Government Public Works

Town of West Hartford Contracts to Purchase Land Near Public Works Facility

705 Oakwood Ave. is one of the parcels the town is considering purchasing. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Town Council unanimously approved execution of a contract to purchase property at 705 Oakwood Avenue and 12 Brixton Street.

12 Brixton St. is one of the parcels the town is considering purchasing. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

Two parcels of land that the Town of West Hartford has been interested in for several years have come onto the market, and the Town Council on Thursday night unanimously approved the execution of a contract to pursue the purchase of the properties, appropriating $136,750 as a deposit and to conduct due diligence.

The properties at 705 Oakwood Avenue and 12 Brixton Street, directly across the street from the Public Works headquarters at 17 Brixton Street, are owned by Cunningham Brothers Reality LLC, and formerly were used by the company as a showroom and warehouse for fixtures and plumbing and heating supplies. They were part of the operations of Cunningham Supply Company, which was purchased by The Granite Group in 2015 and now has West Hartford operations at a distribution center at 674 Oakwood Ave.

The Department of Public Works is in the process of developing plans to create a Materials Solution Center in conjunction with the closing of the landfill at 25 Brixton Street, to meet current and future waste and recycling needs, and these properties will be an important asset as the town looks to expand and modernize its waste management, Town Manager Rick Ledwith said.

Procuring the additional properties across the street would free up valuable space that is being used for fire department training, and would also facilitate the relocation of the Animal Control facility, which is already scheduled to be rebuilt.

If the town purchases additional properties on Oakwood Avenue and Brixton Street, it would free up an area now used for fire department training to become part of a new Materials Solution Center. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Public Works does not currently have space to meet the debris removal needs of the community in the event of a large storm. In the past – for example in the aftermath of the devastating October 2011 snowstorm – the 1,100-space parking lot of the former UConn campus was available for use for debris storage, but that property has been sold to a new entity and is no longer available, Ledwith said.

The town has been using Eisenhower Park as a transfer area for debris, but more recently has started bringing everything to Brixton Street, Director of Public Works John Phillips said Thursday.

The additional properties would also allow the town to establish fueling operations for town vehicles within the Public Works complex. While it may not always be convenient to projects taking place in the north end of town, Phillips said with proper planning fueling could take place at the same time as vehicles are returning to the Public Works facility for resupplying and other purposes.

“The purchase would free up space to meet the emergency needs of the town,” Ledwith told the Town Council during the July 14 meeting.

The sum of money authorized by the Town Council will be used for a 5% deposit, as well as legal and appraisal services and environmental testing. The cost of the property is $1,315,000.

Ledwith said he anticipates the due diligence will be completed within the next few months and the Town Council will review the measure for final approval in the fall. The contract contains a contingency allowing for termination in the event the Council votes against it.

The Council authorized the contract unanimously Thursday by a vote of 7-0. Mayor Shari Cantor, along with Council members Ben Wenograd,  Adrienne Billing-Smith, Mark Zydanowicz, and Alberto Cortes were present at the meeting, while Leon Davidoff and Carol Blanks were traveling and participated by phone.

705 Oakwood Ave. (viewed from the side facing Brixton Street) is one of the parcels the town is considering purchasing. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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