Slow Progress

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Do you recall the October 2015 Town referendum vote to approve bonding for (1) road and drainage improvements, (2) renovations and improvements to Suffield Town Hall and (3) renovations and improvements to Bridge Street School for conversion to a town community recreation center?

All three questions on the ballot passed, with the greatest margin of victory going to the road and drainage improvements. This project has started. The other two have not.  I ponder as to why something that was voted on in a Town referendum vote some 19 months ago seems to have taken the slow road (pardon the pun!) to fruition. From what I gather, our first selectman has deemed the Town Hall project as presented to the voters is not adequate for the current needs.  Our past first selectman shared with me that he spent four years planning for the Town Hall renovation, and extensive time was spent with the Permanent Building Commission on the needs for the Town Hall.  I’m sure I’m not the only one extremely disappointed that the funds we approved do not meet the needs of our Town offices based on recommendations from our current administration.

As for the Bridge Street School Community Center Project (BSCC), I know that a very extensive plan was put together and presented to townspeople. While this vote passed by a slim majority, it did pass. To date, after about 9 months of discussion about the Request For Proposal (RFP) for a construction manager at risk and architect has still not been sent out.

Being one of the editors this month, I was able to ask our first selectman to comment on these two projects in her monthly report after the Town Hall project and BSCC came up at our monthly editorial board meeting. Patience is something I pray for all the time so when I read her report (after I had submitted my editorial) I got a kick out of the fact that she thanked townspeople for their patience. Thank you, Melissa, for addressing these two projects in this month’s First Selectman’s Update.  Being a public servant is not an easy job.  I recall serving on the board of education and being mandated by the state to do certain things that I may or may not have agreed with.  Isn’t a Town referendum vote a mandate in its own definition?

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