September 25, 2008

New school site eyed on Chippens Hill

With a West End sand pit no longer on the table as a potential site for a proposed new school, officials are eyeing at least two Chippens Hill parcels as alternatives.
At the top of the list, and pushed by Mayor Art Ward, is the former Roberts property, which the city already owns.
But it’s not clear it can garner the support of the West Bristol School Building Committee or the City Council.
A new site, however, may stand a better chance.
Several officials, including Superintendent Philip Streifer, said that a lot at the corner of Clark Avenue and Matthews Street may be suitable.
It’s apparently available and may fit the bill for one of the 900-student, kindergarten to eighth grade buildings sought by the Board of Education, officials said.
What’s most clear, though, is that a decision has to be made within weeks or the entire $130 million plan for two new schools – one at the former Crowley dealership in Forestville and one somewhere in the western part of the city – will fail because there won’t be enough time to finish required work before the June 13, 2010 deadline set by the state for the project to get underway.
Ward said that the deadline could be extended, but Streifer and other school officials said it’s not going to happen.
Streifer said he'll ask the West Bristol School Building Committee to get moving as fast as it can to find a new site. A special meeting has been called for the panel on Wednesday to begin the process formally.
Ward said he plans to meet with the city's legislative delegation early next week to talk about pushing through a bill to give the city more time to complete the preliminary work on the school project.He said he also wants legislation to waive the requirement that the city buy an equivalent parcel if it opts to use the former Roberts property for a school.
Ward said he sought during the last legislative session to enact a measure that would free the city of the requirement. He said it had the backing of the entire delegation except for state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Bristol Democrat and former mayor.
Nicastro said it’s true that he wouldn’t sign on to the plan.
He said that when he was mayor, he had the city buy the 46-acre parcel from the Roberts family for use as a recreation complex and that’s what he’d still like to see.
But what kept him from agreeing to the bill, he said, was his feeling that the measure “wasn’t the proper way” to proceed because there hadn’t been any public input into it beforehand.
Nicastro, who is also a city councilor, said that he wants to hear what the public has to say and for a consensus to emerge before he will consider supporting the idea that Ward is promoting.
“Something like that, you just don’t jump into,” Nicastro said.
Ward said he asked state Rep. Bill Hamzy, a Plymouth Republican whose 78th District includes the former Roberts parcel, to try to secure passage for the bill during the last session.
Hamzy lined up everyone except Nicastro, Ward said.
While the legislative issues may have been more complex than even Ward realized, Ward said he’s going to try again for a special measure as soon as January.
“It would at least give us another option for consideration,” the mayor said.
It may be, however, that it’s not much of an option.
It appears the only city councilor who supports the site for a school, besides Ward, is Republican Mike Rimcoski.
Several insiders said Thursday that the best bet is probably to find a site that hasn’t been on the agenda before, which is why the new lot is being looked at so closely.
Most officials believe that the four council supporters of the Scalia site on Barlow Street – Kevin McCauley, Cliff Block, Ken Cockayne and Craig Minor – are likely back a nearby site that doesn’t have any obvious pitfalls.
It’s possible that Ward might even join them, some said.
Nicastro and Rimcoski are considered less likely to support the new site than the others.
What makes it especially attractive, some said, is that the Planning Commission can be brought in early and might well back it because it has better roads and it’s less isolated than the Scalia pit.
Because planners gunned down the Scalia site on a unanimous vote this week, a two-thirds vote would be needed for the council to support its purchase. That won’t happen, everyone concedes.
But if planners back a new Chippens Hill site, then only the four councilors who backed Scalia would be needed to force its purchase.
What the West Bristol school panel might do is harder to say. It refused once before to change the Scalia site when councilors asked for a new option.
This time, though, there appears to be no way to proceed unless the site committee shifts its support to a new location.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

Artie is like a little kid playing with the big boys and trying to prove himself.

Anonymous said...

No school on the Roberts property. The message has been sent loud and clear by the neighbors and the community.

The little runt, Ward and his buddy Ragaini are the only two who can get it threw thier heads.

This will be another case where Rimcoski says after its over with: "Did I vote for that?"

Where am I is Rimcosk's motto

Anonymous said...

Do you think the mayor realizes that people are polite to his face and then turn around go "geez, what the hell is going on with this guy? He is absoliutely clueless." What a way to live, never knowing who is really being nice and who is just trying to get along but in reality thinks you are a moron.

Anonymous said...

at least wardie is thinking about us taxpayers, we wouldn't have to be buying property - we already own it.

Anonymous said...

"What a way to live, never knowing who is really being nice and who is just trying to get along but in reality thinks you are a moron."

....The Mayor's moving things forward (and judging from their angry comments, it's absolutely killing the opposition!)....Way to go Mayor Ward!

