Submitted by Bob McGarry, First Selectman, Haddam.
I hope you’re enjoying your summer. It’s been a while since I last wrote about what’s happening in town so it’s time for an update. I’ll start with projects.
Rossi Property – The environmental analysis of the property continues. Rossi Lumber Co is remediating the areas that were identified in the Phase 2 analysis. They’re doing further investigation into the historic fill the property is built on and testing nearby wells for any sign of pollutants that may have come from the property. Our environmental consultants are monitoring their work. We have a developer who is interested in purchasing approximately two acres of the property along Saybrook Road for retail development.
Scovil Hoe – We’ve applied for a $1.8 million brownfields grant from the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). DECD is in favor of our project but before they award the grant we need to have a developer partnering with us to develop the property after it’s cleaned. We put out a notice asking interested companies to send us their qualifications and experience with brownfield projects. The responses are due September 1st. I’ve already had a developer express interest in the Scovil project.
Community Septic – We received a $128,205 grant from the Department of Public Health to fund the design of the community septic system at HES. Three engineering firms responded to our RFQ. The Board of Selectman met on 8/18 and selected Jacobson and Associates, Inc. to do the design. We’ll have a public hearing and town meeting in September to create a Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA). State law requires us to have a WPCA if we have a community septic system.
Bridge Road Sidewalks – CT DOT has approved our design for the sidewalks on Bridge Road. We’ll be putting the project out to bid shortly. Expect construction to begin next spring and be completed in the fall.
Swing Bridge Rehabilitation/Tylerville Roundabouts – These are two CT DOT projects that are currently in the final design phase. The Swing Bridge Rehabilitation construction will start spring of 2022 and take three years to complete. The roundabouts construction will start in the spring of 2023 and continue until the fall of 2024. More information on these projects can be found on our website.
Commercial Projects – There are three commercial projects that will have significant impact on the town. Two of them are multi-family housing in Tylerville. One is on Brookes Court and has been approved for 56 units. They expect to break ground for first of three buildings in September. The second apartment complex is a 40-unit development planned for 105 Bridge Road. The third project is the Hope Garden Wellness Center going into the office building at 7 Island Dock Road. The developer plans to start the $3.5 million conversion of the building this month.
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – We received the first of two annual payments under ARPA. We’ll get a total of $2.4 million. I’m waiting until the Treasury Department finalizes the guidance on how the funds can be spent before we start discussing how to best use the money. Ultimately, that discussion will include the Board of Finance and quite possibly a town meeting.
McCane Property Purchase – The voters at the July 15th special town meeting approved purchasing the McCane property next to the Higganum Cove for $21,000. The purchase furthers our efforts to preserve the cove.
Covid-19 – I’ll end with what’s happening with the pandemic. Fueled by the Delta variant, cases are rising throughout Connecticut, Middlesex County and Haddam. On July 14th there were 30 Covid patients hospitalized in Connecticut, on August 18th there were 348. In town we had a 65-day period with no new cases reported. That ended on July 19th. We’ve had 17 cases since. Please be careful and get vaccinated if you can. Nutmeg Pharmacy is still offering vaccinations and testing.
Again, have a good summer. The Haddam Neck Fair is coming up on Labor Day weekend and River Days later in September (tentatively 9/18). Get out and enjoy some of the festivities we missed last year!