Drake: The Real State of Our Town Infrastructure

Submitted by Bill Drake, member of the Board of Estimate and Taxation

Every budget season the question is raised: does the Board of Estimate and Taxation appropriate enough money to maintain our town’s infrastructure?

The answer is yes.

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of false information which circulates.

Let’s review just the recent major projects: fully renovated Hamilton Avenue School ($21 million in 2006), all-new Police headquarters ($33 million, 2007), major renovations and additions to Glenville School ($22 million, 2008), Project Renew Witherell ($23 million, 2012), new Central Fire Station ($20 million in 2014), beautiful new Byram Pool ($9.5 million, 2016), extraordinary Greenwich High Performing Arts Center/MISA ($46 million, 2017), all-new New Lebanon School, ($36 million, 2017), all-new Eastern Greenwich Civic Center ($20 million, 2022).

And there’s more. We should add the over $100 million spent on Greenwich’s roads and bridges during this period. Is there more to be done?

There’s always more to be done. Can we find a door somewhere that needs painting, or a leaky basement? Sure, and the Town will face and finance these items, as we always have.

The clear reality is that our Town has extraordinary infrastructure, and the BET has always appropriated the funds to preserve its high quality.

Hamill Rink. Photo: Leslie Yager

Side note: a real weakness in our infrastructure is the Hamill Rink, 52 years old. This athletic venue doesn’t have a single shower nor the minimum requirement for public toilets and has no lavatories in the team locker rooms.

This building lacks thermal insulation and proper ventilation. It does not meet Life-Safety or ADA Compliance Codes and does not comply with the current Energy Codes.

Fortunately, this year’s budget has an appropriation to complete the design of a simple, modern, efficient replacement rink.

There are lots of demands on the town’s finances. Our Board will continue to weigh priorities in a deliberate manner. We are committed to maintaining Greenwich’s quality infrastructure.