SOUTHINGTON – The Southington Town Council has agreed to take Tops Market off the personal property tax rolls following the March 3 fire that destroyed the building.
Demolition crews took down what was left of the structure at 887 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike, Plantsville after the fire, but owner John Salerno had expressed a desire to rebuild. The decision was made to assist with that effort.
“We are all very aware of the tragedy that befell Tops Market,” said Town Manger Mark Sciota. “The building is no longer there so my staff has taken it off the real estate rolls. Only this board can relieve the $3,462 personal property tax.”
Tops was founded in 1951 by the Topshe family. The local store was purchased in 1980 by Salerno, who doubled its size over 30 years and added a bakery and rewards program as well as in-store catering. Salerno also supported numerous community organizations with donations.
“I’ve been personally involved in at least two charities in town that Tops has contributed to in at least that amount,” said Councilor Mike Riccio. “I support relieving the full amount of that money so Tops can open up to the community again.”
Council Chair Chris Palmieri agreed with Riccio’s sentiment.
In other business, Mark Pooler, CEO of the Southington YMCA, also requested that the council pursue a $150,000 grant through the Neighborhood Assistance Act to help rehabilitate Sloper Pond, which is used by YMCA Camp Sloper as well as school programs. The Council scheduled a public hearing on this issue for June 10 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Center.
“The pond is following its natural cycle,” he said. “Ponds turn into swamps and then into meadows. The pond is filling up with silt and sediment. This grant would take the depth from 8 to 10 feet to 12 feet. We’d be removing 90,000 yards of silt and sediment.”
Councilor Dawn Miceli said that the dredging is important for the health of the pond.
“Sloper Pond is one of our community gems,” she said.
The council also decided to table a request from Sewer Committee Chair David Zoni to move forward with the demolition of a pump station on Blatchley Avenue and replace it with a gravity sewer line which will head west through the former Curtiss Farm open space property. Tom Curtiss sold the farm to the town in 2001.
The Open Space Committee will review the plan before the council votes on it.
“We hope to begin in spring 2020 and complete it that fall,” said Zoni. “The station is very old and had a recent failure. We were able to fix it, but we’re essentially working on chewing gum and duct tape repairs. It’s time to get this done.”
Zoni noted that the project had been adjusted since it was originally proposed to minimize deforestation in the area. Councilors Dawn Miceli and Victoria Triano said they were grateful for that decision.
The Council also set public hearings for June 24 at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Center regarding the bonding of $900,000 for the 2019 road improvement program and to bond $2,930,000 to complete the town’s acquisition of the Municipal Center.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.