Tower, Then Firing Range, Headed To Wintergreen

Allan Appel PhotoA 160-foot tall emergency communications tower will rise high above a former army base on Wintergreen Avenue.

That’s thanks to a unanimous approval by the City Plan Commissioners.

The vote last Wednesday night marks a step in the redevelopment of the empty Army Reserve base just north of a set of Southern Connecticut State University’s dormitories. The building will become the new police training academy, which will move its current home on Sherman Avenue.

Click here to read a previous story about the plans.

Officials also plan to move the Sherman Avenue police academy firing range to the Wintergreen site. That will take longer, as the police department is in the process of securing a federal grant to construct the new range.

At Wednesday night’s City Plan, proceeding, Robert J. Manfield Jr., of Hamden-based Utility Communications, Inc., represented the city. He said the city’s plans include moving police and fire dispatch centers to the site and for the tower eventually to support emergency communications not only for the city’s departments but for emergency safety operations throughout the region.

Currently the chief emergency communications tower sits atop East Rock. That will continue to be the main tower, Manfield said in response to a query from City Plan Commission Chair Ed Mattison.

“This [the Wintergreen tower] will allow on-site communications in case of disaster,” Manfield added.

The tower is planned as a lattice structure that will rise behind the long, low-lying building. The tower’s base will not be visible from Wintergreen Avenue. It will be fenced in for security. All the equipment pertaining to it will be inside the building.

Commissioners asked whether the the tower will interfere with communications of residents in the general area. The answer was no, especially as, except for the dormitories, the only residences are in the Brookside redevelopment area a quarter mile away.

What about the danger of the tower falling on the graves in the Jewish cemetery north of the site? asked aldermanic representative Adam Marchand.

City Plan chief Karyn Gilvarg assured him the cemetery is well beyond the tower’s “fall zone.”

A City Plan Department staff report states that the tower “will not significantly interfere with views from the east, west or north. While the new tower will be prominent, its lattice type structure is less massive than some of the other types of towers and is an essential part of the communications network for many public safety agencies.”

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posted by: Nan Bartow on September 23, 2013  9:36pm

Those of us on the Firing Range Committee have worked long and hard to have the outdoor range on Sherman Parkway moved to an indoor range in another more appropriate location. Hopefully, nothing will derail this plan to build an indoor range at the Wintergreen site.
Nan Bartow

posted by: MamaBear on September 24, 2013  7:24am

I would say having the redeveloped Brookside Housing complex, Job Corps, the Emergency Communications Tower, and Police Firing Range are all valid arguments for opening access from New Haven to Hamden. It would serve both communities in an emergency as well as benefit economic development with stores, health clinics and safer lighting for weekend and after school programs. The area also offers beautiful hiking trails,nature center, Common Ground High School and Farm and Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet as well as Katherine Brennan School, SCSU and Solar Youth. I hope this neighborhood development continues with our new mayoral and aldermanic candidates in New Haven, especially since the police in Westville/West Hills/West Rock are working so hard with the residents to keep this area safe!