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Fairfield Hills: Our Place To Assemble



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Fairfield Hills:

Our Place To Assemble

To the Editor:

Saturday, August 30, I drove into the Fairfield Hills campus from Mile Hill South and found hundreds of cars neatly parked along the roads. In the distance I saw the tents set up for the first-ever Labor Day weekend flea market sponsored by the Newtown Congregational Church. I headed for Bridgeport Hall and the Friends of the Library Book Sale.

Inside, I found hundreds of eager buyers perusing the many books so generously donated by people to support the Booth Library. Excitement was in the air! A holiday spirit permeated the building. An hour later, weighted down by more volumes than I needed, I met skaters, hikers, bikers, and dogs walking their owners. Fairfield Hills has become our place to assemble, to congregate, to utilize and to enjoy.

My Saturday experience leads me to restate the goals of the Friends of Fairfield Hills for the members I know and the hundreds of citizens who share our vision.

Fairfield Hills belongs to the people of Newtown to use for their enjoyment. Our goals are to protect the open meadows, provide space for the already identified municipal needs, and to preserve the remaining space as a community resource.

These goals are in sharp contrast with the recently defeated master plan that proposed a conference center, a hotel, duplexes turned into 10,000 square feet. of retail stores, destruction of the road to the High Meadow, and removal of trees and lawns to make way for a least 1,174 parking spaces for commercial offices.

To attain our goals and to broaden the tax base in order to secure needed revenue, we believe economic development should:

1. Be concentrated on the 38-acre parcel in Commerce Park which the state is giving to Newtown for that purpose. (Refer to Councilman Joseph Borst’s letter to The Bee of August 22, 2003.)

2. Be part of a renewed effort to attract tenants for the 101,584 square feet of vacant commercial space currently available in Newtown. (Multiple Listing Service as of 8/29/03.) Unlisted, but also vacant, are properties like the Grand Union, Brick Store in Sandy Hook, and part of the Kendro building once it is vacated.

The potential uses for Fairfield Hills by community groups are unlimited. When funds are available, the town will need to provide heating systems, electrical updates, new windows, etc, for selected buildings, but we can do much of the other renovations ourselves. With the help of our many service organizations, high school students, the sports leagues, and interested individuals, Fairfield Hills can become a Municipal Center, a Central Park and more.

In closing, I want to thank all the people of Newtown for their unfailing courtesy. Everywhere the Friends have been, no matter whether you agreed or disagreed with our goals, you always greeted us kindly and invariably ended the conversation with “thank you.” Now we say to all of you, “Thanks, for being such great people.”

Ruby K. Johnson

16 Chestnut Hill Road, Sandy Hook                   September 2, 2003

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