To the Editor:
Like most small towns in Connecticut and probably everywhere else, big projects, even if well-intentioned, never seem to make any real effort to include the neighborhood residents/community members where the projects are being proposed.
The majority of attendees at these meetings were town officials and employees, real estate developers and investors, and various influential local and regional business interests. There was virtually no representation from the townspeople who live and work in the neighborhood affected by the project.
Our town, like most, does the bare minimum to inform, include and educate the impacted residents.
Only the public or private "revenue generation" of people not living in the neighborhood seems to be a concern.
Parts of this project seem great. But, it does beg the question: Where is the study on how this will impact these residents?
The median income of the Census Block group in the area targeted for this project is $29,038 — almost three times lower than New Milford's median income of $89,949.
Most of the residents in this area are middle and lower-income; most are tenants.
How will these redevelopment projects impact the property values?
Low/fixed-income people lucky enough to be homeowners will face the potential of rising property value/taxes from the added infrastructure and amenities.
Do they sell their homes and move away even though they lived here for decades?
Will the rising property values/taxes encourage landlords to adapt to the "market" and raise the rent? Will they evict the current tenants to get higher rents?
No actual affordable housing to be part of this project. What happens to the naturally affordable housing already there?
How will the town address this? Will it be more of "That's just the way things are?"