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Canton Residents Continue Debate on Public Works Proposal

October 27, 2016 Government, Referendum No Comments

Photo by John Fitts

Referendum set for Nov. 8

By John Fitts

In a precursor to the Nov. 8 referendum, more than 100 residents came out Wednesday to learn more or voice their opinion on the town’s plan to erect a new 14,100 square-foot, $3.825 million public works facility on the existing site at 50 Old River Road.

The plan is to build a facility to house the town’s equipment, complete with a wash bay, portable lift and crane, generator, office area and public restrooms. The conceptual plan also calls for a new salt shed, a revamped fueling station, floodplain mitigation on the existing softball field and additional parking. The facility would replace the approximate 600-square foot existing building although the plan is to keep the old horse barn portion for public storage of some kind.

The town would pay for the facility though a 20-year bond. In 2017-2018, the town would pay $319,313. The impact for the project that year would be .3 mills. The “average” taxpayer, with an assessed home of $238,832, would pay $68.61 for the project in 2017-2018. From there, the payments would drop.

The Special Town Meeting was held to give residents a chance to hear more about the plan, offer comments and ask questions. No vote was taken and it adjourned to the Nov. 8 referendum, slated for 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Canton High School. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Building Town Garage in Flood Plain is Financially Short-Sighted

October 27, 2016 Government, Opinion, Referendum 1 Comment

To the Editor:

I urge Canton residents to vote NO on the referendum Nov. 8 asking that the town spend $3.8 million to build a new town garage in a flood plain beside the Farmington River.

From a strictly financial standpoint, constructing a new building in a known flood plain is short-sighted and unwise. Why would a town build in an area that floods and is projected to flood more in the future? The plans call for digging up soil from the neighboring ball field to create one-foot mounds on which to build the buildings, but the entire site and the access roads, including the fuel tanks that supply town vehicles, will still be in a flood plain. The DPW director has said that town crews will move the vehicles to a temporary location before storms hit to keep them safe. Why would we build a new building knowing this type of measure would be necessary? … Continue Reading

To the Editor: Right Project, Right Price, Right Location

To the Editor:

I advocate rebuilding the Town of Canton highway garage in its existing location. I believe this is the right project at the right price in the right location.

This project has been under consideration and refined for eight years. It has been voted on at least three times and defeated as too expensive. My father, when he was on the Board of Finance eight years ago, said the Town needed a new garage, but he complained about the cost back then. By revising the project size and re-using the existing site, the cost has be reduced $900,000 from the last proposal. This is about a 20 percent reduction. So, we have the right project and the right price. … Continue Reading

Document: Town’s Presentation on Public Works Facility Proposal

October 26, 2016 Government, Referendum No Comments

Below is the presentation Canton town officials gave during a special town meeting on Wednesday night. After the slideshow, many residents offered their opinions of the proposal for a $3.825 million public works facility at the current site near the Farmington River. Canton Compass will post a follow-up story with some of those comments. The document is also available at https://www.scribd.com/document/329052129/Final-50-Old-River-Road-Proposal-2016


Letter to the Editor: Protect the River and Look to Route 44 Site

Letter to the Editor:

There are two issues which Canton residents have agreed on for many years.

The first, as shown by a town wide survey done in 2006 as part of the update to the Town Plan of Conservation and Development, is that the Farmington River is Canton’s most significant natural resource. In addition to being the major recreational asset it along with the bike trail is the chief economic driver for the Collinsville area. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Restoring Collinsville’s Riverfront

To the Editor:

Last week I sent a letter that documented the fact that only one member of the public was cited in the Upper Collinsville Mill Pond Master Plan as asking for the DPW Garage to be moved. It was part of comment #53 by an anonymous Survey Monkey participant who listed an abundance of creative ideas to improve recreation in the area.

This week—in the spirit of #53– I follow up with an innovative concept to restore some of Collinsville’s riverfront and make life more wonderful for active people in Collinsville.

… Continue Reading

Reminder: Special Town Meeting on Public Works Facility is Wednesday Night (Oct. 26, 2016)

October 25, 2016 Government, Referendum No Comments

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-10-01-amBy John Fitts

The town will hold a special town meeting Wednesday night to let people share their opinions on the proposal for a new $3.825 million public works facility at the current site.

The town is looking to bond the funds 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.

The proposal to rebuild the facility at its current site, 50 Old River Road, was first presented in January of 2016 and has been a controversial one. Two political action committees have formed around the issue and it’s been a heated discussion in town. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Canton Garage Proposal Is Shortsighted

To the Editor,
I am writing to tell you why I am voting no on the referendum for the new town garage. I think that I agree with most residents that we must address this vital need, but i am very concerned that the plan proposed will not meet the long term needs of the town.
In full disclosure, I am not a member of the “Not on our river”organization, nor have I spoken to any of their members in any detail. Ihave voted yes on all three of the previous garage referendums. I voted for the first one  (Cherry Brook Rd.) with some trepidation about the price, but I strongly supported the two votes on the Commerce Drive location. I felt that they were right sized and priced appropriately.

… Continue Reading

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

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. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Current Proposal is a Lose/Lose Proposition

To the Editor:

Our town needs a new garage.  The current proposal puts price ahead of value and is a lose / lose proposition with an inferior building, and a poor land use that forgoes a major opportunity to improve the town.  The cost savings of $900,000 do not offset the shortcomings.

At 14,200 sq.ft. this garage is 25% smaller than it was in 2014 (18,900 sq.ft.), which only saves 20% ($3.8 vs. $4.7million).  The original space assessment recommended a 25,000 sq. ft. building.  The river site does not permit the building to be expanded, so for the next 40 years the town will operate out of a facility that is 55% of the size recommended.  The town has presented a “storage area” graphic showing all the vehicles stacked three to six deep without snow plows and sanders.  Getting the vehicles in the garage as shown will take time, planning and careful maneuvering.  Getting them out will be more difficult.  The Barkhamsted garage and the previous Canton garage designs have doors on both sides which makes those buildings more efficient to use.  Site constraints make this configuration impossible.  … Continue Reading


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