By Miriam Pickett
I have lived in New Milford for over 35 years. During that time I have seen many changes to our small town. Schools have been sold, open space has been closed in. Shop Rite has been closed, refurbished and reopened. Classrooms that were empty are now overcrowded. There have been many turnovers in our local goverment, swinging between Democrats and Republicans.
In all this time, I have never witnessed anything like the orchestrated public relations attack prepertrated by Mayor Subrizi and Councilman Robalino with a little help from the Riverkeeper, on behalf of a private developer with no ties to our community at all.
Both Subrizi and Robalino seem to believe that we are so naive as to accept the new proposal by Hekemian, et. al., as a compromise. What a joke. I always knew that the oversized, overcrowded proposed developement was a ploy by Hekemian so that when they unveiled their "final" proposal we would fall all over ourselves and thank them for saving us from the unthinkable.
Not only has Hekemian played some of New Milford's elected officials for suckers, I can't help but wonder exactly what Mayor Subrizi's role throughout this charade has been. I've read on the Patch that she had advanced knowledge of the proposed sale and development long before it was made public. I know she never asked the Council to vote on whether the town should attempt to purchase the property. I know she would not entertain any constructive discussion of what grants were available in order to purchase the property. I know she tried to push through a new zoning ordinance for the property in order to make it easier for Hekemian to get the variances necessary to build a mixed use development on property zoned for one family houses. Whatever happened to looking out for your residents' best interests?
If she felt from the the beginning that this was the right way for New Milford to go, why didn't she go public with her advanced knowledge? Why didn't she call for a vote in Council? What was her motivitation? I'm tired of hearing that this is best for New Milford. I'm tired of reading that opponents, myself included, are not willing to compromise or work with New Milford to come to a solution that will work for everyone and not bankrupt us and not lose one of the last pieces of open space in Bergen County so that a supermarket can be built.
And as far as the $8 million figure that the two of them have quoted over and over again, there are ways to find the money and they know it. It doesn't have to cost us anything near that figure.
As for Mayor Subrizi and Councilman Robalino, what a legacy. Instead of a park and a field for all of New Milford, a supermarket with a coffee bar. Just what we need.