Two ambitious young men, town residents Joseph Defilippo and Greg Gallo, have approached the Board of Selectmen with a proposal: to open a two rink hockey/ice facility in town on unused, undeveloped town land.
The land they propose for the ice rink is the former town landfill on Old Nod Road, said First Selectman Willie Fritz. The property is 60 acres of which nine acres, say Defilippo and Gallo, would be used for the proposed two rinks.
Fritz said right now, the land is not used for anything and is off the books, meaning it generates no tax revenue for the town.
"The property was looked at in 2007 for a similar use but then the economy tanked," said Fritz.
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The proposal is that the two men would pay the town $1 a year to lease the property while they go through all the legal motions and approvals such as design review and planning and zoning, to receive the OK on the project.
"If it works and the rink is built, there will be a $1,000 a year lease," said Fritz.
In addition to the lease money, the development would bring in tax revenue, add jobs, and hopefully increase economic development activity in town.
Financing the project would be the responsibility of Defilippo and Gallo.
Selectman Thomas Vicino said he ran the proposal by the town's Economic Development Commission and they agreed that if it works, it would be a win-win for the town.
"People would come to town for the rink and use our gas stations, coffee shops, stores, etc.," said Vicino.
Fritz said a rink in North Branford, which sits on 6.1 acres, brings in $94,000 a year in tax revenue to that town.
"The old landfill area is already zoned industrial which allows for this use and there's a water line in place," said Fritz. "The town can reap the benefits."
All of the selectmen agreed that the project could be an economic advantage for the town.
"This would be getting the property back on the tax rolls," said Selectman Dolly Mezzetti.
Selectman Carol Walter admired the ambitions of the young men and said "it will be fabulous if it works out."