If you’ve driven through our Town Center Campus lately, you’ve likely noticed dozens of differently colored small flags in the ground and white spray-painted lines on the pavement.
This is a visual indicator that our microgrid project is underway!
The Town’s microgrid – thanks to a $3 million State grant – will connect our Town Hall, Public Works, Center Building, Library, former Firehouse, new Firehouse and Amity Regional High School to a fuel cell at Amity High School. During normal operation, the fuel cell provides power to United Illuminating’s power grid and provides free waste heat to the school. When the power goes out, our microgrid will turn on and the fuel cell will automatically provide power to the above-mentioned buildings. This will help the Town provide residents with critical uninterrupted service during power outages.
Once the microgrid is live, our Police, Fire, Public Works and emergency shelter (at the Center Building), as well as Amity High School, will be able to operate without the need to use generators during power outages. This clean and reliable power source will be particularly important during prolonged power outages when residents will be welcome to charge cell phones and get water from our Town buildings.
Construction of the microgrid started at Amity High School during spring break and will continue along Newton Road and Meetinghouse Lane throughout the spring and summer. You may see short sections of one-lane roads due to this construction. It is anticipated that the entire project will be completed by late fall.
This is a massive undertaking that requires careful coordination between the Town, United Illuminating, Amity High School and the State. I’d like to thank everyone involved for making sure that this process runs smoothly and safely.
I am pleased to report that, as of this writing, two potentially contentious Town issues have been resolved: continuation of the School Resource Officer at Beecher Road School for the 2017-18 school year and opening of the CCW pool for the 2017 season.
A School Resource Officer (SRO) is a specially trained local police officer assigned to work at a school. Both Beecher Road School and Amity High School have SROs: the cost of the Amity SRO is part of the Amity budget and this year there was an effort to switch the Beecher SRO from the Police Department budget to that of the school.
The Beecher Board of Education did not feel it could cover the costs of the SRO and, after hearing the strong support of Beecher parents for additional funding, the Board of Finance has added funding to the Beecher budget for the express purpose of paying for the SRO.
Another issue of concern to many Woodbridge residents is the viability of the Country Club of Woodbridge pool. Town Commissions and staff have spent a great deal of time assessing the condition of the pool and its associated amenities to assure that it can be open this summer safely and at reasonable cost.
As of this writing, it is quite certain that the pool will be open this summer, although the small bath house and the kiddie pool will not be available because of safety concerns. If the pool is to continue beyond this year, significant investment will need to be made; this decision will fall to the new Board and Commission members who take office in July.
There is a great deal of work necessary to ready the pool for opening and every effort is being made to have it all completed by Memorial Day. Our volunteer board members and Town employees have made an extraordinary effort to make this happen for our community. Our hope is that pool members will be patient while we work to make the pool safe for them.
Thanks to the diligence of the Board of Finance and our Finance Director, Tony Genovese, we have accomplished all this and more with a tax increase of only 1.31% for the average Woodbridge taxpayer.