Voters should not pass up an opportunity for the town to purchase the property at the corner of Norfield Road and Weston Road. If ever there was a piece of land that should belong to the town, 48 Norfield Road is it.
A Town Meeting is being asked to decide three things on Tuesday night:
1. Should the town purchase the property and buildings for a price not to exceed $750,000?
2. Should the Board of Finance be authorized to determine the most appropriate method for funding the purchase?
3. Should the first selectman be authorized to act on the town’s behalf to negotiate and execute the purchase agreement and funding agreements?
It’s a hard decision to make, because the $750,000 price tag is not small change. And if the town wants to make any improvements to the house and land, more money — a lot more money — will need to be spent. The finance board, however, has some good solid fiscally responsible ideas about how to make this work with as little negative financial impact as possible. The thing to remember is this is an investment that is well worth the cost.
This piece of property really is the missing piece in the town “superblock,” the land that includes town hall, the police station and communications center, the Norfield Fire Station, the library, the bus depot, and all four schools. It completes a contiguous, publicly owned town center and creates a jewel smack dab in the middle of Weston that is invaluable.
One concern of many, in addition to the cost, is the fact that town officials do not know exactly what they will do with the property if the town buys it. A global facilities committee is working with consultants on both the school and town sides of the coin to determine what the town’s overall space needs are. There have been rumblings about moving land use offices there; or maybe the Parks and Recreation Department; or maybe giving EMS some space there; or maybe doing nothing with it for awhile.
And that’s the thing — it doesn’t really matter what the town does with 48 Norfield, and it certainly doesn’t have to jump in and do anything at all right away. But owning the property — a one-acre piece of land that really is the “gateway to Weston” — opens up some incredible opportunities. The first step toward exploring and eventually capitalizing on any of those opportunities is simply saying, “yes, we want it.”
By voting “yes” on Tuesday night, June 25, at 7:30 in the Community Room at the library, voters will put this town jewel where it belongs: in their own hands.