their thoughts regarding issues before Congress and in their community. Members of Esty’s staff will also be on hand to help residents who have problems or concerns with a federal agency, including on matters related to Social Security, Medicare, immigration, or veterans’ benefits. Since taking office in 2013, Esty has brought back over $8 million in savings to constituents in central and northwest Connecticut, including over $5 million this term alone.

The event takes place from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug.8, at Canton Pubic Library, Community Center Room F, 40 Dyer Avenue, Canton.

Canton Group Formalizes Opposition to Rebuilding Public Works Facility on River, Selectmen Defend Idea of Letting Voters Decide

The town's Public Works Facility at 50 Old River Road.

The town’s Public Works Facility at 50 Old River Road.

By John Fitts

CANTON — A group of local residents have formed a Political Action Committee designed to oppose a plan to rebuild the Public Works facility at its current location.

The PAC, “Not On Our River,” is a response to an anticipated referendum question that could be placed on the ballot for the Nov. 8, 2016 election.

Earlier this year, following years of frustration and failed referendums for a new facility to replace its outdated structure, the town came up with a plan to rebuild the facility at the 50 Old River Road site.

The concept involved an approximate 15,000 square feet building, a new access road from Route 179 and enhanced river access. On Aug. 10, the Board of Selectmen will review additional data from Fuss & O’Neill, the firm reviewing and potentially modifying the town’s initial plan. It’s possible the board could vote that night to place a project on the November ballot.

The idea of rebuilding at the current site has met with some resistance from people in town. Many spoke against the plan at a public hearing earlier this summer and several have continued to voice their opinions at meetings, through emails and letters to the editor.

Several residents have also posted lawns signs reading “Garage Yes But Not on Our River,” designed to show support for a new facility but opposing the idea of rebuilding at the site. … Continue Reading

In Brief: Electors to Decide on $1.3 Million Grant for Collinsville Streetscape

August 3, 2016 Government No Comments

CANTON – Next Wednesday, Canton electors will decide whether to accept the $1.3 million Connecticut Department of Transportation Responsible Growth and Transit-Orientated Development Grant for the second phase of the Collinsville streetscape.

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 in Room F of the Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Ave. Also on the meeting, attendees will decide whether the town should approve $221,500 from the undesignated fund balance to fund the replacement of a section of the roof on the Cherry Brook Elementary School.

See more about the streetscape grant in our previous post here.


Favarh, Regan Development Hope to Bring Integrated Housing Unit to Commerce Drive

IMG_3193By John Fitts

CANTON – A local non-profit and a New York based development company are hoping to bring an integrated apartment project to Commerce Drive.

The Arc of the Farmington Valley, commonly known Favarh, a Canton based organization that supports people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities and Regan Development Corporation have approach town officials with the idea of an apartment complex at 300 and 350 Commerce, near the 55-plus Boulder Ridge complex. At this point, there is no formal application for the project.

The initial concept for the building is an integrated environment with approximately 36 units, nine of which would be set aside and specially designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with the rest of the units open to general population – at a reasonable price point. The building would include common areas and an on-site superintendent.

“It would provide additional affordable housing for young people, perhaps older people looking to downside – all in the setting of an integrated space for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Stephen Morris, executive director of Favarh

“The desire is to help people locally be able to stay local,” said Ken Regan, vice president of Regan Development. “This is a technique we’ve put together to try and build community but at the same time provide rentals, of good quality, that people can afford.”

Regan said the project is in its infancy but said the one-bedroom units could fall in the 700 to 750 square-foot range and two bedrooms approximately 900 to 1,050 square feet.

Rents for the Simsbury project fall between $986 and $1,415 and while Regan said it’s too early for any hard numbers, Canton prices could be lower.

In 2011, Regan Development debuted Kershaw Commons in Freehold Township, N.J., the first East Coast project designed specifically for those with Multiple Sclerosis.

