Your input needed on town center

Published 9:49 pm Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Mayor’s Desk

Carita Richardson

On Jan. 11, 2018, many residents attended the presentation by the architects for the renovation of the interior of the old gym which we plan to convert into a Windsor town center. We received many positive comments about the design and the size of the building, as well as ideas about how it can be used to address the needs of our community. We are now waiting for all the bids to arrive in February so council can make a decision about completing the project as planned.

Recently, a council member presented the idea that we should just use this building as a gym only and not complete the project as proposed. Instead, the suggestion was for the town to build a combined municipal office building, community center and a library.

The first problem this presents for our town is the necessity of borrowing millions of dollars. We have an agreement with the county that they will pay for a new library building. The county has told us that they will not have the money for several years; therefore, the town will have to pay for a new library if it is done now. On the other hand, the county supports the plan for the gym because the library can use it for popular programs that they do not have room to accommodate. This is one reason the county has given us $25,000 for each of the last four years (to total $100,000) for this project and has voted to continue it for the next two years if we complete it as planned. Their support of this project is crucial and includes a person from Parks and Recreation to staff the facility and run programs for our youth and senior citizens. Our residents have been asking the county to provide services like these for our community for many years, and the gym complex, as planned, can provide the facility to make this possible.

The second problem with this new idea is that after borrowing millions of dollars, all three of these facilities together will not have a kitchen or a space that can accommodate large events. The Windsor Woman’s Club had over 400 at its Breakfast for Santa at the Ruritan building last December. Many of the small children had to stand in line outside for a long period in the cold because they could not get everyone inside. The renovated gym complex can accommodate this number.

Another example of the need for the renovated gym complex is when Green Mountain located in the Windsor community. They needed to have a large space with two smaller rooms for interviewing for a job fair to hire about 600 employees. It would have been advantageous to the residents of Windsor and the county to have the job fair in Windsor, but Green Mountain had to hold it in Suffolk because we did not have a suitable facility.

We need your input as to which of these two ideas you think is best for Windsor. Do you want us to complete the renovation of the gym complex as planned with money that has been saved, or do you want us to borrow millions of dollars, with likely tax increases, to build new municipal offices, a library and a community center with shared spaces? Please contact council to let us know what you want because it is your money.