Thursday, May 03, 2012

Drew does Damage Control regarding Senior Center

Hours before the meeting to discuss the senior center last night Dan Drew does damage control claiming "I never wanted to change the location of the proposed senior center from Eckersley Hall." Apparently, Drew called media at the Press and Patch to make this statement known. He also repeated it at the beginning of the Common Council special meeting held Tuesday where the plans were to have been unveiled.According to Councilmember and building committee member, Phil Pessina  not even the building committee got to see the alternative plans that the Mayor had drawn up. Why these plans never saw the linght of day we do not know, however, the Insider takes issues with the fact that tax payers paid $3,600  for these extra drawings by the direction of Mayor Drew and they were not even disclosed to the building committee! Drew discussed the alleged findings of the extra design study in an article on Patch, yet it is unclear if the documents really show a cost savings at Drew claims because the documents were featured in the article either The architect hired by Drew is a friend of Councilmember Bob Santangelo.; hiring of this architect fell under the grey area "professional services" and did not have to go out to public bid, but could be hired at will by the Mayor.Former Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, who spearheaded the studies for a new senior center location during his terms in office, congratulated the building committee who had worked for 2 years meeting multiples times per month to come up with a feasible plan on a job well done. Building Committe chairman Ed Dypa, who himself worked tirelessly on the concept of a senior center to meet the needs  Middletown's" growing senior population also thanked the crowd for coming out. Earlier in the month, he had been quoted by the Middletown Press as being "blindsided" by the plans Drew had commissioned in secret and suggestion by Mayor Drew that the Eckersley Hall idea be scrapped.
      Over 100 people, mostly seniors, packed the Chambers last night in support of the plans presented for Eckersley Hall, attendants spilled over into the lobby. Councilmembers Serra & Berch squabbled over a possible $1 million difference between schematic plans and plans presented by new architectural firm Silver Petruccell that was hired to complete the design &; construction documents, but no one cares about the $1 million  ex superintendent Mikey at the BOE blew. At least this time the audience did not have to hear Councilmember Berch make his frequent boast he has made many times at various Council Meetings  of his "like the equivalent of  six ph.d's in construction"; he did question  why the abatement of the Eckersley Hall project was a separate line item -  no included in the 10% of total construction cost being a budgeted contingency. The Architects presenting corrected the Councilman and explained that the contingency was ample for un forseen conditions not already documented by their team as visible areas that would need abatement. An estimated cost for abatement as a separate line item separate from a 10 % contingency cost is standard practice with a public project as was reiterrated by the architects presenting.. Councilmembers Phil Pessina and Ron Klattenberg fielded questions from the audience, which mainly focused on transportation to the new center from downtown areas. Pessina assured the crowd that he and committee members where speaking directly with Middletown Area Transit - the local bus company- to come up with a plan to allow for a more stops on bus routes that would accommodate residents going to the new senior center. Did Drew finally see the light and acknowledge seniors or was the threat of loosing this voting block really the issue? Seniors are human beings Mr. Drew. Referendum to pass the project coming in November.

Friday night's episode of "The Variety Hour" hosted by
Jon Pulino and William Wilson
on Comcast channel 15 will have on Ed Dypa of the Senior Center Building Committee who will talk about & show the design for Eckersley Hall.  
Gail Patricia Whitright will be on as well to discuss "Welcome Home Veterans May 19th in Shelton, Connecticut- Veterans Park 11am to 6 pm"Othesurprise guests TBA!

Please call us live at 860-613-3031 from 8-9P.M. to ask questions!

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