The company has launched several projects for those with special needs and in September of 2015 opened Ojakian Commons in Simsbury, a 48-unit complex also designed for MS patients. At the request of Simsbury officials, the facility set aside 7 apartments for those with other disabilities, a move that led to the relationship with Favarh, Morris said. The facility has specially designed features for those with disabilities, such as automated doors, wide doors, hard-surface flooring, accessably placed light switches and more. There are also several common areas for social gatherings and additional amenities.

“It’s just a great social environment,” Morris said of the Simsbury facility. “I said ‘gosh we really need to do something like this but for people with intellectual abilities.’ We started talking to the developer about possibly doing something in Canton.” … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: A Public Works Project Update

August 2, 2016 Government, Opinion No Comments
Canton First Selectman Leslee Hill

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

I am writing to update you on the status of the Public Works Facility issue. In the last month, a few significant events have occurred.

First, the BOS gave consideration to the possibility of relocating the Public Works facility to 674 Albany Turnpike (also known as the “Satan’s Kingdom” property), which is on the market for $1.2 million. After survey results indicated that there was support for that location, the BOS voted to obtain an appraisal of the property. Several members of the town staff and I walked the property as part of several meetings with the sellers, and we expressed our potential interest in purchasing the property. The appraisal valued the property at $670,000. Based on that appraisal, the BOS submitted an offer of $670,000. That offer was rejected by the sellers, and when asked, they stated that the property had significantly greater value to them and therefore chose not to make a counter-offer. This effectively ended negotiations on the purchase of that property.   … Continue Reading

Canton School District To Apply for Permanent Lights at Track and Field Facility

lightsBy John Fitts

CANTON – School officials are readying to file a formal application to add permanent lights at high school track and field facility. And if all goes well, the Canton Athletic Booster Club is on deck to unveil a “Lights on Canton” campaign to fund the improvements.

“It is the intent of the Board of Education to, very soon, file an application with you,” Superintendent Kevin D. Case told members of the Planning and Zoning Commission at a recent meeting.

Case told the commission and Compass that school officials are looking to file an application the commission can receive at its August meeting. He anticipates there would be a public hearing at the commission’s Sept. 21 meeting.

In November of 2012, voters approved a $3.615 million track and multi-use field facility at the school. At the time, The Board of Education did not seek approval for lighting but assured that the conduits and other infrastructure to support lights were built into the facility.

“It’s no secret lighting was going to come forward at some point,” Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman David Bondanza (He has since stepped off the commission), said at the recent meeting.

The Canton Athletic Booster Club is anxious to launch an ambitious fundraising project to fund the lights, poles and related improvements, but the Board of Education and school officials told the group that the town approvals should come first.

“No fundraising will start until all the proper procedures are followed,” Case recently told Canton Compass.

The school board must obtain site plan modification, two special permits from the Planning and Zoning Commission and a building permit before work can begin.

For the Planning and Zoning Commission, the application must show details such as height, fall clearness, lighting type, aiming diagrams, a photometric survey and information that addresses glow, “light trespass” and glare.” Additionally, all neighbors within 100 feet and the property must be notified for the public hearing. … Continue Reading

DEEP Bans Alcohol at Nepaug State Forest, Satan’s Kingdom Recreation Area

Submitted Release

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has banned the possession and consumption of alcohol at Nepaug State Forest and Satan’s Kingdom Recreation Area, to address public safety issues at these locations.

“I have exercised my authority to declare a ban on alcohol at Nepaug State Forest and Satan’s Kingdom from July 29, 2016 through October 26, 2016 due to numerous incidents of unruly behavior by large groups consuming alcohol – that is not a combination conducive to public safety and enjoyment of our state’s natural resources,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee.  “The ban I have issued means no alcohol at Nepaug State Forest as well as Satan’s Kingdom. Environmental Conservation Police officers from this agency will vigorously patrol the park to enforce this.” … Continue Reading


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