SOUTHINGTON - Following the Tilcon presentation at Mondayâ€™s meeting, the Town Council approved municipal improvements and heard the concerns of the Community Committee to Save Bradley, who turned out in force.
Town Manager Mark Sciota said the council has paving improvements from Mill Street to the John Weichsel Municipal Center lot as well as electrical upgrades to the town green, to replace aging systems, an issue which was previously discussed during the Southington Chamber of Commerceâ€™s annual downtown walk-thru.
â€śWe want to have the electrical equipment replaced for our annual Apple Harvest Festival this fall and our White Christmas in the community event this winter,â€ť said Sciota.
Sciota also informed the council that the town had been approved by the state for a $2.5 million grant for the purposes of revitalizing downtown Plantsville. He said this project would be going out to bid in spring 2019 and that the construction work, which consists of various streetscape improvements, will begin that fall.
â€śI will also be putting funding into my next capital improvement budget for a municipal lot in downtown Plantsville,â€ť Sciota said.
The desire for such a lot to alleviate the congestion caused by on-street parking had been a topic of conversation during the chamberâ€™s walk-thru of Plantsville for many years.
A public hearing has also been set for Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Center to discuss the potential implementation of an excessive police call ordinance. Last year, this was a hot topic of conversation, specifically in relation to the Bridge Family Center group home on Birchcrest Drive. Several neighbors had complained to the council about the disruption caused by frequent police calls from the home, which provides supervision for girls removed from their families by the Department of Children and Families.
Sciota said that if an ordinance were to be implemented to hold facilities liable for excessive calls that it would apply town-wide, not just for the Bridge Family Center.
The Community Committee to Save Bradley packed nearly every seat at the Municipal Center Monday.
Group founder Bonnie Sica said they had roughly 100 people, several of whom had to stand or sit on the floor.
Group members said they wanted to see emergency services and beds remain at the Bradley Campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, owned by Hartford HealthCare. Hartford HealthCare officials have stated that no decisions regarding emergency services at Bradley have been made yet, but they have expressed concerns to the council that Bradleyâ€™s emergency department is not being heavily used and that it is not the optimal way to deliver care.
â€śWe are drawing a line in the sand,â€ť said Sica. â€śHartford HealthCare seems pretty determined to slowly dismantle emergency services at Bradley, so at this point it would be our preference that they just sell us.â€ť
Sica said that in the four years since her committee has formed, she has felt a â€śshiftâ€ť in town, where people are less apathetic toward the issue and more supportive of their cause.
Council Chairman Chris Palmieri said he re-affirmed Monday that his goal is to maintain a medical facility at Bradley and that ideally he would like to see emergency services remain there as well.
â€śI have been playing phone tag with Hartford HealthCare officials to see what I do to keep these services at Bradley,â€ť said Palmieri. â€śWhen they established their facility on Queen Street, they made a deal with the Planning and Zoning Commission that the emergency department would not be moved to that location. They would have to apply with them to change that stipulation.â€ť
Palmieri said that by gradually reducing the number of beds at Bradley, Hartford HealthCare was creating a â€śself-fulfilling prophecy.â€ť
â€śIf they are stripping services then of course patient count will go down,â€ť he said. â€śThere isnâ€™t as much of a reason to go there like there was in the past.â€ť
â€śGary Havican, president of The Hospital of Central Connecticut said â€śHartford HealthCare is focused on continuing to bring world-class health care to the people of Southington.â€ť
â€śAs the townâ€™s major employer and key service provider, we are in discussions with town leaders to make the right decisions for the community. No decision has been made regarding the Bradley campus.â€ť
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.