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Fairfield Hills Authority Weighs Options for Police, EMS, Clinic

Authority talks about creating police substation, new EMS base and weighing options for relocating Kevin's Community Center.

Police and the Fairfield Hills Authority are in discussion on whether to supplement the security presence at the campus, including possibly turning the engineer's house right at the entrance into a police substation, officials said.

The authority met Wednesday at C.H. Booth Library for its regular meeting where they discussed several scenarios. A police officer who works at one of the schools could be moved over to the campus after school lets out, and the engineer's house – which is by the entrance of the campus – could be used as a check-in spot or substation, according to the meeting discussion.

The , which is now based on Main Street, also is working on plans to move to the campus – which is considered centrally located in town, officials said.

Ambulance Association President Bruce Herring said they would like to move in within a few years. Cost will be an issue, including money for infrastructure, such as wiring, water, parking, and a whole host of other factors.

Also discussed at the authority meeting was Kevin's Community Center, a nonprofit medical center that has been in existence since 2001, and for a time shared space with some town services. A couple of years ago, the town received a $500,000 grant to move the center to Fairfield Hills. But that grant has not been executed yet and it is unknown whether the amount would be enough to cover such a move.

First Selectman Pat Llodra said she would like the town to determine whether the $500,000 is enough. If it isn't, the town should relinquish its claim to the grant. But if it is, the town should move forward on the project as soon as possible for a number of reasons, Llodra said.

One is that with the faltering economy, the state could decide to save money by rescinding any outstanding grants that were awarded years earlier but have not been executed since. The other reason is that Kevin's Community Center has been waiting for years for the town to determine whether the nonprofit can move to the campus, and it would be unfair to continue to keep the nonprofit waiting for an answer, Llodra said.

Another factor that complicates the decision is a condition on the grant requiring the medical service to be operating at the campus for 10 years. If Kevin's Community Center were to go out of business and another similar type service did not fill the void, the town would be on the hook to repay a portion of the grant to the state, officials said.

In other discussions, authority president John Reed said one of the group's long-term goal was to fold as much as possible into the overall town authority. Discussions are underway about possibly turning over administration of a $100,000 management contract to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Finally the authority discussed changing the date of its monthly meeting to a day that does not conflict with the Legislative Council, which meets at the same time. Authority members said they would discuss more about the matter next month.

robin fitzgerald November 23, 2010 at 04:06 PM
As a resident of Newtown I see KCC as a valuable asset. While I whole-heartedly agree that all the costs and risks of moving KCC to FFH should be thoroughly vetted before a shovel goes into the ground, I can’t see why a $500K grant from the state would be relinquished without first attempting to re-assign it to another property in Newtown. As I said at the BOS meeting, having the grant reassigned, would be a win-win-win: 1.KCC will have a permanent home, 2. the town will keep KCC in our community and 3. the taxpayers will not have to pay for the additional cost in either renovation, risk or the additional $350K in infrastructure costs at this difficult economic time. I do realize that the state has re-allocated the grant at our request from another specific building at FFH to FFH in general. Perhaps the mistake there (which becomes clear in 20/20 hindsight) was to attach the grant to FFH specifically and not to any suitable location in Newtown generally. I am encouraged by the discussion of the need to put under the microscope what the costs will be for any of these ideas BEFORE the taxpayers get the bill.

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