Letter: More needs to be done to preserve beauty, history



To the editor,

I read with dismay the headline in the Dec. 29 Sunday Republican American, “Borough mulls big changes.”

“How much is this going to cost me,” I thought. I found out.

We are now in phase one of the 12-year plan, the renovation of the high school, which will cost $81 million. Then there are plans for a new $86 million middle school and $90 million to renovate and expand elementary schools. I realize that there will be funding from the state and federal governments but it certainly is not 100 percent.

I am in my 80s and have not had children in school for 40 years, yet my taxes go up every year mostly from the education budget. There is a great percentage of the town’s population that is retired and on a fixed income. Our social security payments have barely risen in the past few years. For our taxes, we get streets plowed, trash picked up and a paid police and fire department. The outrageously high retirements for these departments are one of the reasons for our high taxes. Naugatuck has the third highest tax rate in Connecticut (source: www.ct.gov/opm). We are really unfortunate to make the top ten.

It has been suggested that the town hall be torn down. A beautiful children’s library was razed to make room for this monstrosity. The old town hall was of a similar design as the Thomaston Opera House, still in use today as a theater.

Building 25, the last building standing of the United States Rubber Co., will now be destroyed because the town officials stalled so long that it can no longer be saved. This is an important part of Naugatuck’s history and was supposed to be the home of the historical society. There is still a $460,000 grant for the restoration of this building. The society spent $40,000 in donations to board up windows, etc.

The Tuttle House will become the new home of the historical society. Only the first floor is handicapped accessible. Who will be able to see the exhibits unless an elevator is installed? The train station, which is now the home of the historical society, will be sold. This building was designed by Henry Bacon, the architect of the gorgeous Lincoln Memorial. What will become of this treasure?

According to “the plan,” Hillside School, another treasure, will become the town hall. The parking is not desirable for people who have to go there. Also, there are stipulations that the educational buildings must be used for education.

Naugatuck has probably got the most beautiful downtown area of any in the state, and perhaps the nation, thanks to the generosity of the Whittemore family. The buildings and the Green were designed by the most famous architects of the day. Our town officials have done nothing to preserve the beauty and history of Naugatuck. Ours is a “throw-away” town and it breaks my heart.

Shirley Anderson