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Letter: Former UConn Campus Should Not Have Commercial Development

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To the Editor:

I grew up at 1836 Asylum Ave. As a child, we used to sled, fly our kites, play ball, and in general, enjoy the beautiful and untouched land that became UConn’s campus. To most of us living in the neighborhood, the UConn project seemed like an ill-advised attempt to expand the school’s footprint. It turns out that we were correct.

Today, the former school buildings, in the middle of a beautiful family-filled neighborhood, have turned into an urban eye-sore (fences, broken windows, and all). So, what’s next? Instead of the town re-purchasing the land (for what was a STEAL of a price), they are allowing developers to hatch another ill-advised commercial project, which will sit right in the middle of a strictly residential neighborhood. Not only that, they will do this during one of the largest commercial building contractions in American history.

Stand-alone stores and other businesses (like a grocery store) would serve to further cripple Bishops Corner, as well as add an immense amount of traffic to Asylum Avenue, which is only one lane in each direction.

Someone (or the town) should have purchased the land, removed the buildings, and returned the land to a park for all the neighbors to enjoy; perhaps a baseball diamond, tennis courts, dog park, et al. In terms of cost to the town, this would have been a VERY minor expense. They would have owned this valuable property. Afterall, the neighborhood has been tortured with an eyesore for the past decade. They listened to lofty presentations from UConn, which never came to be. Today, the same thing is happening again. Does the town never learn from its former mistakes? RETURN THIS LAND TO THE NEIGHBORS, without further commercial development.

Russ Oasis
Former West Hartford resident

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  • I would agree that adding a stand alone commercial development like nearby Bishops Corner would be a terrible idea. However, most of the plans and buildings for the proposed site are residential in nature. There are mixed use plans for for some commercial spaces akin to Blue Back Square and the center with only medium density and intensity. By mixing in the use of these spaces, the neighborhood could actually reduce traffic, as all the cars right now for the neighborhood could stay in their neighborhood and walk in for small groceries and food options instead of having to drive away.

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