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[Updated] South Windsor Voters Pass Two of Five Referendum Questions

School renovations and road improvements - totaling $9.79 million - pass, while town buildings, recreation and IT questions fail.

South Windsor voters approved two of the five capital improvements referendum questions on Tuesday.

The two projects - the school and road improvements questions - total $9.79 million.

The two questions that passed are the following:

  • Question 1 will cost $5.79 million for school renovations, improvements and educational technology, including roof replacements at the high school (partial), Orchard Hill and Pleasant Valley elementary school (approx. $3.2 million); $195,000 to replace lockers in the high school gym; $78,720 to resurface the high school track; $1.35 million for computer equipment; $650,000 to repave the high school parking lot phase 2 of 5; replace the floor at Pleasant Valley kitchen ($52,500) and the serving line at Timothy Edwards School ($74,420).
  • Question 3 will cost $4 million for paving and drainage improvements on six connector or arterial roads and neighborhood roads as well. $3 million would be set aside for the six connector roads and another $980,000 would go to neighborhood roads.

Question 1 passed by a total of 8,094 in favor to 4,650 against; Question 3 passed 7,029 to 5,568 against.

The three questions that failed to pass are the following:

  • Question 2, which would have cost $1.27 million for renovations and improvements to town buildings, including $235,000 for community center boilers and heat pumps; $400,000 for police department oil/gas storage tank, generator, HVAC pumps and cooling tower; $75,000 for a community center generator; $220,000 for a generator at the high school shelter; $255,000 for town replacement of boilers, including gas mains, ADA improvements.
  • Question 4 would have included $1.62 million for improvements to the town’s information technology systems, including the following: $555,000 for computers and equipment; $575,000 for network upgrades; $475,000 for GIS/database conversion and upgrade.
  • Question 5 would have included $1.02 million for improvements to the park system, including the possible construction of a playground at Veterans Memorial Pool, as well as expansion of the bike path network and improvements to the irrigation systems and restrooms.

Question 2 failed to pass by a total of 5,447 for to 7,205 against.

Question 4 failed to pass by a total of 6,026 in favor to 6,587 against.

Question 5 failed to pass by a total of 5,941 in favor to 6,729 against.

"I'm disappointed they all didn't pass, but I'm thankful that the residents passed two of them," Town Councilor Jan Snyder, who spearheaded the capital improvements project referendum questions, said. "I am looking forward to moving ahead with the capital improvement program, which includes a 5-year plan. The passing of these two questions puts us on the right path to achieving that goal."

Mayor Tom Delnicki said that he believed that the proposed combination community center/ice rink project that was recently brought before the Town Council may have had a chilling effect on at least the recreation referendum.

"I know some people who said that they voted against all the referendum questions because of it," Delnicki said.

Still, Delnicki said that he was pleased that the roads and schools questions passed.

"We need to have roads repaired and we need those school roofs replaced," Delnicki said.

[This article was updated to reflect the addition of absentee ballots]

