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Town Releases Info On GE's Community Center Gift

In November, General Electric gave Newtown $15 million to build and run a multi-purpose community center in town. Now the town of Newtown has released a Q&A outlining everything residents need to know about GE's donation.

The FAQ answers everything from the basics (Why did GE make the donation? The company has more than 150 employees in Newtown and wanted to "[support] our friends, family and neighbors as they continue to heal") to the questions those who have followed the story may have wondered. (Will GE have any ownership rights to the facility? No.)

The Q&A contains at least one previously unannounced piece of information -- the community center is expected to be complete by 2016, the same year as the new Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The town will conduct a feasibility study to determine if the community center is a good fit for Fairfield Hills, officials said.

Read the full Q&A online here, or read more about what GE's gift means for Newtown and the behind-the-scenes details of the donation.

More answers from the document:
  • What steps has the town taken to advance the project? "Several months ago the Town put together an informal, ad hoc, study group of representatives from the Commission on Aging, Parks and Recreation, town department heads, and community leaders. That group has begun the process of identifying current and future needs as well as reviewing the research done over past years on the development of a community center and a senior center."
  • How would Newtown seniors be involved? "It is important that the voices of the community are heard in the development of this facility. The active participation of the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Commission on Aging, along with the directors of those departments is essential.  Further, general public input will be solicited at many steps along the way. Plans for the facility would progress through multiple public hearings.
Vincent January 26, 2014 at 09:20 AM
The only choice is Fairfield Hills for the best use of the money. I don't believe the money should be used for purchasing (Someone's) property.
DOLORES MEEHAN January 26, 2014 at 10:57 AM
Why doesn't someone on this committee take a look at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, CT? There's a community center that is totally dedicated to families. Perhaps we don't need anything quite as large, but it's a beautiful facility and one could get some very good ideas!!
John Boccuzzi Jr. January 26, 2014 at 11:05 AM
Chelsea Piers in Stamford is a great design. On a smaller scale the Ridgefield community center is wonderful.
John Boccuzzi Jr. January 26, 2014 at 11:07 AM
Vincent, I agree. It makes sense to use the property the town owns (Fairfield Hills) and apply as much of the $15 million to building an amazing building that we can all enjoy. Plus, Fairfield Hills is close to several schools which makes it easy for people to get to for after school programs. Thanks GE!
DOLORES MEEHAN January 26, 2014 at 11:22 AM
I hope our politicians are reading these. We need a community center that's functional, fun and available to people of ALL ages. Please take note, Ms. Lodra!!
Lisa Johnson Wolff January 26, 2014 at 03:46 PM
I would like to see a community center that incorporates spaces for visual and performing arts.
Lauryn Hutchinson January 27, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Personally, I do not think Fairfield Hills is a good choice. I would rather see them tear down Hawley and put it there. The school is antique and an embarrassment. I know people have an emotional attachment to the school, but it will eventually have to be radically upgraded or taken down some day. Lets do it now, then we can have a community center in the "center" of the community. This of the boom it will create for businesses in the downtown area. Personally, I would walk over to myplace for a pint (or two) and soft pretzels while my little ones are taking art classes.
Vincent January 27, 2014 at 10:56 AM
First, I believe the town will lose money from a trust fund account if the school comes down. Second, you,re saying you will be driving your kids after having a couple of pints. Third, the traffic will be even worse than it is already.
Lauryn Hutchinson January 30, 2014 at 05:11 PM
First, who cares, what are my taxes going to anyway we need more schools don't we? Second, our owner operators used to do it why can't I, third, lets just put in some speed bumps to control traffic, it worked for the queenies.

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