A call to support a petition to save the Country Club of Woodbridge clubhouse from demolition has been mailed out to all residents of the town. A group of concerned residents are petitioning the town for a referendum to sell the clubhouse with five acres, for re-use as a restaurant or banquet facility, and to keep 147 acres as a town park.
Peter Urbano, a local builder who originated the petition, said the town could put the clubhouse and land surrounding it out to bid for a minimum of $1.5 million, to turn it into a banquet facility, which would be considered a grandfathered use. That way it would put the property back on the tax rolls and “resolve the issue once and for all.” If 150 people sign it, the Board of Selectmen would be compelled to put the question out to referendum, he said.
The petition is a response to town officials considering adding the demolition of the building to a bonding proposal with several other projects, including renovations of the old firehouse, construction of a firehouse storage shed; several updates to the senior center; and refurbishment of some parts of the Beecher Road School roof. The building in its heyday was an elegant, large clubhouse, but its envelope deteriorated over the years, and the town decided to shutter the building. The reaction to the petition on social media was mixed.
“The clubhouse is in such poor condition it would have to be torn down by any acquiring party. Pipe dream to think it can be saved,” wrote one resident on Facebook. “There is a glut of places for a banquet facility in New Haven County,” argued another. “Woodbridge residents need to vote to sell this property and develop it.”
To Urbano, his proposal is a balanced approach. A number of proposals have come forward over the past 10 years, but they have been controversial, he said. Reviving a banquet facility in this location would be the least controversial, he said.
Several names and phone numbers are listed as possible contacts if people have questions: Paul DeCoster, (203) 387-4460; Chris Dickerson, (203) 430-0034; James Hubbard, (203) 623-0458; Susan Israel, (203) 605-7808; Maria Kayne, (203) 887-9065; Don Menzies, (203) 848-8483; Bill Silberberg (203) 397-0471; and Jim Urbano at (203) 627-4963.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent