Near the start of the Newtown Prevention Council’s first meeting of the new school year, held on Thursday, September 18, Co-Chair Judy Blanchard announced, “We’re moving ahead on some new ground, and we’re going to need everybody on board.” In January, Ms Blanchard said First Selectman Pat Llodra proposed that the Newtown Prevention Council (NPC) would have a role in the town’s resiliency efforts moving forward. “We’ve come a long way since then,” said Ms Blanchard.
A firm that wants to create a tire recycling operation in an industrial building at 40 High Bridge Road is expected to submit a revised regulatory proposal to the town, which would seek to add that type of land use to the zoning regulations. George Benson, town director of planning, said September 25 that he met with a representative of MAAK Environmental Corporation on September 24 to discuss the firm’s making some revisions to its initial regulatory proposal on tire recycling, which the company withdrew from Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) consideration following a September 18 P&Z public hearing.
Hawleyville Volunteer Fire Company #1 has purchased the vacant former Hawleyville post office and adjacent land at 30 Hawleyville Road (Route 25) from the Housatonic Railroad Company, Inc. Hawleyville Fire Chief John Basso said last week that the sale occurred on September 12. Real estate documents for the transaction do not list the sale price. But based on the amount of town conveyance tax paid in the purchase, the sale price for the building and about three-quarters of an acre was $180,000. The site is in the Hawleyville Center Design District (HCDD) zone. The fire company’s firehouse is at 34 Hawleyville Road, about 175 feet northeast of the former post office.
Crews began the demolition of Danbury Hall on the Fairfield Hills campus at approximately 10 am on Monday, September 29.
The long awaited final steps in removing the structure and opening up sight lines of the campus from Wasserman Way, officials were told, would take hours.
Initially, the Danbury Hall demolition was supposed to be part of a larger project to include razing the eight single-family former staff homes, but earlier this summer, the project funds were refocused just on Danbury. The price tag for complete abatement and removal of Danbury Hall is $511,000, according to First Selectmen Pat Llodra’s documentation.
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.