Newington residents want another location for community center - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Newington residents want town to find another location for proposed community center

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NEWINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Newington residents voiced their concerns on Tuesday night regarding a proposed new community center to be placed in one of the town parks.

Many citizens who spoke at the recent City Council meeting said conserving the land has been the town's goal through past administrations, as the "2020" plan.

The $30 million proposed project includes renovating Newington Town Hall, but what is concerning to citizens is building a new community center in Mill Pond Park.

In the town's 2020 plan, the goal is to conserve open space.

"It is one of the many different types of open space shown in the 2020 plan but like I said, it's one of many different types of open space and they are lumped together in the plan," said Craig Minor, Newington's town planner.

Mill Pond Park is considered what is called "dedicated open space," which is owned by the town. The park is in the same category as the town's golf course and cemetery.

"I know people are concerned about the amount of open space that Newington has but we are pretty well served with open space. Whether this is the best use of this particular open space is an issue the voters will have to decide," Minor said.

Residents also wonder why the city doesn't renovate the current community center.

Newington Mayor Stephen Woods said renovations don't make sense. It is $8 million to build a new community center, which would be double the size of the current one.

To renovate the current community center would cost $8 million and it is half of the size of the proposed one.

Taxpayers said they still want the town to find another spot.

"Getting rid of very useable and limited green space that's left here," said Aaron Hochheiser.

Also being proposed is to turn the current outdoor pool into green space and open a new outdoor pool at the proposed new community center.

Taxpayers also said they were concerned that the proposed building would sit on wetlands, however if the building passed it would be built next to wetlands.

The town plans to send out an information brochure to residents soon. The proposed plan would go to a public vote in Newington on Sept. 9.

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