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By JENNIFER SPRAGUE, Press staff
MIDDLETOWN — Several residents of Trolley Crossing Lane pleaded with the Common Council Monday night to help them find a way to clean up a deteriorating area of open space known as Westlake Park.
The park — which includes a small lake, rotting bridges and overgrown trails, as well as an overgrown baseball field and deteriorating tennis and basketball courts — is located off Westlake Drive, between the Trolley Crossing condominiums and Hunter’s Crossing, an apartment complex.
The park once belonged to the Westlake Association, a now-defunct condo association. Because the association no longer exists, it is not clear who owns the park and how that affects efforts to establish ownership and fix up the area.
Bill Maune, who lives in the Trolley Crossing condos, said he would like to see the city take over the park, assuming liability and maintenance. People have made repairs to the park but have done so anonymously, he said, to avoid being held liable if someone became injured.
Because it is not clear who owns the park, city attorney Tim Lynch encouraged Westlake area residents to contact a real estate attorney. He said it would likely require individual condo associations and apartment complex owners to agree for the city to take over the park. There are more than a dozen complexes in the Westlake area.
Jim Horne, who has lived in Trolley Crossing for 30 years, said he remembers when people had picnics on the island and when the tennis and basketball courts were usable. He said he would like to see the city put some money aside to fix up the area around the lake to provide recreational opportunities for the many area residents.
“There was one other park in the area,” he said, referring to Cucia Park. “Recently, you sold that to the government.”
Esther Green, who has lived in Trolley Crossing for 15 years, said “I’ve watched the conditions of the bridges, especially those connecting the island to the park.” “It’s not going to be long before they’re falling down,” she said. “Those bridges need to be repaired before someone gets hurt.”
Sean Brunnock, who manages two apartment complexes in the area, said the overgrown park may have served as an escape route for the perpetrators of several recent car break-ins. Cleaning up the area, he said, could curb crime.
Robert Paradis, the last president of the now-defunct Westlake Association, said, rather than turning the area into a city park, he imagines re-establishing the association and charging each condo and apartment unit $10 per year to support maintaining the park.
Councilman Gerald Daley said the city needs “to give them help in solving this issue.”
“The sense I get is the best solution is for this to become a city park,” he said. “It’s not that they want to own that park. They want it maintained.”
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Several residents of condominiums in the Westlake section of town attended the Common Council meeting Monday night to express concern about the conditions of Westlake Park, which was formerly maintained by the Westlake Residential Association.The Association no longer exists, which has created the problem of a park without a group to maintain it.
Bill Maune, addressed the Council and asked for help with the park. Members of the informal Westlake Group indicated that the park was unkempt and potentially dangerous.
Esther Greene, of Trolley Crossing, indicated that bridges on the property, which lead to an island in the lake, are in disrepair, and that they are desperately in need of repair.
Sean Brennan, an apartment manager, said that he was told by police that the park served as an escape route for individuals who were responsible for break-ins in the area.
Bob Paradis, one of the original members of the Westlake Residential Association noted that maintenance fees once provided a fund to keep the park in good shape, and that if the fees could be collected again, the park might be resurrected.
City attorney, Tim Lynch indicated that the absence of a legal owner of the park made it impossible to transfer the park to the city to adopt as a city park. He did note, at the suggestion of Mayor Sebastian Giuliano, that the Residential Association could be revived to either begin collecting park maintenance fees again, or to transfer the property to the city.
The mayor, and Council members asked Lynch to meet with Westlake area residents to advise them of ways in which they could begin to solve the problem.
Posted by Middletown Eye (Ed McKeon) at 9:30 AM 0 comments
Labels: westlake, westlake residential association