Louise November 07, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Everything above that has been said supporting the rink and new community center is right on target Everyone comes out a winner, families with children right thru to the seniors who have 720 sq feet at the existing center. It is an excellent addition to benefits of moving and living in Sputh Windsor. A few weeks ago I sent a letter to Ted regarding the inequity of the sewer tax and received no acknowledgement. I had to ask another TC member to intervene. Ted responded with more lip service. Bottom line, time for a change in members on the TC.
Kathy G November 07, 2012 at 10:38 PM
This new community center is exactly what our town needs! If these people that the mayor mentioned truly did vote no on any referendum question because of the proposed center, then clearly they did not read any information pertaining to how it would be funded. We need to all come together and support this since it benefits everyone in our community in a positive way.
Jeff November 07, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Sometimes there is a huge cost to NOT do something. I feel this would be the case if the town misses the boat on the oppurtunity for the ice rink/community center. I don't think this will be the first boat the town has missed unfortunately and hope they think better of it. As far as people being voting against the referendum questions that seems way off the mark and somewhat comical.
John Dawson November 07, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Tom your known as the funny guy, with clown hair, and insane Christmas Lights. Don't you want to be known for some mayoral qualities. You have chance to do something special, that will last generations, to unify, but you have been closed minded from the start. You and Doc Anwar have been in the same wrong page, maybe you can start a smoke shop together. I think you will end up with more free time, next year, if you don't change your ways. How about you start listening! Find answers-don't be part of the problem.
Tatyana Makarov November 08, 2012 at 12:24 AM
I am so disappointed that Evergreen Walk Recreation/Hockey Rink/Aquatic Center Proposal didn't pass... I can't believe that some people don't see the benefits to all of us from adding such a great facility to our town. We all have children/grandchildren. What A GREAT opportunity missed!!! Tatyana M.
Diana November 08, 2012 at 12:36 AM
You don't mean Ted? Ted is Awesome Patch Editor Dude. :)
Lennore November 08, 2012 at 12:47 AM
When i moved to sw in 1988 buckland road was not what it is today, the town pool was a pond not what it is today, the stop and shop plaza also not what it is today, the teen ctr also not what it is today, all these changes have bettered our town and the community life in sw, and with bettering all these items it makes us become more aware of additional things that will benefit our community even more, also why do so many other towns come to our pool because its one of the nicest around - by approving the new community center, rink, indoor swimming pool our town is again growing our community better than it is now so let's make more positive additions for our sw community!
Cary Prague November 08, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Tatyana - There was no question on the ballott about the proposed Evergreen Walk complex It will take several months to vet that and create a real proposal that can be eventually done or voted on..
Elissa November 08, 2012 at 01:07 AM
The new Community Center is a great idea! Just about every age group in this town will be able to have something to do recreationally,swimming, hiking,skating,basketball and new classrooms for the preschoolers. The seniors will have more room to run more activities and clubs. This town has a great reputation for schools and community. Why not add this center so we can bring the community even closer than before?
Alma November 08, 2012 at 01:24 AM
The proposal at Evergreen Walk had nothing to do with the residents/voters of South Windsor approving the upgrades to the current recreation facilities in town. It is such a shame that this is the way Mayor Delnicki is interperating things. Personally, my youngest son is 2 years old, our family would love the opportunity to grow and support South Windsor and our healthy sporting activities.
John Dawson November 08, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Well said Ellissa and Lenore!! Cary-You have been the Mayor, a champion in regards to the Rec Center, Families, Seniors, Businesses! Can we count on you to unite the town, and be part if something special?!! Please tell us you are in support of this project. We need more leaders like you!
Richard Scola November 08, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Dear Mayor Delnicki, I write to you and all that may read these comments regarding the new Community Center. South Windsor became my home approximately 5 years ago. We were not limited financially as to where we could live and chose this great community for the opportunities in education, recreation, safety and the proximity of TARGET. Since my involvement with the South Windsor Youth Hockey Association 5 years ago, I have seen a dramatic change in the organizations leadership and approach to preparing our children in competitive sport as well as competitive life. My children played in a different organization the last two years and despite my excitement to be back with the Knights, it didn't take long to be reminded of how deplorable the facility conditions are at the South Windsor Arena. When my wife and I looked at the pros and cons of South Windsor, the one concern was the lack of a town center atmosphere similar to West Hartford. Like most choices, we had to weigh out these differences and make an educated decision that was best for our children. We are happy with our decision but find ourselves visiting Blue Back Square on a regular basis for dinner and other festivities. When making your final decision, please look at the pros and cons carefully and consider the future image of South Windsor. Let's make a great place to live and raise a family even better. Kind Regards
Craig Zimmerman November 08, 2012 at 03:09 AM
With all due respect, I need to disagree with some of the people who have commented on the results of our "Reasonable Recreation" Referendum Question #5. Without commenting on the new Community Center and Fields Proposals, which will be decided upon in the future (both of which I support with some reservations), some people voting yesterday may very well have been confused on what was included in the referendum project. We may have gained some votes from people who support new fields and incorrectly thought that they were included and we also could have lost votes if some people not in favor of either turf fields or a new hockey rink again incorrectly thought were included. As a member of the Park & Recreation Commission and a 30+ year supporter of recreation in town I understand what the plan included (trails, playground, irrigation, etc...), but if only a few hundred people did not fully understand than it could very well have effected the final 53-47% results. It would be nice if all these recreation projects could be fully vetted by one group, like the Parks & Recreation Commission, priorities set, and then be brought forward in a more organized time frame. THANKS.
