FARMINGTON — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night accepted a $13,682 grant from a local health coalition for the construction of a rock climbing wall at the Farmington Community Center.

Selectmen also began discussing the possibility of entering a tax-increment financing agreement with developers for the potential construction of an assisted-living center on U.S. Route 2.

The Healthy Community Coalition plans to cover all costs related to construction of the 8-foot-tall rock climbing wall to be established at the community center, the board learned. The agency also will pay for Parks and Recreation Department employees who will supervise the children’s use of the wall and give them proper rock-climbing safety training. The money offered to Farmington comes from a $1.8 million grant that the agency received to promote healthy activity in schools and communities.

“(The idea is) to teach children some new things in school and follow up with out-of-school activities that will keep them active,” said Laurie Soucy, the agency’s grant director for its Physical Education Program.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Foster said the climbing wall would be a great addition for children in kindergarten through grade 12 because there are no climbing walls in the Farmington area. The 8-foot wall will be installed at the back of the stage inside the Community Center and will feature 8-inch-thick padding at the base of the wall for safety.

Foster said he had spoken with the company that insures the building, and he said the wall would not cause an increase in insurance coverage costs or liability for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Selectmen also heard a presentation from Lon and Mathew Walters, of Woodlands Senior Living, about the potential construction in Farmington of an assisted-living center for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The Walters said they have found a parcel of land on U.S. Route 2 near Franklin Memorial Hospital, but in order for the $4 million project to be feasible, they are asking the town to enter into a TIF agreement with them. Selectmen expressed interest in the project and were open to the idea of establishing a TIF in order to get that kind of facility in Farmington, but they asked the Walters to follow up with more specifics in terms of length of time and percentage of tax forgiveness that they had in mind for a TIF agreement.

“I think this is very much needed in our area,” Selectman Michael Fogg said.

If an agreement is reached, ground ideally would be broken in April on the construction and the project would be completed within a year, according to Mathew Walters. The center would feature 12 single rooms and 12 double rooms with a maximum capacity of 36 people.

Selectmen also appointed Nancy Porter to serve as the interim director for Farmington on the Regional School Unit 9 board. The appointment follows the resignation of Yvette Robinson, who left the position earlier this month because her family moved to Wilton, making her ineligible to represent Farmington on the board. Porter will serve the remainder of Robinson’s term, which expires in June. The election of a new director will be held before the Town Meeting on March 28.

Farmington police Chief Jack Peck informed the board at the meeting that he had received a $1,000 cash donation to be put toward his department’s “Remember Every Christmas” project. The program was established this month when the department received a separate $1,000 donation to hand out gift cards to individuals stopped by officers in memory of former police Chief Richard E. Caton. The gift cards are Chamber Bucks from the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, which can be used at more than 50 businesses in Franklin County.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

 


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