Army Refuses To Show Its Cards in Middletown

The U.S. Army has decided not to rank the sites for the proposed Armed Forces Reserve Center in Middletown.   And that means that residents in Middletown still don't know which way the Army is leaning.

Three sites are still under evaluation using guidelines in the National Environmental Policy Act. 

A fourth site, the former Reserve Center on Mile Lane, will not be considered. 

The selection process has been a controversial one for many residents in Middletown.  There have been a number of public hearings about choosing a site.  Federal law requires the selection of a new site, according to an Army memorandum. 

"Since the BRAC [Base Realignment and Closure Commission] recommendation requires relocation...the Army does not have a legal basis under BRAC rule to retain this property," the memorandum stated. 

The three remaining sites are the city of Middletown's choice for the reserve center, 40 acres including Cucia Park that are owned by the city; "Bysiewicz Industrial Park", 35 acres on Middle Street, owned privately; and 125 acres between Kenneth Dooley Drive and Boardman Lane. 

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D), questioned why the list continues to include an environmentally sensitive site along Boardman Lane.  DeLauro said she spoke with Army Corps District Commander Col. Keith Landry on Friday about the continued inclusion of the tract off Boardman. 

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he's surprised and disappointed to see the Army still considering the Boardman Lane site.

"No decision on a specific site has been made and will not be made until the completion and issuance of the final environmental studies," Col. Landry said Monday afternoon. 

Debbie Turrell, tenant of an 88-acre farm at the Kenneth Dooley Drive site, told us that she believes the army will choose that site despite environmentally sensitive wetlands and a ledge that makes construction difficult.

The proposed center would house a vehicle maintenance shop, a storage facility, administrative offices and classrooms for citizen soldiers.

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