Log In

Reset Password

Subsidized Housing And Baseball Fields



Text Size

Subsidized Housing And Baseball Fields

To the Editor:

I only know what I read in the newspaper. The Fairfield Hills Authority has adopted rules for their meetings like those practiced by the Legislative Council under its present leadership. The public may speak only to items listed on the agenda. Should the chairman decide to remove an item from the agenda at the last minute, no comments are allowed on the removed item. So much for free speech, public participation in the process of government, and the public’s right to know! You may ask to place an item on the agenda (Mother, may I?) or submit your questions in writing, but any answer would go to you and not the general public.

In contrast, the Board of Selectmen places no restriction on public participation comments. They might not like what a speaker says, but they listen. That’s democracy!

If I would be allowed to ask the Fairfield Hills Authority a question during “public participation,” I would ask:

1. Should the people of Newtown subsidize housing for anyone at Fairfield Hills? Yes, there is a worldwide shortage of housing. Yes, Greenwich provides housing for less affluent workers and Stamford is planning to do so (The New York Times, September 25, 2005). The newspaper [The Bee] reported a preliminary proposal to convert the 99,936-square-foot Litchfield Hall into senior housing. Cost estimates for removal of hazardous materials at FFH have ranged from $7.5 to $13.7 million. Demolition costs depend on the extent of demolition. What the actual costs will be remain to be seen. However, without the Department of Environmental Protection approval of the environmental cleanup, the campus is unusable.

2. Why are two senior baseball diamonds the top priority for FFH?

3. Under the adopted Master Plan, the destruction of the road to the High Meadow and the maple trees along each side were to be destroyed to make room for soccer fields. The newspaper reported ten acres of treeless land are needed for the baseball fields. Apparently, the soccer teams are deferring to baseball. Is this what will happen?

3. Will the softball diamond disappear? (Oh, well, only women use it. Loss of the softball diamond could become at Title IX issue.) On the other hand, maybe the master plan is being changed because parking will be needed for occupants of condos at Litchfield Hall. I’m only wondering and asking.

Charter revision issues are obvious. Before voting for Legislative Council members in November, ask the candidates from your district their opinions on 1. subsidized housing at Fairfield Hills, 2. baseball fields as the first priority for FFH, and 3. the right of the public to express their concerns freely at all board and commission meetings.

Asking can make a difference!

Ruby K. Johnson

16 Chestnut Hill Road, Sandy Hook                         October 5, 2005

Comments are open. Be civil.

Leave a Reply