Thank you everyone for packing the Common Council meeting on March 4th. Thanks for sending letters to the council. The overwhelming support and information helped the Council to better understand our proposal and show how much you care for our community. Here are some highlights and explanations of what happened and our next steps.
From Executive Director Ethel Higgins:
“Thank you all for coming out last night to support SVDM at the Common Council! It was a great opportunity to share the great work we do with the community and common council. This journey has been interesting with real stories from real people with strong passion on both sides.
I am looking forward to meeting with the community to hear from them and address concerns so we can work together.
Everyone has a voice. Let’s begin!”
From Ron Krom, General Contractor for 51 Green Street Project
“Wow! What a night last evening. It was amazing to see so many people come out and support the work of St. Vincent de Paul Middletown and our move to 51 Green St. All of you who spoke did an incredible job of capturing what we do every day – the working of caring and meeting needs and offering hope to so many people. More importantly, our message spoke to the spirit of why we do this work. Rarely do we get a chance to tell our story in public venues – last night we had four hours to give testimony that was moving and compelling.
So, for those of you who couldn’t make it, or perhaps left before midnight, here’s what happened . . .
The resolution to support the sale of 51 Green St. by the City to SVDM was amended to a lease agreement instead of a sale. The City proposed to retain ownership, but lease the facility to SVDM for $1 per year, for a period of 10 years, automatically renewable. They also recommend that we be open to working with the neighborhood and other community groups to ensure maximum use of the facility, including programs for families and youth. Once this amendment was approved, that paved the way for unanimous support for the resolution.
However, because the resolution was amended, CT statute requires that it go back to the Planning & Zoning Commission to revisit the CSG 8-24 decision regarding this transaction. Last week P&Z voted 6-1 against our proposal. We will do a better job of getting them the information they need to demonstrate that this lease agreement is in compliance with the City’s Plan of Conservation and Development. A favorable decision by P&Z this time would mean that we can move forward to finalize the lease agreement with the City and begin planning for the renovation of 51 Green St. If P&Z does not support the amended resolution, we will need to return to the Common Council for another vote, where a 2/3s majority in favor of the resolution would override the P&Z decision. (Since we received unanimous support last night, we think it is very likely that we have the votes to win this.)
This has been an incredible journey, and while it continues, we’re feeling optimistic and excited. I’m happy that so many of you have chosen to accompany us along the way. We may need just a bit more public support over the next month – I’ll keep you posted as soon as I know more.
Thank you so much!