The Middletown May Day Committee writes in with your daily dose of revolutionary direct action:
The long chill of winter has lifted and spring is stirring in our hearts. Join us this May Day (Wednesday, May 1st), as we joyously take to the streets in a roving festival of resistance!
In a world where vacant land stands idle while countless go without food or shelter, we will reclaim space from private interests and cultivate it in service of our community. Come together at 10:30 AM on Washington and Pearl to help revitalize a community garden that is under threat from the proposed strip mall construction.
In a world where learning and knowledge is greedily hoarded behind the high walls of the ivory-tower academy, we will gather to learn democratically and accessibly. Join us at 2:30 at Middlesex Community College for a May Day Teach-in featuring speakers from the War Resisters League and the Middle East Crisis Committee. A group bike ride will be meeting outside 190 High St, the UOC, at 1:45 to bike to the Community College. A van from the Wesleyan Office of Community Service will be available at Parking Lot C on Church St, leaving at 2:15 and returning at 3:50.
It’s pretty much what you thought would happen: once you left Middletown for spring break, things got interesting. The ongoing saga over the proposed Washington Street commercial development entered a new phase of visibility when community activists, parents, children, professors, and students took to Wash and High St. for an hour yesterday afternoon, cycling around the intersection to present their opposition to the potential development to motorists.
Wesleyan’s institutional involvement in the decision opened with a proposal to move Broad Street Books to the new complex, if built. Though the bookstore plans were quickly canceled due to a chilly reception from the Wes community and Middletown, the administration is still contracted to sell its property in the area to the developer, Centerplan.
Below, see some interviews featuring Jen from Kid City ’88 (hello!) and Maggie Masselli ’16 (hi!), as well as footage of walk-signal coordinated crossings. More information after the jump; comments, corrections, and points of information welcomed.
In case you somehow missed it, there has been a lot of talk since last semester about a proposed development that could find itself right next to Wesleyan’s campus on Washington Street, between High and Pearl. For those who have strong interest and/or opinions about this topic, Middletown’s Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, February 27th at 7 p.m. that will address two zone-change proposals that could either allow or prevent this development from happening.
Specifically, the hearing will address the developers’ zoning code text amendment proposal — which would allow for more commercial development on Washington Street to go forward — and that of avid opponent to the development Ed Mckeon, which would make the zone under consideration become eligible for residential use only, thus preventing the development from going forward. More information about the two zone change proposals can be found here, but disregard the original pre-Nemo hearing date.
If you want to attend and/or testify at the hearing, here is some important information:
What: Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing on proposed zoning code text amendments Where: 245 DeKoven Drive, Council Chambers (in City Hall) When: February 27th at 7 p.m. If you plan on testifying: try to arrive before 7 p.m., and bring at least one printed copy of your testimony. You will only be given a couple minutes to deliver it, so make it concise.
For extensive reporting on all things Washington Street Development, check out the links after the jump (provided by the WSA).
According to various news sources such as the Middletown Eye, the hearing has been postponed to February 27th at 7 p.m. due to the epic amounts of snow. It will still occur in the Council Chambers of City Hall at 245 DeKoven Drive on that date though.
More information regarding the hearing and the issue at hand to come closer to the new hearing date, so stay tuned.
Remember that proposed commercial development on Washington Street that everyone got all worked up about last semester? Thought it was doomed when Wesleyan pulled out of the project, opting not to relocate its bookstore?
Think again. According to the Courant, dueling zone change requests have been filed for the neighborhoods surrounding Wesleyan, including that strip on Washington Street where the development would be located. Both seek to change portions of the “mixed-use” and “institutional” development zoning regulations. One of the requests comes from Centerplan developer Robert Landino, who presented the development at an open forum in November and was met with fierce community resistance. The other comes from Pearl Street resident Ed McKeon, an avowed opponent of what he calls a “cookie-cutter strip mall with carbon-copy National Chains.”
As the Courant explains it, Landino’s zone request seeks to permit a building with retail or restaurant space on the first floor, below office or residential spaces:
Attorney Ralph Wilson has filed a request on behalf of Landino, the president of Centerplan Companies who announced preliminary plans in November for a retail development on Washington Street between Pearl and High streets.
Middletown to CenterPlan: “I think this is just La La Land!”
Speaking of Tuesday’s open forum regarding the proposed Wesleyan bookstore relocation (liveblog here, additional coverage here), turns out our comrades over at the Middletown Eye managed to film the entire discussion, beginning with a presentation from developers CenterPlan and continuing with a whole barrage of comments from pissed off community members. Thanks, Middletown Eye!
You can check out a “highlight reel” courtesy of the Eyehere. My personal favorite clip, in which a bearded community member begins laughing and then stands up and volunteers to run for office to oppose the development, appears above. “I’ll do that!” he warns. “You watch.” A close second is this one, in which a rather disgruntled longtime Middletown resident Professor of Music Neely Bruce tells the CEO of CenterPlan that he’s living “in La La Land.”
Watch footage of the entire proceedings (it’s about 90 minutes total) below and past the jump. More on the discussion here.