Taxpayers frustrated with New Haven Courthouse renovation project
By WFSB Staff
NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -
Some Connecticut taxpayers are upset of the costs associated with the scaffolding at the New Haven Courthouse and why they have been paying for the project for more than a decade.
The scaffolding was erected more than 10 years ago as part of a safety measure at the courthouse, which was built in 1914.
"It's an eyesore, considering you're right across from the (New Haven) Green," said one of the court's longest serving bail bondsman, Steve Tracey.
The scaffolding and netting are designed to catch pieces of falling debris, some as large as tennis balls, and prevent them from crashing down on the sidewalk where people are walking.
In one instance, a judge was hit by a piece of concrete on the Church Street side of the building.
"It looks disgusting. They should take it down and fix it," said David Lopez of New Haven and later added. "I'm surprised after that they didn't fix it."
Years later, the repairs were still not completed. However, the costs have continued to mount because of all the delays.
In October 2002, scaffolding was put up on the Church Street side of the building, which cost $15,000, along with a rental fee of $1,000 a month for a total of $136,000 to Connecticut taxpayers.
In May 2005, scaffolding was put up on the Elm Street side of the building, which cost $75,000, along with a daily rental fee of $29 for a total of $86,319 to Connecticut taxpayers.
In total, the scaffolding has cost $222,319, which is paid by Connecticut taxpayers.
"It's not a good story, but in the interim it what was needed to be done to protect the public from falling debris," said Connecticut Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Donald DeFronzo.
The delays are being blamed on the bidding process, which took five to six years to complete, according to state officials. A red tail hawk, which is a fairly rare species, was nesting in the eves of the building as well, DeFronzo said.
By not removing the nest, it caused two years of delays.
"That contractor would not then hold his bid and required a rebidding and that rebidding didn't happen until spring of 2011," DeFronzo said.
The project is set to begin again with phase one of the project being upgrades to the outside of the building, which includes repairs to the grand stairway at the front entrance. The project is expected to cost about $4 million.
Some people are frustrated with the costs associated with project.
"Look, it's always, it's always upsetting. I was a member of the legislature, a mayor and I paid my taxes," DeFronzo said. "Anytime any state expense has to be made when we could have maybe done it a little differently or a little quicker. It's frustrating. I understand that."
The project for the New Haven Courthouse is expected to be completed in 2014, which is the 100th anniversary of the building.
"I think when 2014 rolls around you will see a much different building, certainly the scaffolding and netting will be down," DeFronzo said. "A much more attractive building."
Copyright 2012 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:23 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:23:30 GMT
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her. Jayden Sink raised nearly $200 on Friday while she sold lemonadeMore >
A 5-year-old girl set up a lemonade stand across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound, and now the group is targeting her.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 8:33 PM EDT2013-06-19 00:33:34 GMT
Crews from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they have been called to Bridgewater to investigate reports that a body has been found in the water.The search is being conductedMore >
Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Environmental Conservation Police said they are responding to reports that a body was found in Lake Lillinonah in Bridgewater late Tuesday morning.More >
A heartbreaking photograph is making its rounds on the Internet that shows a child in a wheelchair that has been separated fro the rest of his classmates in a class photo.According to The Province, motherMore >
A heartbreaking photograph is making its rounds on the internet that shows a child in a wheelchair that has been separated from the rest of his classmates in a class photo.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:14 AM EDT2013-06-18 14:14:08 GMT
A Westbrook man was arrested Monday evening after attempting to get people to provide him with an alcohol-free breath sample to bypass his vehicle Ignition Interlock Device. Clinton police said 67-year-oldMore >
A Westbrook man was arrested Monday evening after attempting to get people to provide him with an alcohol-free breath sample to bypass his vehicle Ignition Interlock Device.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 2:53 PM EDT2013-06-18 18:53:17 GMT
A bank teller accused of stealing from the CD accounts of mostly elderly customers has pleaded guilty to bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say 35-year-old Michelle Laudato of Farmington pleaded guilty TuesdayMore >
A bank teller accused of stealing from the CD accounts of mostly elderly customers has pleaded guilty to bank fraud.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 7:22 AM EDT2013-06-18 11:22:43 GMT
A Greenwich middle school teacher accused of threatening to "shoot up" the school has been ordered by a judge to undergo mental health counseling and to stay away from the building. Forty-six-year-oldMore >
A Greenwich middle school teacher accused of threatening to "shoot up" the school has been ordered by a judge to undergo mental health counseling and to stay away from the building.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 10:54 AM EDT2013-06-18 14:54:02 GMT
Police say a man charged with murdering a Connecticut college student threatened to kill her after she tried to break off their relationship shortly before she disappeared in April. Arrest and searchMore >
A Connecticut man charged with murdering his college student girlfriend and dismembering her body had threatened to kill her after she tried to break up with him, according to newly released arrest and search warrant affidavits.More >
Monday, June 17 2013 9:59 PM EDT2013-06-18 01:59:19 GMT
LYNCHBURG, VA (RNN) – Kimberly Burke is used to capturing emotion. As a wedding photographer, she has an eye for tender moments, like the photo she snapped of a Marine and his bride praying that has goneMore >
A quiet moment captured before a couple wed has brought collective "awws" by millions on the internet.More >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 5:41 PM EDT2013-06-18 21:41:16 GMT
Happy Saturday, Rain is on its way – as expected – but it will not hamper the entire weekend. Early this morning, there will be low clouds, fog and drizzle in many parts of Connecticut. This will haveMore >
Tuesday, June 18 2013 4:25 PM EDT2013-06-18 20:25:37 GMT
Connecticut State Police said they were assisting Winsted police in investigating a standoff Tuesday morning.The incident was reported in town before 10 a.m.It's unknown what led to the standoff.PoliceMore >
Connecticut State Police said they were assisting Winsted police investigating a suspicious incident in Winchester Tuesday morning.More >