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Voters Defeat Plan To Sell Bridge Street School Property

Results of the Thursday night Suffield Town Meeting vote on three issues are in. Look for an extended story Friday.

A plan to sell the Bridge Street School property for $975,000 to developer Lexington Partners LLC for apartments and renovation of the school failed 321 to 134 votes in one of the largest town meeting turnouts in recent history.

Voters approved a grant request for $500,000 to redesign Ffyler Place roadway into a Town Center District road, and also approved the PA 490 Open Space Classification.

Andy K September 28, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Community has (once again) overwhelmingly expressed their desire to maintain Suffield's interest of not welcoming higher impact development. I suggest a proposal to either demolish the building & build a nice passive recreational park, or a proposal to use the existing property for a new community pool! Residents have made it clear that Suffield is not interested in economic vibrancy for the Town Center. And that is OK.
Scott S September 28, 2012 at 05:10 PM
$1500/month for a 2 bedroom apartment? Who do they think will pay that? Suffield is not Hartford. It would just be an empty apartment complex just like the empty elderly housing down the street. Turn the land into retail space or build a YMCA.
Mike September 28, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Thank you Suffield for doing what is in the best interest of our town. This is not Manchester or Enfield. We don't need 3 story apartment complexes on a very valuable piece of land in the town center that will go unoccupied and increase traffic.
Sami Mehmed Jr September 28, 2012 at 06:24 PM
The town meeting approved applying for the $50,000 state grant for Flyer place. Guess Flyer place development is low impact development and demonstrates no interest in economic vibrancy. Sure, fee money! The NO victory will prolong the life of a decaying building. In turn the Bridge Street School issue will continue for years, and increase the tax burden based on future board decisions. Not to mention using time and resources. Finally, town officials placed all their ducks in order, crossed the T's and dotted the I's, executed on the previous administrations plan directed by the town at a town meeting and the message sent by this town meeting is/was, elected officials continue spinning your wheels on Bridge Street School until a proposal satisfies everyone in town or some alternative compromise can be pushed to approval at a "town meeting". Congratulation to the NO voters. Please continue to enjoy the view of this historic building which the town does not need to support town activity. Maybe, Mr Malloy can use the building as a tourist attraction located on prime Suffield property.
Andy K September 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Sami. You are correct. The $50,000 study will likely recommend a beautiful mixed use development perfectly suited for economic growth. Most people will believe this true. However, if subject to a Town meeting, the project will very likely fall. Somebody else deserves the grant. The majority of residents wish that the Town not grow, for good reasons or not. After last night's vote, this now should be clear. It was mentioned last night that all the members on the Board of Selectmen support the Bridge Street School 65-unit apartment proposal. Voters completely disagreed. Did town officials misinterpret their directions from the previous Town meeting? How can this be? Did they dot their Ts while not looking at the big picture?
Chuck Housner September 28, 2012 at 07:29 PM
I think this development would be much better suited for the Ffyler Place. Perhaps the developer could be convinced to build his project there where there is less population density. Bridge Street already has a fairly dense population with Maple Court, Broder Place, Park Place and Brandywine Village. Just a thought.
Sami Mehmed Jr September 28, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Andy, no town officials did not misinterpret their directions from the previous town meeting and voting. Don't you give the previous admininstration and current BOS any credit. Silence was last nights participant(s) choose last time. This time, it appears the majority of those that turned out stated, "not in my back yard". Maybe Chuck has a good suggestion. May I ask, how does a resident address town growth? This project had minimum, almost zero, impact on the school system and other town services. The proposed appearance was very nice. Traffic was going to be addressed at a later date by the appropriate board. Regardless, lets deny others the right to live in this wonderful town unless they purchase a $350,000 plus home. Lets provide land owners with open space incentives to avoid growth, for ten years plus, of any kind .. anyplace in Suffield. Lets just continue buyering development rights to avoid growth and provide land owners with a retirement package. Lets avoid ways to raise funds in order to control the furture tax burden. I agree, some other town deserves the grant because it appears Suffield will spend the money without producing worthwhile results using our state tax dollars. Lets eliminate the town planner job. No growth, no planning required, no resources required. No developer will want to adventure into Suffield based on this outcome and past NO growth outcomes. Only builders of very expensive homes. Good for all of us! End of story.
Tom September 29, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Sam and Andy first you need to get your numbers correct and the grant was for 500,000 not 50,000 and it has a specific purpose and not just for it to decide what is best. Get your facts straight. If you both have such a problem with the town meeting form of government and with the town not rushing out to build on every open piece of property then maybe the town is not for you. Tom
Ray Pioggia September 29, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Sami, Your comment about the Governor is misplaced here because this is not in the least a partisan issue. With respect to your opinions, I urge you and others to visit and read the website: www.bridgestreetschool.com You will then have some straight facts and information with which you can enhance your understanding of the topic. In particular, to answer your insinuation of the building's uselessness, read the pages "Press • Official Reports." You can learn how your tax dollars were wasted, along with three years time and effort by volunteer Bi-partisan Suffield residents who outlined a perfectly viable plan to re-purpose the building. It's a tragedy this was ignored when construction and materials prices were at an all time low. Ray P.

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