Regarding the decaying retaining wall delineating Wallingford’s Simpson Court parking lot from Holy Trinity School playground, a fundamental question emerges: Who built it?
Perhaps, as Jeff Danziger’s editorial cartoon below avers, “We the People built it.”
This much-ballyhooed wall — technically determined to be on school owned property — was built by people who, at the time, took ownership for its raison d’être and subsequent construction. Then, as now, people are responsible for maintaining its structural integrity — defining anew its integral role in assuring safety and stability.
There is much riding on this behemoth of a wall other than sheer mass of density related to that which it retains. Children play here. Simpson Court parking lot’s physical stability is upheld. It’s a location with hybrid purpose — private/ commercial, with added benefit of municipal parking.
It can either become a protracted thorny-thicket topic (depending on one’s political/philosophical stripes) or, as columnist Steven Knight suggests in his “From Wallingford” commentary on this page, a let’s-make-hay-while-the-sun- shines opportunity for resolution.
Wedding a much-needed rehab of the parking lot to its abutting wall described above manifestly makes sense. In our news story of September 13, we noted that Wallingford built this lot and has leased it from businesses for public parking since 1961 for a nominal fee. A plan to upgrade the lot using $500,000 of town money last year was denied implementation by voters in a November referendum. Under the new plan, state funds would cover most costs — Simpson Court commercial property owners would pay $20,000 for the project and be reimbursed half, while Holy Trinity School, which abuts the lot westerly, would pay $10,000, receiving no reimbursement.
Sunlight for municipal hay, in this case, is afforded by what may indeed prove a providential state grant whose purpose and mission dovetail propitiously with town needs. It’s title — Main Street Investment Fund — is quintessentially appropriate for this off-Main project. It’s money intended for projects which improve local commercial centers: stimulating new businesses while keeping centers attractive to shoppers.
By all means, both private and public, keep Simpson Court’s vicinity attractive . . . and safe.
Town Council and civic debate over a multi-pronged proposition involving private, commercial, town and church entities seeking proper conclusion to a mutually- shared problem is, quite naturally, expected. At the end of the day (and before Knight’s cows come home), taking full advantage of a loan with limited shelf life is compelling — especially since safety and security are elements amplifying the percussive tick of Wallingford’s agenda clock.
We urge that reasonable accommodation and prudence guide this project (without rancor) to satisfactory conclusion while that sun shines, but before municipal cows come home.