Brown Recommends Council Withdraw Beach Pavilion Proposal
The Town Administrator has recommended council stop the beach pavilion bond question
Shawn Brown, Middletown's Town Administrator, requested that town council withdraw support of a $6 million dollar general obligation referendum for the construction of a new beach pavilion at Second Beach.
Last month council voted to submit the question to voters this November. The town conducted its first public workshop two weeks ago.
“Since that time, there has been considerable discussion within the community regarding whether this is now a good project for the town,” reads a letter from Brown dated June 28. “Unfortunately, the discussion has not been supportive of the initiative. The overriding concerns are the timing of the project relative to the condition of the economy and the physical impact on the beach.”
The project was first introduced by Councilor Christopher Semonelli, who said the pavilion would have a positive impact on the quality of life for residents and improve tourism. Brown said the issue has been considered since 2006 and has gone through two studies as well as volunteer time to get to the current state. He said it is not in the town’s best interest to throw away the investment made to-date for the referendum to fail, if the town is not ready to approve the idea.
The administration had estimated the impact to a Middletown taxpayer would be around $66.19 annually, for a house valued at $280,000.
Council had also approved to seek a $7.5 million general obligation bond referendum for renovations to the fire station and former police station.The combined projects would ask voters to decide on a total of $13.5 million in capital improvement projects in the same year.
In a recent readers' poll, 70-percent of residents reported that they went to the beach during the summer months, although many expressed concerns about the project, including the price and timing.
At a previous council meeting, resident Resident Theresa Spengler echoed these concerns.
“I find it incredible to invest that much money into a three month facility,” said Spengler. She said with cuts in other departments, she did not see how the own could justify the project.
In his letter, Brown has requested that council assemble an advisory committee to report back to the town within a year regarding the project.