The former Branford Hills school site was officially removed from consideration for an affordable housing project last week, and this week first selectman Jamie Cosgrove and the Board of Selectmen have officially added it to the Parks and Recreation department of the town.
The move by Cosgrove all but ensures the site will remain a park, and one that will be maintained by the parks department. Some minor improvements have already taken place.
The move comes a week after the Representative Town Meeting unanimously supported the actions of an ad-hoc committee to “take no action” on a request to consider building an affordable housing structure on the site. The request came from the Branford Housing Authority, which manages the Parkside complex in Indian Neck.
Republican Robert Imperato, who represents the district, made the motion as the representatives had heard from area residents largely opposing the potential project, and the news that the large site across the street would be on the market due to a reorganization of the Catholic Church.
Cosgrove had already directed Alex Palluzzi to begin some upgrades at the site, including the basketball court and field.
Cosgrove stated Wednesday that site can help fill a need for practice fields for multiple youth sports programs.
The move also continues what has been a significant increase in town owned parks and open space under Cosgrove. Putting the Branford Hills site under the purview of Parks and Recreation follows the large undertaking of converting Foote Park to a town owned property last year; that site has sine seen significant upgrades.
In addition, the Tabor property, which had been slated to house a public works facility under the previous administration, now will have a portion of the Shoreline Greenway Trail and solar panels. This follows the establishing of additional open space on the top of the former town landfill, now Ecology Park, which will also see solar panels on one portion of the site.