from Harry Stefan
Today is the final day to submit comments to the Rural Development Agency of the US Dept. of Agriculture about the Academy’s application for funds to expand its Bentley Field Athletic complex onto existing wetlands.
The August 19th Norwich Bulletin article stated that Joanne Demars of the Norwich Rural Development Office is the person to contact regarding this particular application. However, the only email address I can find is for the director of the office, Johan Strandson. His email is: email@example.com
Thank you Harry for reminding us of this.
The USDA first published this announcement in early July and received no responses. According to JoAnne Demars on Monday, August 31 when I talked with her, they had already made the decision to approve the loan of 2.5 million to the Academy before their own stated deadline was over. They didn’t know that anyone objected to this plan. Ms. Demars said that the loan is contingent upon all other approvals.
Barbara Newman at the Army Corps of Engineers also wasn’t aware of any objection to the development but was interested to hear there is. Ms. Newman is helpful. She asked CME to send me a copy of the revised plan submitted for Category 2 approval. The revised plan shows some fewer parking slots due to encroachment upon wetland, an added retaining wall, an added swale and a section of bleachers on football field removed (encroachment on wetland). Essentially, it is the same densely packed plan leaving no buffer for abutters and all development coming right up to the minimum set-back for wetlands. Well-reasoned and stated input might make a difference to either of these agencies. Ms. Demars and I talked at some length with Mr. Strandson who was interested and had many questions. Demars said she’d talk about this to an upper supervisor within the State. Newman said she didn’t know if the approval will be given or not. It will be decided in October, 2009.