Prison closure discussion
We had a very productive public forum with many of the key executive branch and legislative players who will be involved in the prison repurposing process. We heard about the status of the prison farm as well as the deliberative process and timetable that will be used to determine the future of the facility. (Only land within the fence, the 800+ acres will remain a Wildlife Management Area). A video of that meeting can be found here.
During the meeting is was made clear that there is interest and expectation by both the executive and legislative branch to hear what Windsor’s objectives are for the property. In addition, the process is very open to specific idea (s) from Windsor for property use. It was emphasized that any ideas must have broad support from the community as well as basic vetting related to regulatory compliance, financing options, and overall social & economic value.
To ascertain what ideas may be percolating in Windsor we will be hosting a community forum on Wednesday, December 20th from 7pm to 8:30pm at the Welcome Center to hear ideas and outline the vetting process. We will have the following representatives on hand to listen and provide information:
o Regional Planning Commission: state permitting, existing regional plan
o Springfield Regional Development Corp.: business support services, potential state and private equity financing options.
o Selectboard: listen for community guidance on purpose and priority
o Zoning: local permitting and town plan provisions
Residents will be encouraged to provide a brief description on ideas for specific uses (amusement park, trade school, etc.). Equally important will be to hear comments from residents on general provisions for the land (leave land open, state social services, private development, etc.).
Specific proposals will require a 3 to 5 page overview, due by January 12th for consideration by SRDC/RPC/Selectboard/zoning. Submissions will be vetted for regulatory compliance, fiscal practicality and community benefit. Proposals that meet those criteria will be moved forward to a more rigorous process of business plan development. We expect to have a submission ready for the state by early March. This timetable is designed to meet the legislative schedule.