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Monday, March 17, 2008

Walnut Beach arts colony plan to be unveiled

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— Residents will have the opportunity to see first-hand Wednesday night conceptual plans to create a $7 million arts colony in Walnut Beach at the Stowe Farm Arts Center.
Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. said the city, in partnership with the Milford Fine Arts Council, will present the conceptual plan of the Stowe Farms Arts Center at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Arts, 40 Railroad Ave.
The Stowe Farms Arts Center Committee has been working for several years with the architectural firm TLB Associates of Chester to develop uses and a proposal for the facility in Walnut Beach. The purpose of the forum is gain input from the public.
Copies of the report are available through the city’s Web site at at the Community Development Department link and at the Web site of the Fine Arts Council,
Economic and Community Development Director Robert Gregory said plans call for the creation of office space for the Fine Arts Council, studio space to be leased out to artists, and classroom space for aspiring artists.
“Obviously we’ll concentrate on the visual arts and there will be some space for the performing arts,” Gregory said.
The Center for the Arts building downtown will remain the main performing arts venue, he said. Relocating the Fine Arts Council’s offices from downtown to Stowe will free up additional performing arts space, he added.
Conceptual plans show that an existing barn on the Stowe site will be the mainstay, with a substantial addition to both sides of the barn. Gregory said this will be the main gallery space. He said the bulk of the project costs are tied into the barn addition.
There will be some limited parking at the site, but the city wants the public to also use spaces at the West Shore Recreation Center and Simon Lake Elementary School.
The project can be done in phases with a major focus on the barn additions, Gregory said. Already $500,000 has been allocated from the state for architectural and engineering fees. He said he hopes fundraising will lead to private donations.
Talk of an artists’ colony began to take off in 2002 when the city purchased the 2½ acre Stowe Avenue parcel for $825,000. The city sold the horse barn and cottage for $200,000 to a Tennessee couple, who have already turned it into an art studio and home. The Stowe property is three blocks from the 2-year-old Firehouse Arts Gallery on Naugatuck Avenue.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A $7M Arts Colony is great - but where or where is the money coming from. The taxpayers are already over taxed - $17M for Eisenhower Park, $100M for Sewer & Waste Treatment - $8M for science labs, and Amann thinks we need brick sidewalks, lamps, flower pots and a fountain on New Haven Ave - How many used car lots are down there?
Waste of money -
The City lets everything fall apart and then they think about fixing it. The costs for the waste treatement plant increased by huge sums as the mayor failed to act, the police dept roof will get a bandaide - the cost of the science labs increased - thought they were going to be done yrs. ago. Eisenhower Park was allowed to fall int decay - now look at the cost. City history destroyed and the Mayor does not believe the house was torn down- just dismantled and a replica will replace it.

March 18, 2008 at 2:38 PM 

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