PS - For those who are just "trying to get along"....we all KNOW who the real morons are!!! LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

How is the selection of Chippens Hill site ( Robert's Property) consistent with City's plan of Conservation and Development for an urban city?

This site choice continues to reflect a suburban style development pattern (creating basic services a distant locations from those being served).
The choice has little regard for neigbborhoods. ( either those being served, or those being imposed upon).
This choice refutes the goal and mission of the City Plan to
develop a walkable community, to create neighborhood anchors, to conserve and to maintain open spaces.

Anonymous said...

"The little runt, Ward and his buddy Ragaini are the only two who can get it threw thier heads."

"The litte runt?" (You've just gotta love how these people always resort to name-calling in lieu of a valid argument!)

Thank God Ward and Ragaini didn't let the idea go THROUGH their heads because it's a good idea that will save our city a fortune, and it sounds like saving the taxpayers' money is a concept that some city council members THREW out the window (along with their dictionaries)!

Anonymous said...


You, along with Wardie, don't seem to realize that while we own it, there are restrictions.
Unless the legislture changes the rules, we would have to refund the money or acquire and commit a like piece of property.

Isn't it ironic that one of Arties friends owns a like piece of property.

Also, our credability in Hartford is going down the tubes.

Thanks Art

Anonymous said...

Has Nicastro ever come out and said what west end of Bristol he would support.
It appears that all the other council people do all the meaningful voting.

Anonymous said...

what west end site is Nicastro supporting ??

Anonymous said...

Welcome to 2008 10:05 - we have this new thing called a "bus" now. Most of the kids take them to school!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to 2008: gas for those things called buses is extremely expensive. It is better for our finances, for the environment, and for children's physical well-being to encourage walking to nearby neighborhood schools.

Anonymous said...

10:30a.m. - stupid, if you read what ward is asking, it is for the legislature to "change the law" and allow for an EXEMPTION" from the restrictions - duh.
The exemption would exempt us from the cost of replacing the land needed for the school facility and be less of a burden on the taxpayers because WE OWN the property and wouldn't have to SPEND MORE TAXPAYERS DOLLARS to purchase other lands. COMPREHEND?

Anonymous said...

I bet Nicastro would support rehabilitation efforts for our existing schools, if the BOE ever presented the much less expensive alternative choice.
I bet he would support smaller schools for the children.
I bet he would support walkable neighborhood schools.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately 11:19, it is 2008 and expensive gas or not, parents don't let their children walk to school anymore, even if they live next door.

Anonymous said...

Lets see!

The only councilman who thinks the Roberts property is a good one is Rimcowski. Wards right handman...part of the good old boy's! Ward doesnt' seem to get along with any other councilmen...I see a pattern here...just like last term when he didn't get along with any of them. The public doesn't seem to want the school on the Roberts Property.

With no support for the Roberts except for Rimcoski who is sleeping most of the time, I wonder why Ward is still pushing for the Roberts. What campaign promiss did he make and too who?

Keep up the good work continue to move Bristol Back-Ward!!

Anonymous said...

What issue has Ward really taken on this year? He's done nothing productive and not taken a stance on any tough issue. He keeps avoiding and passing the buck.

He has no support from most of the council, including the great Nicastro!

Ellen for Mayor 2009!

Anonymous said...


Ain't that easy.

You need legislation to do so, and our credability is nil.

Also, more than one state department is involved; that can be dicey.

Never enumerate your feathered progeny before they fully incubated.

Anonymous said...

Bristol's so-call "delegation" is lucky that Nicastro refused to sign off on their sneaky little piece of midnight legislation, because they would have looked pretty stupid when the City Council rejected using the Roberts Property anyway. Don't they read the newspapers? Are they totally subservient to "King" Arthur?

Anonymous said...

"Ward doesnt' seem to get along with any other councilmen"

Golly, isn't that too bad. This isn't a popularity contest. The councilmen are supposed to be working with the mayor for the betterment of Bristol, but it seems many of our BOYS are too busy carrying grudges and sharpening knives to stick in the mayor's (and each others') back.

The sad thing is that Bristol loses while these children play their games....

Anonymous said...

12:04 Parents would be better off walking as well. There might be a little less obesity. Do we really need to drive next door?

Anonymous said...

2:41p.m. - ward seems to be doing fine with the little support that he gets, at least he isn't crying over it like the wimps who are trying to stiff him.
He isn't afraid to step up like he is supposed to or hide rather than make a decision, like some others.

Anonymous said...

Bristol has the highest number of athletic fields of any city in New England. If the BOE didn't insist on adding ten acres of recreation space to every school project this site location process would be far less a problem

Buy and clean up the factory site on Teryville Avenue where Gavelik is.

