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Norwalk political notes: Moms demand action, Cranbury revenue and District A electoral interest

The Norwalk Board of Education meets in the Cranbury Park bunkhouse on July 26.

NORWALK, Conn. – Here’s some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Duff to join ‘Moms’ in ‘Vigil for Lives Lost’
  • Cranbury Park rentals detailed
  • Primary in District A?

 

‘Demanding action’

A “Vigil for Lives Lost” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in response to the two mass shootings last weekend in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) will join Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America outside City Hall, along East Avenue, a press release said.

“We should not have to live with this type of violence,” Duff is quoted as saying in a press release. “When one incident like this occurs in other countries decisive action is taken at the national level to curb mass shootings. At every turn Connecticut has passed laws to combat gun violence and it is long past time for Washington to follow our lead.”

“In recent days, mass shootings have devastated El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio,” Kara Nelson Baekey, a Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America volunteer and Norwalk resident, is quoted as saying. “But also in recent weeks, Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven have been directly and gravely impacted by gun violence. Every day, 100 Americans are shot and killed and hundreds more are wounded. This is a public health crisis that demands urgent action.”

“Every time we turn around, we have another act of gun violence,” Mayor Harry Rilling is quoted as saying. “Malls, movie theaters, festivals – these are places where happy memories are supposed to be made, not the locations of mass shootings. When will we, as a country, stand up and say ‘enough is enough?’ I applaud the efforts of Moms Demand Action and other grassroots groups who are pushing for comprehensive gun reform legislation to help keep communities safe.”

 

Cranbury bunkhouse ‘wonderful for hosting intimate special events’

A NancyOnNorwalk commenter suggested recently that the Cranbury Park bunkhouse hasn’t seen much use since being renovated and offered to the public as a rental.

Here’s what Norwalk Director of Recreation and Parks Nick Roberts had to say when queried about that and the use of Gallaher Mansion:

“The bunk house was renovated in FY 15-16 at a cost of approximately $300K. It has a gorgeous, functioning stone fireplace, is air conditioned and is wonderful for hosting intimate special events. The skilled Recreation & Parks staff handled much of the work, which kept costs lower than if we hired outside contractors for the entire renovation. This was also the case in renovating the bathrooms in the Mansion last winter as well.

“The building not only serves as space to host events but the renovation preserves the space which had been used as the servants’ quarters for those who were employed by the owners of the Mansion.  It has an air of history and memories for those who worked tirelessly for the Gallaher’s.  Revenues for both the Bunk House and Mansion over the past three years are as follows:

 

“Cranbury Park Bunk house rental revenues:

  • FY 16-17 – $5,750 (13 rentals)
  • FY 17-18 – $10,190 (16 rentals)
  • FY 18-19 – $ 7,975 (12 rentals)

 

“Gallaher Mansion rental revenues

  • FY 16-17 – $92,407 (65 rentals)
  • FY 17-18 – $94,290 (51 rentals)
  • FY 18-19 – $108,485 (40 rentals)

 

“Despite the upward trend in revenue there are limitations with the space which includes the lack of a full kitchen facility, limited Wi-Fi signal, and interior room capacities under 100 which makes it difficult to accommodate larger parties and events. Residents may also not be aware of the great amenities available to them, however over the next year we hope to address this issue by offering several free community events at various sites throughout the parks system as well as updating the City’s webpage to better highlight all of the Department’s programs and facilities.”

 

 

 

District A Dem took first step toward primary

Don’t count your chickens – there’s a slim chance that Norwalk will pay for a primary this summer, even if the Republican Mayoral contest appears settled.

Jermaine Nash obtained paperwork to contest the Democratic Town Committee-endorsed District A Common Council candidates, Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said.

Nash has until 4 p.m. Wednesday to submit the necessary signatures.

“I always encourage petitioning candidates to turn in pages as they complete them so that we can check those pages and tell the candidates how they are doing, but I have not heard from Mr. Nash since he got the petition forms two weeks ago,” Wells wrote Tuesday. “Anyway, the deadline to turn in the pages is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4:00 p.m. so we will know then.”

10 comments

Bryan Meek August 7, 2019 at 8:27 am

It’s wonderful that people can use their voices to protest this or that.

Does our state Senator have any voice about what is going on in our state Government?

