NORWALK, Conn. – A husband and wife duo are comically opposed in their opposition to the same Norwalk proposal, as evidenced by their testimony to the Oak Hills Park Authority last week.
After his wife, Diane Keefe, made a pitch to save the Oak Hills Park woodland because it is important to migratory birds, John Levin got up and said he didn’t give a damn about woods, deer or birds – kill them all.
“We have interesting conversations at home,” Keefe said.
Levin was one of three new faces mixed in with the usual suspects there to protest the idea of putting a range in the woods. Both Lawrence Shultz, a direct neighbor of the woods, and Monica Fitzgerald, a neighbor of the ninth hole as a North Taylor Avenue resident, protested the idea.
“As a teacher (in New Canaan) I feel you are missing an opportunity here to use the woodlands as a preserve for the Norwalk Public Schools,” Fitzgerald said. “I strongly oppose putting the driving range there.”
Levin’s objection concerned a different type of green – money.
“I am a professional investor,” he said. “I very frequently see people thinking they are making a good decision and then subsequently it turns into a bad decision. My biggest concern in Norwalk is that, as a homeowner and taxpayer, building the driving range and guaranteeing the debt that is incurred for it, which I am sure is going to be part of the package, is going to be a bad investment for the city of Norwalk.”
Oak Hills Park Authority Ad Hoc Driving Range Committee Chairman Ernie Derochers said in an email that is not the case.
“The city does not guarantee third party debt,” he said. “We will not be asking the city to do that here. The RFP (request for proposals) discussed making the proposal as green as possible and I can tell you this, each proposer went out of their way to do so. While I appreciate his comments, we are also taxpayers, too, and we would certainly not enter into a deal that was a bad business and financial decision.”
Keefe had the more tree-huggery type of green on her mind.
“This is irreplaceable ecosystem for migratory birds, in the sense that there are no horses riding through it like there are in Cranbury Park,” she said. “There are not a lot of dogs being walked through it. It’s just a place where, after 200 miles of flying, they feel they can land and feel like they will not be attacked.”
Levin, who was wearing a Vote Steve Serassis T-shirt, said, “Bad decisions get made. I am here to encourage you to not make bad decisions, only make good ones. I am much less concerned – you can bulldoze all the 100-year old trees, kill the birds, the deer, I don’t care about any of that stuff.”
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