About a dozen South Windsor residents weighed in at the Town Council’s meeting on Monday on the proposed $10.5 million rink/recreation complex/pool project.
The results were mixed.
Several residents said the project would bring some much-needed life to The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk, as well as add to the town’s recreation options.
Rob O’Connor, the co-chair of the South Windsor Walk and Wheel Ways group, spoke in favor of the project, including the portion that would add to the town’s trail system.
“It’s not just an ice skating rink,” said O’Connor, noting that the proposal includes a pool, basketball courts and a recreation complex with offices, which would free up the Charles N. Enes Community Center to be fully dedicated to the senior center.
Craig Zimmerman said that South Windsor is the only town in the area that does not have an indoor pool. In addition, Zimmerman said that the town lacks a public, full-size gym - outside of the one at the high school that may or may not be regulation because of the short distance from the basketball baseline to the wall.
“We need a full-size gym,” Zimmerman said.
Al Larson said that the pool is a necessity, as the town’s swimming and diving teams are highly competitive and need a home venue in South Windsor.
“The 63-20 corporation is not something to be feared,” Larson said.
But other members of the public outwardly opposed the project, saying that allowing it to move forward through the use of a 63-20 corporation would short circuit the referendum process, in addition to adding to the tax burden in town.
“What in the world are we thinking?” John Mitchell asked rhetorically. “Our taxes are high enough at this point.”
Mike Sullivan, without openly opposing the project, said that the town had other priorities like school renovations.
Sullivan said that the question shouldn’t be can the town do the project or how will it be accomplished, but “why is this a priority?”
John Bassilakis said that if the compex is developed it should be done either with private funds or through a referendum.
“The 63-20 shouldn’t happen,” Bassilakis said.
Don Gonsalves was even more blunt.
“I find this absolutely unbelievable,” he said. “In my opinion [a few people] are trying to ramrod this through. I will personally get the votes for a referendum.”
No decision was made during the council’s meeting on the project, as the council is waiting for more information from Town Manager Matthew Galligan.