Happy New Year! I am excited for our Town as we begin 2020 together.
My first update relates to the former Country Club of Woodbridge property. A Special Town Meeting and Referendum will be scheduled by the Board of Selectmen once the contract negotiations are complete.
Please check the Town’s website and/or the Town e-newsletter (sign up here: Tinyurl.com/WoodbridgeEnewsletter) for the exact dates.
The Town proposes to sell approximately 60 of the approximately155 acres (39% of the land) for $5.4 million for construction by Insite/Wernert of no more than 120 units of free-standing active adult (55+) housing. Additionally, Insite/Wernert, at no cost to the Town, will remove the old clubhouse, renovate the Town pool, build a new pool house for use by Town residents, and create walking trails to optimize appreciation of the beauty of the undeveloped portion of approximately 95 acres. After completion, the Town will realize approximately $1.5 million annually in tax revenue in property taxes, plus additional tax revenue in personal property taxes, and an estimated $500,000 in building permit fees.
I think we all agree that we must reduce our mill rate and bring relief to taxpayers. The Town has few opportunities to grow much-needed revenue. The opportunity to sell a portion of the former country club property (and retain over 60% of the property) may never come again. Our debt on the property is not due to be paid off for another 12 years. With the proposed sale we will pay off the $4.2 million debt remaining on the property (saving $500,000 every year in principal and interest) and also receive $1.2 million dollars available for other projects.
Most importantly, the Town will retain approximately 95 acres for Town use. We plan to engage a landscape architect to advise us on passive recreational uses for this beautiful parcel of undeveloped land. I am committed to do this, whether or not the approximately 60 acres are sold for development of senior housing. I am excited by the potential of this undeveloped parcel. Residents who have contacted me have suggested many ideas for a beautiful park with a picnic area, sledding hill, walking trails, a solar park, and a splash pad (a few of many creative suggestions). Following the referendum, I plan to establish an ad hoc committee of residents who will work with the landscape architect to develop our plans, depending upon monies we might have to do so.
Another ongoing project is a bike and pedestrian plan for the Town. Many residents enjoy walking, running and cycling for exercise, to enjoy nature, and to get around. We are developing a survey asking for your feedback about how to make Woodbridge safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Please take a few minutes to answer the survey (hard copy or online). We value your input!
We also continue to focus on Woodbridge businesses. Keep an eye out for our new “Love Your Local” program, which will detail specials available at local businesses during the month of February. If you’d like your business to be featured, please reach out to Betsy Yagla at 203-389-3403 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next time you need a product or service, please look first at the Town’s online business directory (woodbridgect.org/business) and shop local!
As always, my door is open. I welcome your thoughts on any topic. Please call me at 203-389-3401, email me at email@example.com, or stop by to visit.
Let’s work together in the New Year to continue to enhance the quality of life in our beautiful town.