Wreck-reation

Somewhere in Fairfield County, stowed away like the remnants of a crashed flying saucer, there is a recreation building without a home. Once destined for a plot of land in Western Fairfield, the crated remains of the County’s former future recreation plan has become an expensive albatross; bought and paid for, delivered in full and immediately mothballed five years ago. And now, the citizens of Dawkins and the surrounding area want it erected, staffed and open for business. After all, it is what County Council voted to do, at least in part, back in 2005.

The citizens of Western Fairfield, who have been appealing to Council for the last month for delivery of this Flying Dutchman of a building, absolutely deserve a state-of-the-art recreational facility in their community. Many other communities do as well, and that is something Council is going to have to consider before they start cutting checks out of next year’s budget. But the promises made to Western Fairfield go back eight years.

According to minutes from the Feb. 28, 2005 Council meeting, Council voted 5-1 “to provide the Recreation Commission $500,000, in addition to their budget, to provide a county wide recreation plan, beginning with a facility in Western Fairfield.”

A plan and a facility. Not a facility with no plan, and certainly not a plan with no facility. To date, we have neither.

The County has undertaken recreational studies, to be sure. And Monday night, Council requested another, updated recreation study. But a study is not a plan. It is, however, a great framework around which to construct a plan. With a half a million bond dollars allotted for each district in the coming fiscal year for the sole purpose of tackling the recreation problem in Fairfield County, it may be time to close the books on studies and roll out the blueprints on the plan.

The facility for Western Fairfield, meanwhile, was a casualty of legal and political turmoil between Council and the now defunct Commission. With the Commission dead, the County was left with a pig in a poke – a building, purchased with no bid, for which they had never even seen drawings. Construction of the building, according to the County, would consume almost the entirety of that district’s recreational budget, leaving little to no funding with which to outfit, plumb, wire and staff the facility. It would, in short, be little more than a hollow box.

Considering the 2005 vote, does a ‘facility’ necessarily mean a building? Perhaps not, and from all reports it certainly does not appear to mean the building sitting in crates off Old Airport Road. But whatever it does mean, the vote clearly indicates it should begin in Western Fairfield. The citizens there have waited long enough. We urge Council to make them wait no longer.

Speak Your Mind

*