SOUTHINGTON - The town‚Äôs Farm Heritage Committee is working on developing a multi-phase ‚Äúmaster plan‚ÄĚ which should be completed in January or February, said Council Chair Chris Palmieri.
Palmieri said the council is seeking donations to complete improvements to preserve local farmland. The Southington Education Foundation has provided a $10,000 donation this year and will provide a matching donation next year. The town has also received a grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.
‚ÄúThe barn at the former Groski farm on Berlin Street is not in good shape,‚ÄĚ said Palmieri. ‚ÄúIt is currently being used to store hay for Lewis Educational Agriculture Farms‚Äô programs. But, in the long term, we‚Äôre looking to raze it and build a new barn in its place.‚ÄĚ
Town Manager Mark Sciota said it would take an ‚Äúastronomical‚ÄĚ amount of money to save the old barn. Structures on Pleasant Street next to DePaolo Middle School were demolished for similar reasons.
Councilor Mike Riccio expressed regret in voting for the demolition of the Pleasant Street barns. He suggested having an outside consultant look into what could be done to save the Groski barn.
‚ÄúThey are being restored all over the country,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúMaybe with a little Yankee ingenuity the Pleasant Street barns could have been saved.‚ÄĚ
Sciota said that ‚Äúband-aid‚ÄĚ repairs could be continued while options were explored.¬†
Palmieri said a decision needed to be made for the master plan.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm just worried there will be no ‚Äėheritage‚Äô left for the committee to preserve - just land if we go tearing all the barns down,‚ÄĚ said Riccio.
Palmieri agreed to get outside opinions.¬†
Sciota also laid out a time table for crafting the 2019-2020 town budget.¬†
‚ÄúAll department heads will present me with their budgets by January 4,‚ÄĚ said Sciota. ‚ÄúOn January 31, the assessor will certify the Grand List. Then, on Feb. 6, Governor Ned Lamont will give his speech about his proposed budget. CCM (The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities) will give us an idea of how much revenue we can expect. Then I will take a second look at the budget and meet with the party chair and minority leader.‚ÄĚ
The Council began the meeting with a moment of silence for the late President George H.W. Bush, also reading a proclamation from the governor which detailed Bush‚Äôs distinguished service during World War II.¬†
A moment of silence was also held for former probate judge Carl Sokolowski who also died recently.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.¬†