War of Words: DTC and Camillo Spar over Glenville Corridor Project

A holiday weekend fracas is unfolding between Greenwich First Selectman Camillo and the Democratic Town Committee communications team.

A DTC email Friday morning claimed that Camillo had reneged on a campaign promise that the Glenville corridor project (CMAQ) would start in spring 2024.

Then, late Friday afternoon, Camillo released a strong statement to media saying, the DTC email had contained inaccuracies and accused them of playing politics.

Camillo insisted he’d never made promises about the Glenville corridor project.

Rather, he said he had only promised a sidewalk from Glenville Rd to Hawthorne.

“People of Greenwich will not be fooled by inaccurate statements, disingenuous headlines or distortions of reality,” Camillo said. “The most recent budget I submitted to the BET in January calls for the fulfillment of my campaign pledge to put a sidewalk on Weaver Street from its intersection with Hawthorne to Glenville Road.”

But there is a disconnect between Camillo’s statement and a video shared by Greenwich Democrats of Camillo at the packed August 14, 2023 forum where he answers a resident’s question about the timeline for the Glenville corridor project, saying it would start in spring 2024.

The town website also still says the project is anticipated to start in spring 2024.

On Friday evening a second DTC email said, “The (Camillo) statement contends we said he ‘has reneged on the campaign pledge of funding projects for pedestrian and public safety in Glenville.’ We did not write that. We also did not reference the sidewalk project that he does include in his budget for Glenville either.”

“We stated that he reneged on his pledge to start work on the Glenville Corridor Improvement Project in 2024,” Democrats wrote.

The Democrats shared a second video of DPW deputy commissioner Jim Michel fielding a question from the BET Budget Committee about the Glenville Corridor project during a hearing on Feb 6, 2024.

In it, Mr. Michel testifies that there was no funding request for the Glenville traffic corridor in this year’s budget, and that additional funding from the state was unlikely.

First Selectyman Camillo hosted a community forum at the Glenville fire station on Aug 14, 2023 where questions about the Glenville corridor project were posed.  The impetus for the forum came in June when residents opposed Camillo’s idea for a dog park along Hawthorne Street saying they would prefer attention be paid to the issues of traffic and parking in their neighborhood.

Camillo’s statement on Friday referred to remarks Mr. Michel shared at a Feb 15 meeting of the Active Transportation Committee meeting, calling them, “facts, not the political distortions that were in the DTC’s email.”

“The DTC should stick to promoting candidates and issues they believe in, not manipulating the facts to suit their agenda and wound political opponents,” Camillo wrote.

Afterward the Democrats email to media said, “We pride ourselves on accurate, careful and informative reporting, and will correct the record where it is required. We trust that as members of the news media you will independently determine where ‘inaccurate, disingenuous, distortions of reality’ emanate from.”

At the Feb 15, 2024 Active Transportation Committee meeting, DPW deputy commissioner Jim Michel said there were plans for a sidewalk on the park-side of Weaver Street from Glenville Rd to Hawthorne Street North. He said FY23 was a typo and that the project was in the 2024 budget. He said the project was not part of the Glenville Corridor Improvement Project. “This is something additional,” he said. (See 15:00 mark)

Also at 21:54 mark in the same Feb 15, 2024 meeting of the Active Transportation Committee, Mr. Michel explained the status of the Glenville corridor project, “CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality), saying, “In prior year’s funding we’ve asked for around $3 million. We’ve gone to bid twice on this project. It’s to improve the intersections between between Weaver Street and Glenville Street. Bids came both times right around $4.5 million. So, we’ve been trying to work with the state for additional funding. We haven’t been overly successful on that but we’re still trying to come up with different ways to fund this project. We may be looking to try to come to the BET and then the RTM looking for additional funding to try to get this project completed.”
“The town has appropriated up to the $3 million. Of the $3million, about $1.7 of it is coming from federal government, and that’s where we’re at….We can’t award a bid to a contractor that is more than the money we have appropriated.”
“We were told a few years ago that $3 million is the top of the line of what the BET really wants to appropriate towards this. Now I think we may want to have another conversation with them about this and see if they’re willing to reconsider that.”


See also:
Crowd at Glenville Forum Vents about Byram River Dam, Flooding, Traffic, Urbanization Aug 15, 2023

Neighbors Voice Strong Concerns about Parking, Traffic at Proposed Glenville Dog Park June 8, 2023