Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Letter to the Editor: Please Consider Phil Salafia's Legacy

Below is a letter to the Editor, it may or may not reflect the views of the Middletown Insider staff and is published as a courtesy to readers. 
To whom  it may concern,
I am writing to those who have been involved in the canoe launch on the Coghinchaug. To my understanding this is the same property that the late Phil Salafia Sr. and his wife Angelina Salamone Salafia owned and wished to be gifted to the city upon their death.The land was owned by Phil Salafia Sr. since 1967. If not the same bounds exactly of where they actual launch will be, it is to my understanding that the launch property will in part be on the 20.8 acres of the gifted land. Phil Salafia, Jr. sold the city the property for $20,000, to the used as open space and for passive recreation, a price far below its value as a tribute to his decreased parents and sister Hunna Salafia.

I read in the report graciously prepared by the Jonah Center the canoe launch is going to be called the Coghinchaug launch or something to that effect. Also in the reports, were conversations individuals had in 2006 with Phil Jr. himself describing life on Catherine Street and enjoyment of recreation on this section of the River. Truly, the Johah Center, and the author of the report Dr. Walker, understand how much having their home here meant to the Salafia family, and I applaud the report for capturing that aspect.

Countless roads and parks in Middletown bear the name of the person who donated or gifted them in part to the city in some way.

It is surprising to see that no one since the initial preliminary planning of this project began in 2007 has thought to extend this courtesy and honor to Phil Salafia and name the boat launch and open space land in his honor. Humbly, Phil Salafia Jr.,as in true fashion of his father, has never made this request; but I am making it today because no one has brought it forward even six years later.
Phil Salafia Sr. was my great uncle on my paternal side, he still has many, many living relatives in the area and elsewhere including children who would love to see his legacy live on. Uncle Phil was a dedicated citizen of Middletown though his work with veterans, children and various civic engagements.

I would hope anyone involved who may disagree with my mother and I politically, perhaps, could put those feelings aside. I ask that Phil Salafia, Sr. be remembered as a man with a plethora of postive contributions to Middletown and that naming his donated open space area and boat launch after him is seriously considered.

With gratitude, sincerely, Molly Salafia LEED GA, Assoc. AIA
PZ Commissioner, and board member Historic Preservation and Design Review

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