Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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DeStefano paints picture of Middletown undergoing renaissance

DeStefano: "... opportunities ..."

MIDDLETOWN – Much has been accomplished in Middletown in recent years with $60 million worth of development underway – half of which is paid for by grants – but there is a lot more on the drawing boards, Mayor Joseph DeStefano said Tuesday night in his annual State of the City address.

The mayor pointed to significant downtown redevelopment from the rebirth of the former Woolworth Building to the Heritage Trail finally coming to the city, and college programs expanding, in particular at the former Middletown Psychiatric Center property.

“We have held the line on taxes for eight straight years, our savings account is very healthy with Moody’s considering a bond upgrade, we have secured over $30 million in active grants to rebuild our city,” he said. “We continue to support the arts, we have developed affordable, workforce housing while many in the region have ignored it. We have created homeownership opportunities for people that may never have had that chance, and we reduced our crime rate significantly using the five-year trend barometer.”

DeStefano cited Fei Tian College, which has established a presence in Middletown with plans to expand its offerings to include masters and doctoral programs by 2028; anticipated redevelopment of the former Classy Leather building and seeking funds to build a parking structure with first-floor commercial space downtown.

The mayor began his hour-long address by pointing to two issues that have impacted the city – domestic violence and illegal drugs. He said the city, in partnership with Safe Homes of Orange County, has implemented a Risk Reduction Response Project in the wake of two incidents in January in which two husbands fatally shot their wives and then turned their guns on themselves.

He also reminded the community of the major drug bust weeks ago in which a city fire lieutenant was arrested as one of the ring leaders.

 


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