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Fairfield Plans Golf Course, Town Hall Upgrade

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s government heard its first pitches for repair projects around town last week. Along $2 million worth of renovations to Fairfield’s schools, the town is considering an upgrade to Old Town Hall and long-overdue updates to H. Smith Richardson Golf Course .

“For the most part, we’re talking about work that was neglected over a 40-year-period,” said Golf Commission Chair Craig Curley, making his case for $105,000 worth of work at the public golf course next off-season.

Curley and the commission were one of three groups asking the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance Thursday to take on debt to pay for projects this spring. The town’s normal policy is to take on bonds for 10 to 20 years as long as the work being paid for would outlast interest payments.

The Golf Commission asked for $105,000 to upgrade seven bunkers and expand two tee boxes. The work, coming after what Curley called decades of neglect, is phase three of a 10-year plan to fully restore the course. To back up his case, he showed selectmen and finance board members photos of bunkers filled with water days after a rainstorm.

“We certainly recognize that we are not a private country club, we don’t try and pretend that we are or ask for a maintenance budget to support that type of luxury,” Curley said. “But what we are trying to do is indentify those items that are important to maintain or restore the course to a certain level of playability.”

The two boards also held their first hearing on $2 million worth of repairs at Fairfield’s schools. The requested list of work was approved by the Board of Education last month.

It includes some work delayed from last year, including bathroom upgrades at Jennings, repairs to Tomlinson’s facade and doors, and a new boiler at Dwight. The school board also hopes for new windows at Osborn Hill, new oil tanks at eight schools and an improved traffic plan at Tomlinson.

The town’s non-educational buildings are looking for improvements as well. Public Works Director Richard White asked for a total of $721,800 in funding for new tanks at his garage and to cover environmental cleanup at the Fire Department’s headquarters.

White also plans to install a backup generator at Old Town Hall to match the one at Sullivan Independence Hall. He said that after Irene and the Halloween snowstorm, it was clear that Fairfield needed a way to keep its other town hall running even with widespread power outages.

“In Old Town Hall we have 48 employees, and we also have some very key agencies,” White said, referring to the Town Clerk, the Registrars of Voters and the Tax Collector. “It would be unfortunate if they could get into work but couldn’t use the building because of a power outage.”

The Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance will vote on all of these projects in March. The projects would then go to the Representative Town Meeting in April. If they get approval from all three boards, the projects would be done between the coming summer and early 2013.

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