Letter: Schlumberger tenants will be and economic asset for town

The Ridgefield Economic and Community Development Commission (RECDC) endorses the Schlumberger Citizens Committee (SCC) proposal to lease the Philip Johnson and auditorium buildings to private organizations. We strongly urge a Yes vote on the referendum coming before the town on Feb. 22 for many reasons.

First and foremost is that both the land and both buildings will be restored and receive $1 million in improvements by the tenants at no cost to the taxpayers. The tenants are also consistent with the town surveys for the land use. This is a large tract of land near the center of town that will always be owned by the town for future use.

Second, the tenant improvements will relieve the town of the cost to demolish the buildings and eliminate all financial liability to maintain them. The Philip Johnson building has a long history in Ridgefield and its preservation is important.

Thirdly, the proposed tenants will be an additional economic asset for Ridgefield as the RECDC will be executing an online marketing campaign focusing on our town as an arts and culture destination. The businesses of ACT of CT and BassamFellows are unique organizations and fit nicely into the fabric of our town.

And finally, SCC also recommended the preservation of 18 additional acres to be used by the town for the future such as the development of an outdoor stage/amphitheatre.

The SCC invested over a year seeking community input and provided a very well researched and thoughtful recommendation. The RECDC has reviewed the report in its entirety and fully endorses the recommendation for the two proposed leases.

Arnold Light