After more than an hour of presentations and discussion during a public hearing held Monday regarding recommendations of the Emergency Services Facilities Committee, [Durham CT] First Selectman James McLaughlin is aware of rumors of eminent domain issues regarding the suggested secondary access for the proposed new emergency services facility.
McLaughlin says it is unfortunate that so much misinformation has been circulated.
"An anonymous person or persons mailed some pretty scary stuff [to the Main Street and Cherry Lane residents]. The content of the mailing was pure fiction with no basis in truth," McLaughlin said.
The mailing included a map with roads running through the yards of residents and a flyer with threats of eminent domain. "Neither of which were ever suggested by the committee or me," clarified McLaughlin.
Also of concern were traffic issues along Main Street, should the secondary access be approved.
McLaughlin said the suggestion is to consider this addition, and part of that consideration would be to see how the traffic situation on Main Street can be improved.
"Main Street will always be there," McLaughlin said. "Making it work better is something we can do now."
Regarding a "live-burn" training facility, McLaughlin says he would consider an area "deemed appropriate" if it were located where it could be effectively used and would not affect the quality of life of any nearby residents.
McLaughlin says he was pleased with the committee's presentation and feels the committee did an excellent job of assessing the needs of the emergency services.
The proposed cost estimate of a new Emergency Services Facility is $3,280,000.
McLaughlin says the cost is comparable to what the town would spend every year, if the volunteer firefighter and ambulance services were lost.
"Combined and improved facilities will save us a lot of money, and help recruit new enthusiastic volunteers," McLaughlin said.
"I hope that we can resolve and move past the issues of concern and begin the job of upgrading our emergency facilities that are centrally located in Durham. Many of the same inadequacies identified in this report existed back in 1999 when the last study was done. It is time we acted."
Middletown CT Press: http://www.middletownpress.com