John Dawson November 08, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Rec Department already voted "YES", and already announced their decision at the last Town Council Meeting. There is a small window of opportunity here. How could the Town Council vote No. Yes is the only thing that makes sense. Vote Yes, and let's get started with the project.
Kevin McCann November 08, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Yes, Craig, in a perfect world that would be nice. In a perfect world, however, it would not take government 15 years to get any improvements done. We do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world where we have to recognize and act on opportunities when they arise. This opportunity was dropped unexpectedly in our lap. We need to act on it for what it is, not send it to a committee for study and delay.
Diana November 08, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Craig, I see your well-reasoned point. And, based on comments here, at least a couple people seem confused about what the questions were and what they actually included. The fact is that over 800 people didn't even vote on Questions 2-5 (slightly lower for Q1 Schools). Is that apathy or lack of knowledge? The voters really need to become educated about what's on the ballot. It's unfortunate if you vote yes or no based on what you *think* a question is about but it is even worse to vote no for 5 questions because you are against a certain project (which is not even on the ballot). The bottom line is that the mayor has been bashing the Community Center project since it was introduced. I only wish he would keep an open mind and participate in discussions before making a decision and voicing his opinion so negatively in public. We must trust our Town Councilors to evaluate all the pros and cons for the Town and vote based on facts and experience. The new Community Center appears to be a perfect fit for the original concept of Evergreen Walk and also for the South Windsor community. It could improve our town and make it more attractive on multiple levels.
Brendan Callahan November 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Next year, when I walk into the newly constructed Rec Center lobby, I want to see the placard with the names of this town council and town manager who will have set themselves apart from past councils by approving the construction of this center. The town council should be guided by our town manager (an extremely smart person whom we are lucky to employ) as he has the experience and knowledge and knows we will never get a deal any near as good as this project. Delnicki was quoted as saying "I see Evergreen Walk as the big winner of this project" Delnicki, do you want evergreen walk to fail? The council and town manager should follow up this project and urge the deveopler to get housing in there next. Boy I miss Highland Park Market!
keith yagaloff November 08, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Personally, I am waiting for the detailed data for the community center/hockey project. The town council has gotten one preliminary set of figures. While I do not agree with Tom about the affect of the hockey proposal on the recreation referendum, I do share his frustration. As I've said before, the idea of putting out five referendum questions was a bad one. The failed projects will be used by opponents of future projects as an indication that the public is not in support of putting money into recreation at this time. The idea of a community bond referendum was also a bad idea. I said I thought the referendum survey this summer would poison the recreation question, and I think that is what happened. I said that the town council's failure to offer a concise recreation plan would be viewed by the public with mistrust. We all knew that voters would vote for some projects and reject others. Why were the five pitted against one another? It was a bad approach from the start. I suggested the fields project be approved this summer using a lease option approach, but that idea was rejected as well. Hindsight is 20/20, but poor planning is easily recognized, and this council did a great disservice to future recreation projects with its shotgun referendum strategy.
keith yagaloff November 08, 2012 at 03:04 PM
As far as I can tell from speaking to the public, there is complete confusion about the town council's recreation priorities. They think the council is on a money grab for their pet projects. Instead of taking one project at a time and working through the appropriate funding mechanisms, the council has created a situation that puts one project against another. Unless this changes, I don't see any of the projects passing because there will not be broad public support. And finally, I don't think this is Tom Delnickie's fault. Tom also rejected the community bond proposal and also spoke agains the five referendums going out at the same time. If the community center/hockey project is going to be a success, there is going to have to be a change in how the town council operates. Cooperation is needed, not infighting. Councilor Prague pushed through the survey, knowing full well that it might cause the recreation projects to be rejected at referendum. Councilor Snyder pushed through the five referendums knowing that voters would pick a few and reject the others. Thus, my frustration, which I share with the recreation advocates and Mayor Delnickie. We are all trying to improve our town in a very poor economy. Its unfortunate that the town council cannot work together in a logical way.
Cheryl Casagrande Darby November 08, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Great politicly correct opinion Keith! Perhaps the dynamics of all the Town Council members do not have the unified vision and forward movement that the residents of South Windsor seem to be seeking and wanting currently. Unfortunately, we have to work with what we have right now. Why don't ALL of the SW Town Council members go down to Evergreen Walk and seek out the opinions of the business owners and employees on how business is going there and how THEY feel about the Evergreen Recreation Proposal?? As a former employee of Evergreen Walk, I know that foot traffic is down significantly in 2012. Evergreen definately feels the loss of Highland Park Market, Starbucks and Atlanta Bread. As well as another fatality Francesca's, which had to move indoor to Buckland Hills Mall.
Cheryl Casagrande Darby November 08, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Why were "five referendums pitted against eachother" all at once?? Residents were probably completely scared of all those dollar signs.
Cheryl Casagrande Darby November 08, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Louise, this is totally a side topic but.......Why did South Windsor's sewage tax double in 2012?????
