Volunteers recently made a day’s work of clearing trails, cutting fallen tree limbs, and pulling invasives from the home of one of Newtown’s most iconic views. A team of roughly 50 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints members Saturday, September 20, spent time during their annual service day working outdoors at the Nettleton Preserve off of Castle Hill Road.
The state Department of Transportation plans to select by October the firm which will make major renovations to the steel-truss span over the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River, commonly known as Silver Bridge. The bridge links Glen Road in Sandy Hook to River Road in Southbury. DOT is reviewing five bids submitted for the bridge renovation project, according to DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick. The apparent low bidder for the project is McNamee Construction Corp of Lincolndale, N.Y., which submitted a bid of $4.474 million. The four other bids ranged from $4.626 million to $5.362 million, he said. The DOT had estimated construction costs at about $5 million. Construction work is slated to start next year on about April 1, Mr Nursick said. Completion is projected for June 2016.
Danbury Hall’s days are dwindling. With big machines at rest around its perimeter, demolition could begin as soon as Monday, September 29, confirmed Christal Preszler with the Newtown Planning Department. This week, the wood was being stripped from the building, she said. Bestech is the demolition contractor. Soon, the corner of Trades Lane and Wasserman Way at the Fairfield Hills main entrance will offer a clear view of soccer fields and a waking path now blocked by the 1930s brick structure.
A new proposal for reuse that echoes Fairfield Hills’s origins has come before the authority overseeing that property. On Monday, September 22, Fairfield Hills Authority members and several town officials heard from HealthVest facility CEO Richard Kresch, MD, who discussed plans for a psychiatric hospital. He told authority members that his company acquires distressed facilities or develops new ones. He described 70,000 square foot facility that would host 100 to 125 beds. The company seeks a single story facility on four to five acres in the area of the single family house and Norwalk Hall on the Fairfield Hills campus. A letter provided to Fairfield Hills Authority this week and addressed to “Newtown’s Land Use Agency” dated in August, noted an interest for a behavioral health hospital in Newtown, and proposed one of two scenarios: buying or leasing space at Fairfield Hills.
Three box culverts have been positioned in the Aspetuck River creating the foundation for the new bridge that will carry Poverty Hollow Road across that watercourse near the Redding town line. Town Engineer Ronald Bolmer said September 24 that workers are getting ready to pave the span, as well as install guardrailing and do landscaping work nearby. Mr Bolmer said he hopes that the project is completed “within the next couple of weeks.” The bridge project was targeted for completion by August 15, but problems with receiving the correct concrete components for the work from their manufacturer resulted in construction delays. Work started on June 9.
Police report that they have arrested a second man on 45 criminal charges stemming from a recent string of 15 local burglaries, in which he and another man allegedly stole copper piping from unoccupied buildings so they could sell the metal for its scrap value. Police said that on September 18, they arrested Besmir Redzepi, 21, of Waterbury on a warrant, charging him with 15 counts of third-degree burglary, 15 counts of conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary, and 15 counts of third-degree criminal mischief. Newtown police said they arrested Redzepi on the 45 counts while he was at Danbury Superior Court in connection with other charges filed against him by Bethel police.
In an effort to provide community members a central location for details on the Sandy Hook Permanent Memorial Commission’s efforts, the panel has launched a website. Commission Chairman Kyle Lyddy said the website will allow the community to keep an eye on the commission’s progress and be able to access public documents quickly and efficiently.
Joined by lawmakers and the family of Catherine Violet Hubbard, Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday handed over the deed for approximately 34.44 acres of land in Newtown to The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation, Inc. A ceremonial bill signing facilitated the transfer of the state-owned land for the creation of an animal sanctuary and wildlife preserve. The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary will reflect her compassion for animals by providing adoptive services for companion animals, refuge for farm animals, and native wildlife rescue and release services. Additional plans for the sanctuary include walking paths, a learning center, a library, educational programs, dog community areas, and butterfly gardens.
A two-vehicle accident on Main Street early Saturday morning, September 20, closed a section of the road to through traffic for about two hours as police, fire, and environmental crews investigated the collision and worked to clean up an estimated 100-gallon diesel fuel spill caused by the crash. A 2014 Hyundai Veloster being driven north on Main Street crossed the line and crashed into a 2014 International tractor-trailer truck, and punctured the truck's external fuel tank. Hook & Ladder firefighters responded to the accident, as did a DEEP spill inspector. About ten hours later, emergency crews were reactivated after some West Street residents smelled diesel fuel, which was then found floating on the surface of a stream that passes through their neighborhood.
The annual tradition of The Newtown Bee hosting a forum for residents to meet and learn about candidates on the November ballot continues this year with a planned forum featuring six legislative contenders. The event is set for Tuesday, October 21, at Edmond Town Hall, with a meet and greet session in the lobby at 7 pm, and the forum running from 7:30 to 9 pm. Readers are invited submit questions for the candidates, which will be considered for the forum.