Hula hoops cast dizzying shadows across the Fairfield Hills lawn Sunday, September 14, where Tanner Chase of Velvet Orchid out of Bristol danced through her hoop routine. Surrounding her were a dozen children with their own hoops, aiming to keep them spinning. With Newtown Arts Festival going on around them, others celebrated under a baby blue sky with ribbons, rainbow splashes of paint, arts, crafts, demonstrations, sculpture, poetry reading, and more.
A local development firm wants to construct an approximately 30,000-square-foot mixed-use building at the current site of Woodbury Hall at Fairfield Hills, which would include a combination of retail uses, office space, and rental apartments.
The concept for such a project surfaced in an August 3 e-mail submitted to an electronic mailing list by Advantage Commercial Realty, which was promoting the concept for developer Claris Construction Inc of Newtown.
Gusts of wind interrupted the sunny day, causing merchants and guests at the Farmers Market at Fairfield Hills to grab for tent posts. Temporarily knocked askew were the awnings casting shade over fresh produce from area farms, and other goods offered by local merchants and crafters.
The Economic Development Commission (EDC) has endorsed a zoning rule proposal that would allow the creation of rental apartments located above commercial uses at future development projects at the town-owned Fairfield Hills core campus.
Following discussion at a June 10 session, EDC members endorsed a proposed zoning rule that would allow residential uses at Fairfield Hills under certain conditions, and provided that the applicants met the terms of the Planning and Zoning Commission’s (P&Z) special permit review process.
The verb prostitute, according to Collins Thesaurus, means to “cheapen, sell out, pervert, devalue, squander, demean, debase, profane, or misapply.”
This is exactly what seems to be evolving at Fairfield Hills. Our first selectman told the Board of Selectman at their most recent meeting that “those interested in projects at Fairfield Hills have said retail or commercial enterprises cannot survive without a residential component.”
About a decade ago, Connecticut started getting serious about reclaiming and reusing former and abandoned, environmentally tainted industrial sites known as brownfields. Around that same time, Newtown’s Director of Economic and Community Development Elizabeth Stocker began compiling an informal list of local brownfield sites.
Like many Newtown residents, I've enjoyed taking walks through our Fairfield Hills campus. I've also been saddened to see so many beautifully crafted buildings fall slowly into ruin. How can we rescue, restore and reuse these architectural assets? I recently discovered an excellent website developed by Newtown resident Michael Taylor: www.RedevelopmentInstitute.org