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Vernon's Republican Council Members Thwart Mayor's Support of Rockville Downtown Association

The Mayor's budget included $5,000 to help the Rockville Downtown Association make Rockville a more vibrant place. Republican Councilors deleted the Mayor's support for the RDA..

Vernon's Mayor Apel included $5,000 in his budget to help the Rockville Downtown Association's efforts to make downtown Rockville a more vibrant place. Every Republican councilor voted against the Mayor's proposal except Deputy Mayor Brian Motola. Democrats supported the Mayor's proposal, which failed in a 6-5 vote.

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Rocky April 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
It will not be a simple task to make Rockville vibrant again. There are banners on many utility poles in Rockville that proclaim "Rockville Renaissance". A once upbeat forwarded thinking effort has been mothballed. The first step in the direction of making Rockville marketable is to clean up the center and the surrounding streets. Curb appeal has been eliminated and replaced with litter, crumbling sidewalks, and blight.
Cliff Edwards April 13, 2012 at 12:20 PM
The good folks of the Rockville Downtown Association have, for years, devoted their best efforts to cleaning up the most visible areas in the center of Rockville... with very little accolade from the Council and mostly jeers and insults, especially from the Republican detractors... who seem to have a grudge they take out on hard working volunteers who pitch in and help. I cannot remember when any of those detractors lifted one lazy finger to help (except themselves)! The RDA sponsored and spearheaded an "Annual Downtown Cleanup Day" every Spring... Looks like that will not happen anymore, thanks to the "NO" votes of the Republican led council! Great job guys!
Vernon Taxpayer April 13, 2012 at 07:51 PM
What a shame a lousy $5,000 and it was voted down. The Rockville Downtown Association has brought many events to the center of town. It may not be the best looking right now. But you can see some of the work they have done. Please keep in mind this is the center of Rockville/Vernon.
Dan Dionne April 14, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Thank goodness for these responsible individuals! The days of it's only $5000.00 are over! If the downtown area and it's businesses cannot recreate themselves to bring in business to support the RDA then shame on them. I'm no longer going to foot the bill for all these ridiculous, frivolous budget items. Look at West Hartford or any city locally that has a vibrant downtown and model yourself after them or at least your own version of them! - Dan - concerned resident since 1996.
Vernon Taxpayer April 15, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Sorry you don't agree. I really don't believe $5,000 of support for this program would hurt the Town of Vernon. I did notice that on Tuesday's Town Council meeting agenda there is another tax abatement for 3 years on another business in town. This seems to be a trend. With the latest benefits handed to certain groups of taxpayers. This might be a greater concern for our residents than $5,00 for the RDA.
Lance April 15, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I agree 100 % with Vernon Taxpayer. First RDA are a bunch of volunteers. Another words they work there butt off for FREE to help make our town look better. I also saw a local buisness that is looking for a tax credit to build a 5000 square foot addition. I am betting the tax abatement is more then the cost of the addition. Oh, when we add an addition to our home do we get a tax abatement? If you go on Vernon's web site and check out meeting with the EDC you will see that if we don't abate the taxes this buisness will build it in East Windsor. Let me state this is a great local buisness who I respect immensely. How many jobs will this addition bring? How much is it costing? What will the increase in tax be when done. Then we have all the facts to make a educated decision. Dan I have to ask does that mean you are against top rate people on our town getting bonuses of over 5 grand? That is in the budget also.
Lance April 15, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Rocky I bet the RDA would love to have your help with that!
Cliff Edwards April 15, 2012 at 01:25 PM
First of all, the mission of this Association is one of preservation of the historic downtown district, and they do model themselves after other downtown associations via their membership in the Main Street Community of the Connecticut Main Street Center. The Town of Vernon as a whole has a vested interest in maintaining a "vibrant downtown" area, especially since their administrative offices are in the heart of it. This should never, if they are truly "responsible individuals", be simply cast aside as "ridiculous, frivolous" spending if they expect to attract new business to the area... which, by the way, is the responsibilty of the town's Economic Development Department... also housed in DOWNTOWN ROCKVILLE. The town has seen fit to spend 10+ times the amount (of the RDA budget item) on a new Economic Development chief... how come you aren't equally concerned about that? He hasn't done much to address the downtown issue nor has he lifted a finger to volunteer his services for the cause... why doesn't that bother anyone??? That department has the specific charge to bring in new business to the town (downtown included) and must be held accountable as well. By the way, many of the merchants and residents of the downtown area have been there for much longer than 16 years... compared to them, you are a "newcomer".
