By Robert McGarry, Haddam First Selectman
(June 30, 2022) —- There is a lot going on in town. I want to take this opportunity to update you. I’m going to do it by area of town. This article focuses on Higganum Center. I’ll cover other areas and projects in another article.
- Haddam Elementary School –
- We’ve leased use of the gym, one classroom and adjacent outside space to HomeField, LLC out of Centerbrook, a youth sports company. They’ll be using the facility on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The lease runs for one year at $2,000/month. We have the right to terminate the lease with three months’ notice in the event we sell or lease the entire building.
- Along that line, we had another group that educates special needs children express an interest in HES. They toured the facility earlier this month. We’re waiting to hear back from them.
- The Higganum Farmers Market kicked off its 2022 season on June 3rd. The market is open on Friday afternoon from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- We’re applying for a grant from the state to build a multi-generational park at HES to replace the existing and unsafe playground. A multi-generational park is more than just a playground or playscape for children. It provides activities for people of all ages and abilities. The grant request includes building a sidewalk from the school to Higganum Center. We’re also seeking funding for a generator with the thought of using HES as an emergency shelter, cooling center, cold storage area for the food pantry and possibly a future senior and community center.
- Rossi Property – We recently received the final environmental assessment and estimate of remediation costs from our consultants. We sent a copy to Rossi Lumber Company and will be meeting with them to discuss moving forward.
- Scovil Hoe Buildings (DOT Garage) – At the May town meeting voters unanimously approved purchasing the Scovil Hoe buildings, accepting the state grant for environmental remediation and the ultimate transfer to a developer, at which point the property becomes taxable. The developer will renovate and rent out the space. Subsequent to that meeting, I signed the purchase agreement with the state Department of Transportation, which is now going through the final review process by the state and the sales agreement with Parker Benjamin, the developer. I’m waiting for the final paperwork for the clean-up grant. I’m excited about this project. It will have a significant positive impact on revitalizing Higganum Center.
- Higganum Cove – I’m very impressed with the work the Higganum Cove Advisory Committee is doing to oversee the preservation and improvement of this historic and environmental site. We hired Kent & Frost to help develop a master plan to make the cove an attractive town park for passive recreation and educational activities. Already there’s a welcome/information sign at the cove and benches overlooking the foundations of one of Higganum’s earliest mills.