Michael Sullivan November 08, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Mr. Delnicki’s unfortunate comments WRT recent Evergreen proposal versus the referendums have provoked this outpouring of support from the hockey rink/community center enthusiasts. Obviously you folks are in lock-step here… But Cheryl, your comments about Evergreen Walk are actually illustrative of the concerns that many folks, myself included, have about this most recent proposal. One thing that I have observed from the Evergreen Walk struggles over the many years is that they are a perfect example of exactly why you simply cannot believe whatever a developer promises. All the issues you cite for Evergreen Walk illustrates just how illusionary are these so-called “solid” developer plans and “no brainers for the town”. If you know the history of Evergreen Walk (and please ask Mr. McCann as he presided over P&Z through many of its gyrations) they went into their project with eyes-wide-open that no residential was allowed in the gateway zone! And as for Highland Park Market – same thing – no grocery store was allowed (and no residential) in the zone when they actually FOUGHT to get in. And still, AMAZINGLY the residential units, once finally approved, are still not built today! Likewise: the hotel that was green-light and part of their master plan from the beginning. Never built! Now they say they can only build a hotel with seven years’ worth tax abatement (while all the towns around us have built multiple hotels over the intervening period).
keith yagaloff November 08, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Cheryl, I agree with your conclusion that Evergreen Walk needs a boost, and I also agree that the location up there is a logical place to build a new community center. I also agree that the loss of Highland Park Market and other stores is having a long term negative effect on the entire development, and thus the Town of South Windsor. These have been concerns that I've voiced for several years. In order to get a project like the community center off the ground, there will need to be a clear and workable financing plan as well as broad community support. If the town council does not have a sensible and transparent vision for recreation improvements, and if the council continues to send contradictory messages to the public about its priorities, I don't see a good outcome for the community center project.
Vinny November 08, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Too all the people who are are infavor for the town pay for a new ice rink and recreation center. Who is going to pay for the land? I constantly hear that it will not cost the tax payers any money. If I read the artical correctly it would cost $500,000 to a 1,000,000.00 a year out of the town budget for thirty years, so that's costing the tax payer money. The town already has an ice rink. It might not be brand new, but it's use able. The ice is better quality than Bolton's Ice Rink. Once again it's not band new I understand, but the town has a rink. Sounds to me there are some spoiled people in this town. As for the recreation center why not use the old post office that the town paid 1.1 million dollars for. The town just recieved $500.000 grant from the state. There is plenty of parking and plenty of room for the seniors. Use the space the town already has. Do not go and look to spend more money when we do not have too. Use the resource that we already have. That's called being responsible. People move to this town not for ice ricks, but for their great school system, and for a safe place bring their childern up. Let try to keep the town affordable for new families.
Michael Pollack November 08, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Vinny, as I understand it, the Town will be leasing at an annual cost somewhere in that range (I hope at the lower end), and then owning it in 30 years. Among other things, it is a booster shot in the arm to local businesses that would all clearly benefit from more potential shoppers coming through the area. It provides a central area for our community. It creates space for our senior citizens. It provides for a community center for everyone that includes indoor swimming, skating and gymnasium. All of this attracts new folks to our Town, and it all adds incentive for our existing citizens to remain in the Town. You mention good school system and safety for our kids. But the reality is that many towns have good school systems and safe neighborhoods for kids, including South Windsor. So, what makes new people want to move here, and what makes existing residents want to stay here? Good facilities may not be the complete answer, but they're certainly part of that puzzle. The financing possibilities for this project are a historic bargain. Nobody wants to spend bad money on a bad project. But on the flip side of the coin, we need to have the courage and intelligence to recognize opportunities to spend good money on a good project, and that's also called being responsible.
Vinny November 08, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Mike, We have schools that are over 50 years old and are falling apart around themselves. The schools should come first and be replaced or be renovated. There are schools that the kids classrooms are in portable classrooms. They were only to be use for a couple of years. 10-15 years later they are still being used. When looking for a house in a town you looking for a good school system which South Windsor year in and year out is near the top in the state and nationally. How are we going to get people in town when our schools are falling apart around the kids while they are in school. ie ceiling tiles falling from the ceiling, leaking roofs We have space that the town can use and not spend any money for a building . Once again there is the post office that can be used. People like new buildings and do not want to use things that we already a have. Use the grant money that the state gave us if it fits the grant. People have not answer the question still have who is to pay for the land where the building is going. The owner of Evergreen Walk is not going to give the land over to the town. That will cost the town money more then the 10.5 million that was talked about if I'm correct. I'm all in favor of great facilities for the kids it helps keep them out of trouble. But we have to be smart about it and not wasteful.
Egidia November 09, 2012 at 02:04 PM
I don't see how anyone can say an item NOT on the referendum affected those that are. The project proposed to the town is one beneficial to so many of our residents and is still in works. It would have nothing to do with the others voted on. I don't believe that Evergreen Walk would be the only winner. there would be such wide demographic of people using that Center from our town and I'm sure other towns who wouldn't normally be in South Windsor that all win from this. Let's not let personality conflicts get in our way.
Doug November 10, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Lets wake up sw, we see surrounding towns adding community resources such as Glastonbury with their riverfront park. The rink and community center would be a huge asset to the town much like the outdoor pool has been. It will be a point pride and build upon the success of our incredible outdoor pool facility. It is a great deal for many segments of the town population.
Paul McCluskey November 12, 2012 at 03:36 AM
This is why Tom Delnicki will be a ONE TERM MAYOR. short sightedness and using the blame game! A true politician if ever there was one. Paul McCluskey

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