Bert April 16, 2012 at 12:07 AM
The RDA has been working for years but I think that they were looking toward the wrong goal. Rockville will never be a retail center. It can, however, be a strong business center. There is a hospital, churches. banks, two court houses and government buildings. It is a perfect place for a "businesss" center, catering to professional offices both medical and legal and various business that support those activities like a barbershop, a coffee shop etc. If the economy ever picks up, some developer might just take on the challenge. Trying to "restore" Rockville to its former self is futile. Time has passed "downtowns" and "Main Streets" by.
Lance April 16, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Bert I agree with what you said. That is why I approached the school committee with Mr Matola because we felt a Magnet school tieing in Rocville Hospital would be a leap forward to create that buisness environment that would restore Rocville and bring jobs to Vernon.
Mark Kalina April 16, 2012 at 01:06 AM
A magnet school is so wrong for the town. It would be a budget drain when our schools are having enough difficulties without looking for more. The key word Bert mentioned was Business Center.
Lance April 16, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Well Mr Kalina we will to agree to disagree on that.
Bert April 16, 2012 at 06:07 AM
Tax credits and Tax abatements are two different things. If you give a business a "tax abatement" for say, 3 years, you are allowing them time to get up and running and hopefully turn a profit. Then they become a tax paying entity that is hopefully employing people and paying taxes. If that's what it takes to get businesses to locate here, then it's a worthwhile tool to encourage development. In the long term, the town benefits. The town is not really losing much in deals like this.
Rocky April 16, 2012 at 03:33 PM
@ Mr. Kalina, you are correct. The original magnet schools are the vocational tech and vo-ag schools. You in the audience would be amazed on how little is spent on these programs.
Danno April 16, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I agree. I don't like to take a side on a political party. They ALL should do what is best for the town regardless of their affiliation. On the other hand Councilman Winkler doesn't help with much by avoiding animosity among the parties. I think he contributes to the separation of the parties. He flaunts his disregard for the Republicans every time they make a decision he disagrees with. Putting all that aside, the decision was wrong and the downtown area needs a new face. Some or most of that onus should be placed upon the owner of the buildings. The town should be pressuring that owner and assisting that owner as they can.
Sarah Summers April 19, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Thanks to the RDA for what they do. Its more than the Vernon government does for the downtown area. Allowing a smoke shop and barber shop to go in, just for the sake of creating business, is so wrong! These kinds of stores in a small downtown area is simply inviting crime. If we as Vernon residents vow to shop locally at the kinds of retailers that improve the area, it will help. But, we also need support from our Mayor to clean up the area, such as the side walks, the store fronts (which could AT LEAST stand a coat of fresh paint!), and the crime.
Sarah Summers April 19, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Rocky, I couldn't agree more. Simple improvements can go a long way, and show that we care about our town. The kind of people who occupy the streets of Rockville come from the businesses allowed to run there. We need to get rid of the smoke shop and barber shop on Union St, where families are trying to raise their children and have to deal with crimes such as drugs, and theft on a daily basis. This area has become a hell hole, needing immediate attention!
Phil April 21, 2012 at 12:47 PM
The RDA and the RCA do a huge amount of volunteer work to help the lifestyle and image of Vernon. It is a shame that the current mayor and his followers on the council don't share that commitment. Kudos to Mr. Matola for going against the Rep. party line. Perhaps Mr. Winkler wouldn't have to mention the party divide if more council members took a step back from their party alliances to actually support what is best for the residents of Vernon.

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