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Regional Refuse District #1 Field Proposal Status

by on July 18, 2012

Proposed Area © Sharon Wilbur 2012

I met with Dan Jerram to get an overview of the Regional Refuse District proposal to create field space for football, soccer and baseball on the Refuse District’s property.  The District sees the possibility that it will have excess Capital Improvement funds that will need to be returned to the towns.

Dan reiterated the fact that in New Hartford the Selectmen are committed to resolving our field space issue by moving forward with the field improvements at Antolini School, and as far as they’re concerned, they will continue to move in that direction as it is the best direction for our town.

He did say that everyone was willing to look at the proposal, but they were having problems getting a cost estimate from the engineers as to a plan of development that is more than a conceptual proposal.  Right now there isn’t enough information to go on.

He sees several problems with the proposal by RRD#1 including the fact that the biggest member of the District, Winsted, needs no field space.   Ownership is around 50% for Winsted, 30% for New Hartford, and 20% for Barkhamsted.   If  Winsted gets 50% of any left-over funds, they will probably opt for the money.  So of the approximately $300,000 excess expected, about $150,000 would be left to New Hartford and Barkhamsted to defray the cost of any construction, if it could even go forward with Winsted holding 50% of the vote.

There is some question as to how Regional 7 would fit into the “ownership” scenario since it is not a member of RRD#1, and Colebrook and Norfolk that are part of Regional 7 are also not members of RRD#1.

Dan is also concerned about contamination.  Superfund Status is not resolved until 2016. It is not known whether field space would be allowed and if it is, the perception of danger would be a  concern to the parents of the children.   That concern is real, as was demonstrated by our daughter when she read of the proposal.

Once Selectmen started looking at the issues with RRD#1, including pollution, ownership, scheduling, charter issues and State Legislative approval requirements, it became clear that the solution was not going to be easy, and in fact would be “convoluted.”

Dan says original proposed costs of field construction on RRD#1 property ran from $600,000 to $700,000 because the parcel has a very steep slope.  That outlay didn’t include making any improvements to the overall appearance, putting the price tag possibly close to $1 million.

Photo taken standing mid-way on loop at bulky waste facility. Slope is apparent on the road. © Sharon Wilbur

Close up of tree line showing drop-off of trees beyond © Sharon Wilbur

Dan made it clear that he was not opposed to a regional solution.  If we were to be able to get all of the towns and school together and start from scratch with another piece of property, it would be much easier. But when you look at the property at RRD#1, understand the limitations as an entity, the limitations on the property and understand that it is a polluted “Superfund Site,” the proposal “doesn’t exactly lend itself to making ‘friends’ and taking on new real estate partners.”

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