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Two Clinton Businessmen Looking To Open Ice Rink

Eyeing the former town landfill property on Old Nod Road.

 

Two ambitious young men, town residents Joseph Defilippo and Greg Gallo, have approached the Board of Selectmen with a proposal: to open a two rink hockey/ice facility in town on unused, undeveloped town land.

The land they propose for the ice rink is the former town landfill on Old Nod Road, said First Selectman Willie Fritz. The property is 60 acres of which nine acres, say Defilippo and Gallo, would be used for the proposed two rinks.

Fritz said right now, the land is not used for anything and is off the books, meaning it generates no tax revenue for the town.

"The property was looked at in 2007 for a similar use but then the economy tanked," said Fritz.

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The proposal is that the two men would pay the town $1 a year to lease the property while they go through all the legal motions and approvals such as design review and planning and zoning, to receive the OK on the project.

"If it works and the rink is built, there will be a $1,000 a year lease," said Fritz.

In addition to the lease money, the development would bring in tax revenue, add jobs, and hopefully increase economic development activity in town.

Financing the project would be the responsibility of Defilippo and Gallo.

Selectman Thomas Vicino said he ran the proposal by the town's Economic Development Commission and they agreed that if it works, it would be a win-win for the town.

"People would come to town for the rink and use our gas stations, coffee shops, stores, etc.," said Vicino.

Fritz said a rink in North Branford, which sits on 6.1 acres, brings in $94,000 a year in tax revenue to that town.

"The old landfill area is already zoned industrial which allows for this use and there's a water line in place," said Fritz. "The town can reap the benefits."

All of the selectmen agreed that the project could be an economic advantage for the town.

"This would be getting the property back on the tax rolls," said Selectman Dolly Mezzetti.

Selectman Carol Walter admired the ambitions of the young men and said "it will be fabulous if it works out."

Debbie Lundgren May 24, 2012 at 04:31 PM
I think an ice-skating rink would be a great addition to the town, but I agree that it would be better if a vacant building in town could be used for this purpose. Then we could avoid the 'suburban sprawl' effect that draws traffic out into rural settings, where there are usually no sidewalks to protect pedestrians from motor vehicles, resulting in scenic areas that can no longer be safely enjoyed by pedestrians. The town, with its train and shuttle bus service, can more efficiently handle (and benefit from) the increased number of people coming in. However, if the Old Nod Road site is the only site that can accommodate a hockey rink, then the town and/or developers need to provide safe routes for pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as motorists, to access it.
Glenn Coffin May 24, 2012 at 09:07 PM
And they are popular - very. Given the number of positive comments and the fees that could be collected from use this could be a very lucrative deal. And Jay - why not post your whole name?
Susan Barr May 27, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I would live to see a rink in town but also agree that the site is wrong. I live on Old Nod Road and think there is already too much traffic and dangerous for families to walk, bike etc. I also agree that letting someone lease the land is asking for headaches because of contamination issues. Using an existing building would be ideal. There is the Ponds building and maybe the "old" Clinton high school would be a good site after the new one is built.
Mark June 26, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Plop, right in the middle of a residential zone. We need to see the details to comment and vote. I love to skate and develope brownfields, but at what cost to the existing residents surrounding the proposed location. See you Wednesday evening.
Bruce Farmer June 26, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Once again the Town is moving way too fast on a project without proper research as to the condition of the land in question; the actual plan ; the costs ; the way in which this project is being pushed without proper review or oversight by the necessary town commissions ; etc. "Table the project" until a complete and thorough review by all boards and commissions is performed. Bruce Farmer

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