South Windsor residents sound off on rec-related concerns

By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Jul. 3, 2013

The Little League concession shack at the Larry Duprey baseball field on Ayers Road is in need of renovations and rehabilitation, which includes making the restrooms handicapped accessible. A resolution to refer these proposed renovations was placed on the agenda of the South Windsor town council's Monday, July 1 meeting. The presence of the item prompted several residents to voice concerns during public comments.

“If you're going to add money to it for renovations, you should add money for the enforcement of the current regulations that are already in effect, that aren't being enforced, that are being blatantly violated,” said Joe Candeias of Nevers Road. For example, he said there is a regulation stating that the field lighting should be dimmed by 9:15 p.m., and off by 9:30. “Last Friday, they were on until 10:45, if not 11 o'clock,” he said. “Nobody's paying attention.”

Already on the subject of  the town's recreation-related assets, Jim Morrison of Ayers Road expressed his disapproval of financing a new baseball field with a 63-20 corporation, which would bypass the need for the project to be approved at referendum. “Some people want to set up a lease-to-buy corporation, and bypass the referendum,” Morrison said. “That's not democracy when you do that.”

Turning the financing mechanism into a verb, Morrison voiced his concern that town councilors would get into the habit of “63-20ing” any project they wanted without public approval. “I know athletic fields were voted down at referendum,” he said. “I don't think it's the field, I think it's the concept. It's the wrong time to spend $3 million on athletic fields.”

Richard Grigorian of Main Street was of like mind. “I'm not against recreation fields. I'm not against anything that's going to benefit the community as a whole,” he said. “I have the best interest of South Windsor at heart.”

Like Morrison, though, he believes the 63-20 corporation is the wrong financing vehicle to bring new projects forward, and he was concerned with some councilors' willingness to use the method. “The formation of the 63-20 is wrong on so many levels,” Grigorian said. He stated that the method does not give taxpayers any say on proposed projects, avoids accountability, and avoids charter requirements.

According to the charter, he said, if the town is going to spend $2,500, the proposed project must go to referendum. If the town is going to sell land, even to the 63-20 corporation it set up, it is obligatory to hold a referendum.

He said that while athletic fields are necessary, the town will lose credibility in the eyes of banks if it bonds more than it earns via tax revenue. He said growing a grand list comparable to West Hartford and Glastonbury is a matter of growing revenue.

“It just takes time,” he said. “South Windsor is an adolescent.”

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