The Orange Board of Selectmen met at Town Hall on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Following are Notes from that meeting:
The first hour of the meeting was dedicated to the apparent Orange Community Nursery School displacement.
Orange Community Nursery School at High Plains were told on July 16th they’d have to vacate the location during building renovations and asbestos abatement.
The School administrator wants renovations to the classroom area and an extended lease for the preschool.
A parent said 1 in 5 children at Mary L come through OCNS and excel in school in the future.
She said they weren’t told soon enough that they would be displaced and it is not fair.
Another parent who signed his son up for September said he was shocked and disgusted with the way his and 54 other families have been treated regarding this matter.
Yet another dad said these pre-school years are very important in a child’s formative years.
A tearful mom said the school has made arrangements to move temporarily to a space in Woodbridge, but it will be difficult to get to school events on work days.
The first selectman who took the brunt of the blame spoke next.
He said the reason they were not informed sooner was that the project had to go out to bid a second time and it did not come through or meet approval until last month’s selectmen’s meeting.
Many improvements to the two rooms used by the school had been planned.
He said the town granted the school a new lease and approved the 5-year lease at a very reasonable cost.
Zeoli’s belief was that the school would be displaced for a couple of weeks, but because of some of the work, it’s safer for the children not to be there. The school is more than welcome to return in 2019 through the end of their contract.
The school is not the only group that is being inconvenienced by the renovations. CERT, Scouts, Seniors and more also are being affected by the building work. It has to be done and there is no convenient time to do it.
Zeoli said he called several places in town to help out and nothing was available. In the audience the school’s administrator, Danielle, shook her head “no” and he called her out on it.
The Community Center renovations came up at the town meetings, a referendum and budget hearing at which everyone had an opportunity to voice their opinions and to vote.
Zeoli revealed that a new playground was going to be built on the other side of the basketball courts and if the nursery school did not like their private playground anymore they could take it down and use the new one.
Selectman Mitch Goldblatt, who is chairman of the bond oversight committee said the electricity will be disrupted and there are contaminant abatements that need to be done when the children are not present.
Selectman John Carangelo said he has small children and he is sad that everyone is so frustrated by this issue, but the town has entered into a contract and the work has to be done.
Danielle said she did not have any idea of what was going on until the week of Father’s Day. Furthermore, she said the Park and Rec Department ruins the school’s playground every summer and it costs her a fortune to keep it up to state standards when school begins.
The last mom at the podium said as the mother of small children, her nighttime schedule includes making dinner, doing homework, getting the kids bathed and ready for bed and there really isn’t time to attend meetings.
She also said that she wished she knew more about what was discussed at meetings and what was on the agendas of meetings so she could be better informed.
Agendas and Minutes can be found at https://www.orange-ct.gov/ and you can sign up for e-mail blasts with whatever information interests you.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon the free paper shredding, mattress disposal and Orange Community Women’s Collection drive will take place at High Plains Community Center.
On Monday, Sept. 3, Town Hall and the Transfer Station will be closed for Labor Day
The town went out for bonding maintained an AAA bond rating – the best you can get.
Fire Marshal requested a new vehicle for the fire marshal’s office “special services vehicle” 2006 SUV is worn out, need a new one to carry equipment need approval for a 2018 Chevy Tahoe (the least expensive vehicle) Unanimously approved
Other departments want to do the same thing and the work would be contracted together with them through a company that is an “expert” in police cellblock doors.
A large wet parcel behind Best Buy would be gifted to the town. It will put a nice buffer between the commercial and residential zones in the area. The Zoning Commission recommended approval and the “gift” was Unanimously approved by the Selectmen.
The property that was planned for the Orange Train Station, which came up at the Plan and Zoning Commission also was discussed. Click on the “On Demand” button at the upper left of this page to hear the lengthy discussion.