The Comptrollers monthly report is almost a week late now. https://www.osc.ct.gov/reports/index.html

This report is supposed to explain how we closed the $3 billion revenue shortfall and ended up with a $700 million surplus.

The state only collects about $1.5 billion in revenue a month, so it will be interesting to see how they managed to turn that into $3.7 billion.

April G. August 7, 2019 at 9:08 am

300k renovation for that bunkhouse and it’s only generated a little over 20k in revenue in 3 seasons?

And what does this statement mean, exactly…“The building not only serves as space to host events but the renovation preserves the space which had been used as the servants’ quarters for those who were employed by the owners of the Mansion.

Are they still talking about this bunkhouse? I thought there was nothing in that space before this was built.

There don’t seem to be many answers for why this bunkhouse, which so many neighborhood residents were opposed to, doesn’t seem to be generating many funds and lagging in use.

Patrick Cooper August 7, 2019 at 9:14 am

I’ll say it again: financial illiteracy is a significant threat to the taxpaying residents of this city. The Cranbury “Bunkhouse” is but a single example of how our municipal government under the careless stewardship of Harry Rilling is squandering our resources without a care for our collective pocketbooks. There are countless others.

Yes, it was a comment I made about thanking the District D BOE member Brian Meek (a guess) for at least utilizing this facility – one I see daily – with an empty parking lot. I say thank you for the follow-up NoN – and for getting some of the facts. Let’s boil it down:

$300,000 to renovate the Bunk House. Size of a 2-car garage. By all accounts – beautiful. As John Hammond from the movie Jurassic Park would say – “spared no expense”.

Average annual revenues (Bunk House alone) in the 3 years since: $10,000 per year (anticipating this year will continue at the same rate).

At that rate – $10,000 per year – it will take Norwalk only 30 years to recover the initial costs – not counting the actual cost of capital / time.

At that rate – 30 years.

To be fair – I absolve our current P&R director Nick Roberts for this poor investment – as he didn’t join the city team until April of this year. What is missing from this story is the initial nexus of this project: The “Zip-Line”. P&R got out over their ski’s – ahead of the curve – and they built a facility for a business they thought was a done deal until the public said – No. Loudly.

All I ask of my municipal representatives – and I dutifully respect that this is & should be what every other taxpaying resident of Norwalk asks – is to watch our wallets, carefully. What a banker like Fred Wilms would call “a fiduciary responsibility”. This 14-1 common council fails that requirement – repeatedly. Poko anyone?

It is time to clean house.

Eleanor Lx. August 7, 2019 at 11:18 am

It always amazes me after every tragic mass shooting, opportunists come out after the closet shouting out more gun control in a state with one of the highest restrictions. Let’s face it, the left needs to stop obfuscating their agenda and just admit they’re for a total confiscation of firearms Australian style. It is obvious as day this is their true agenda.

Paul Lanning August 7, 2019 at 1:22 pm

I would vote for total confiscation of guns. I’ve never needed a gun, and you don’t need one either unless you are military, law enforcement, or licensed security personnel.

Eleanor Lx. August 7, 2019 at 2:09 pm

@Paul – Please don’t tell me I don’t need a firearm and so fanciful to even think guns can be totally confiscated. This is a fundamental constitutional right and would require a repeal of the second amendment. Thank goodness we have a president who understands this and respects law biding gun ownership.

Paul Lanning August 7, 2019 at 2:26 pm

Eleanor whoever you are, apart from your praise for our criminal, hate-mongering, criminal chief executive, you lack any right to tell me what I can or can’t say on this forum.

Eleanor Lx. August 7, 2019 at 2:36 pm

@Paul – This is the United States of America. Please don’t infringe on my 1st Amendment (1st and 2nd Amendment rights). Per your words, “you don’t need one [firearm] either” “you lack any right to tell me what I can or can’t say on this forum” And yes, I support President Trump who will easily be re-elected in 2020. Get use to it!

Adolph Neaderland August 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Patrick, nice math!
Supports my push for an approved ROI for all major expense projects. Adolph

Debora Goldstein August 7, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Quick question. Was the bunkhouse renovated using parks & recs capital funds or was it historical commission capital funds? The objectives for historical restoration are different than other items.

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