Marie O’Brien can get the remediation money, there is adequate land, it is already for sale and it is on a major road not far from Bingham school.


I fixed the problem. Now stop whining and get to work

Anonymous said...

Ward is wrong on this.

-Why build a middle school (K-8) next to another one (Chippens Hill)?

-And they're going to bus students from the southwestern part of Bristol all the way up to the Robert's Property?

It's preposterous. Only a bunch of complete idiots would approve the Robert's Property for the new K-8 location.

Does anyone see how stupid this idea is?

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve, how about an interview with Bristl's "delegation"? I think Ward is full of crap implying that this is being worked on and there is a general consensus to pursue this.

Anonymous said...

Work with Ward like Ward worked with the previous administration?

How soon you forget!!!

Anonymous said...

Dont feel bad about the council being against Ward if the chance came along he WOULD stab you in the back. I have seen him do it.

As for Tom Regeni he is just a nother yes master man for Ward. He follows him like a puppy dog. Does he have a JOB

Think Ward is a one time Jerky mayor.

Anonymous said...

And how many parents would revolt if we built a scool on a polluted, but remediated site?

People are upset with Crowleys site, and that had way less pollution.

Just another roadblock, slowdown tactic.

What decision has Ward actually made?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Stortz wasn't so bad after all.

Anonymous said...

Stortz sucked. What did he do besides stall all progress in every area of our city. He had to go. With hindsite being 20/20 we would already have something downtown if it weren't for him. Thanks for nothing! We didn't want the $45 million in state aid that was originally proposed. We are fine with getting all private developers. Now look where we are. Thanks for nothing Bill!

Anonymous said...

Being on the inside I can comfortably say that Stortz did not request the 45 million, but he did inherit the obligations that went with spending part of it.

He also took the politics out of the process.

Progress was made in many other areas, but apparently you don't pay enough attention to be aware.

Along side Ward he sure Stortz sure looks good, and certainly better than anyone the repubhlicans have waiting in the wings.

Anonymous said...

t least COuture had a plan...Dtortz had nothing.
Maybe its becasue he is a nothing.

Anonymous said...

I watch the council meetings on nutmeg and I dont see any backstabbing. What are you t alking bout? Maybe your hearing Artie crying in his beer at Sportys???

Anonymous said...

Ward is right on this.

-Why build a middle school (K-8) next to another one (Chippens Hill)? - Why not? What's the big deal if there are 2 schools close to each other? Maybe they can pool resources.

-And they're going to bus students from the southwestern part of Bristol all the way up to the Robert's Property? - ALL THE WAY, wow! It'll take a whole 5 minutes longer for the bus to get there. Once again, who cares?

It's preposterous. Only a bunch of complete idiots would approve the Robert's Property for the new K-8 location. - We already own the property. We meet the deadline for the funding. Only an idiot would not approve of the location.

Anonymous said...

"Dont feel bad about the council being against Ward if the chance came along he WOULD stab you in the back. I have seen him do it."

Exactly the type of childish behavior I'm talking about. If certain city councilmen spent their time working for Bristol's betterment instead of working at thwarting Ward's attempts at it, we'd all be better off. I don't feel bad for Ward. I feel bad for US!

Anonymous said...

Give examples of Stortz progress.

Anonymous said...

What "thwarting" are you talking about? Give us some examples, or shut up.

Anonymous said...

"I watch the council meetings on nutmeg and I dont see any backstabbing"

Uh gee 1:28, they don't actually pull knives out and start going at it on public television....they prefer to do their backstabbing behind closed doors and anonymously here on the blog.

Anonymous said...


I am a democrat and work at City Hall.

Some of the things that were accomplished during the Stortz administration were.

The cemetary committee, headed by Ellen Zoppo made great progress because Stortz supported the efforts and appoinyted a great committee.

Stortz more than tripled the number of Women and Minorities on Boards.

He reinstituted the dormant Flood and Erosion Control Committee, which initiated study of the problem plaquing the city.

He cut overtime drastically.

He instituted the Boulevard Theater Committee which is functioning nicely and we do need a better theater in Bristol.

The traffic improvements on N. Main street from Center to Riverside Ave have been a blessing and did not cost an arm and leg.

He got Co-pay on the one contract he negotiated.

He would have moved the Engine 1 Firehouse but could not get support.

He made other changes that were not as dramatic, but were meaningful such a increasing the road paving budget, and coming up with a better means of treating snowy streets.

The Mall was a drag, but at least he got us straightened out with the state so that we didn't lose the funding.

Hope this is what you were looking for.

Anonymous said...

they prefer to do their backstabbing behind closed doors and anonymously here on the blog.

OK, tell me what their doi ng behind closed doors then.