Council names facilities, aquatics committees

The town is looking for ways to create up-to-date spaces for the library, senior center, a new aquatics center and even the Trumbull Board of Education. This effort, according to town officials, will find the best way to create an affordable and relevant capital building plan. The aquatics center could be created instead of updating the Hillcrest and Tashua pools.

According to First Selectman Vicki Tesoro, taking on the four locations could cost the town millions.

“The Trumbull landscape has changed since I took office,” Tesoro said. “The library is now seeking over $6 million for renovations and Dr. [Gary] Cialfi informed me that the Board of Education will be seeking $3.5 million for new administrative offices. The recent cost estimates for the proposed community/senior center totaled over $20 million. That is potentially a $30 million bonding proposal for all three projects, a sum we can ill afford at this time."  

Also, the schools predict they will be seeking funds to make updates to their buildings, Tesoro said.

“That’s why I think we should look at all of our facilities at one time,” Tesoro said, addressing the Trumbull Town Council Monday night.

The town approved forming two committees — the Community Facilities Building Committee and the Aquatics Facilities Building Committee — to make a plan by July of next year on what the best thing to do for the buildings.

The committees were passed with a nearly unanimous vote, with only Carl Massaro, Jr. opposing. Massaro said there was a previous community center study and building committee in place to look at the buildings, so why form new ones? Tesoro said the old committee had completed its work, and these new committees will be looking at things differently.

“I believe they said their work was done and they were done,” said Tesoro.

She added, “In the past, in my opinion, we have looked at building projects in a silo,” said Tesoro. “That approach is untenable based on the community’s needs. I would like to recommend a different approach where we look at our building and facility needs in a comprehensive fashion to see where we can find synergies, efficiencies and perhaps consolidations to deliver the most cost effective solutions to meet our needs.”

Joe Pifko, who was a co-chairman of the previous committee, said his committee had prepared the information upon which the public had been expected to vote.

“The issue of the community center was always intended to go to referendum by all political  parties, but only after the electorate was well informed as to what services the center will have, what it will look like, where it would be located and most importantly, how much it would cost the average homeowner,” Pifko wrote in a letter to the Times (full text here).

The council proceeded to appoint members to the committees. On the Community Facilities Building Committee are: town councilman Dawn Cantafio (Democrat) of Tait Road, Lori Hayes-O’Brien of Old Tree Farm Lane (unaffiliated), Gail Ritacco of Tudor Lane (Democrat), town councilman Ted Chase (Republican) and Tony Silber of Stag Lane (Democrat).

On the Aquatics Facilities Building Committee are: town councilman Jason Marsh of Tashua Lane (Democrat), Michael Redgate of Briarcroft Avenue, Marcy Markham of Stony Brook Circle (unaffiliated), Jay Orenstein of Walker Road (Democrat), and town councilman Paul Verbitsky (Republican).