Editor’s Note: This is a copy of an open letter that was sent to First Selectman Melissa Mack.
Dear Ms. Mack,
The dust is settled now on your failed proposal to move the Town Highway Garage and “develop” Ffyler Place. You are quoted in the JI (Jan.29) as saying that “… it appears that Suffield residents believe the highway garage should stay where it is – and aren’t interested in economic development.”
We think you are misreading the vote and not giving voters due credit. The 3 to 1 defeat appears instead to be because the proposed South Street site is a poor building in a bad location; because the whole proposal was very complex with too many unknowns; and because only two people spoke in its favor, the First Selectman and the project’s salesman. Without any supporting spokespersons for the Board of Finance, Economic Development Commission, Permanent Building Commission, Planning and Zoning, etc., voters were unconvinced.
My friends in the vote “No” group wrote publicly that “we are not opposed to developing Ffyler Place.” That remains true. We look forward to working with you and other Town leaders toward that goal.
But timing is important. Moving the highway garage cannot be a current priority. Two major challenges need to be concluded. First – resolution of the Bridge Street School situation, and second, finishing the Town Hall renovations. Both present financial and Town staff time challenges. Perhaps those two projects could combine neatly by building a new one-story Town Hall on the Bridge Street property or buying the Windsor Marketing building to combine Town Hall, highway garage and community center there.
Please let us know if and how we can help.