Liveblogging the Bookstore Relocation Open Forum

Greetings from PAC 001, where an open forum on the proposed bookstore relocation is about to begin. Seats are filling up quickly; so far I spot about 20 or 30 community members, a suited Centerplan representative, a small handful of students, and one or two professors (including Susanne Fusso, famed Professor of Russian Language and Literature). The average age in this room is probably well over 35, which is interesting. Where are all the students? (Update: As of the start of the forum, many more students have streamed in, and there are probably well over 130 people here, of pretty much all ages.)

Community members both inside and outside of Wesleyan’s campus have weighed in on the proposed development. Many, like Wesleyan alum and parent Jen Alexander ’88 and Red & Black owner Ed Thorndike ’89, are against it. Mayor Drew, on the other hand, is all for it, mostly on the grounds of job creation. If recent comments are any indication, there will be some strong views raised at this forum.

Wesleying’s liveblog coverage begins past the jump.

13 thoughts on “Liveblogging the Bookstore Relocation Open Forum

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  4. Elise Springer

    I wish Centerplan had shown us a map-style representation of their plan, not just a mock-up drawing of the building. Only then will we understand its scale in the neighborhood, how much of the property immediately across from Russell House would be just a flat parking lot, etc.

  5. Elise Springer

    The consequence is: people traveling eastbound (downhill) on 66 who want to stop at this development need to drive past it and wait in the left lane at the Pearl St. stoplight (where opposing traffic can’t see them at sunset). How much would this increase the incidents of gridlock — and lack of first responder vehicle passage — at Pearl Street and/or High street as traffic backs up at rush hour?

  6. Elise Springer

    Working in the north side of Russell House, as I pointed out, means hearing lots of accidents at the 66/High intersection. But my question to Centerplan was about their plans for traffic. The reply was: one entrance on Pearl near corner (note only the corner plot currently has compatible zoning), and entrance-exit on Rt 66 *only* for westbound (uphill) traffic. No crossing over from or to the other side of Rt 66. Further, they insisted that Pearl and 66 would become a four-way-red-light pedestrian intersection, like 66 & Main.

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  8. Pat Tully

    I attended the forum last night. Zach, you’ve done a great job documenting many of the concerns expressed; thank you! But some of the comments (like mine!) that you’ve attributed to Middletown residents were in fact made by Middletown residents who are also members of the Wesleyan community. Wesleyan as well as the broader Middletown community was well represented at the meeting.

    1. Zach

      Thanks for this. I tried to use ‘community member’ as a vague enough term to apply both to Middletown residents and Wesleyan staff (and both), since it was often impossible to identify everyone who was speaking in real time. Apologies if anyone was misidentified.

  9. Ed McKeon

    Zach,thanks for live blogging. Away in Utah on business and I was able to follow the forum. I’m heartened by the opposition, and I hope Wes admin, the developer, they mayor and the Chamber got the message.

  10. alum

    Not only should Wesleyan NOT move its bookstore, it should fight tooth and nail to stop this ill-conceived development from being built. All it will do is cause the great local businesses to close and turn Middletown into a generic strip mall-type town where the economics of the city are at the whim of national corporations. THe developer believes in competition? A national chain vs. a local business is not a fair fight in terms of economies of scale, profit, etc. and I’m sure that many people would pay a small premium towards local business. The problem is that a national chain could take away enough business that it would force the local ones to close. Mayor Drew should be ashamed.

  11. Bryan Skowera


    As an alumnus and Middletown resident who could not attend today’s meeting, I cannot thank you enough for your diligence in live blogging this event. _THANK YOU_

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