By LISA CAPOBIANCO
She has served as state representative for 10 terms now, and will be doing it again.
Betty Boukus was reelected to the State House of Representatives after receiving majority support from Plainville voters.
Since 1995, Betty Boukus has represented the town of Plainville and the city of New Britain in the Connecticut General Assembly. An alumnus of Plainville High School, Boukus defeated Town Council Chairperson Kathy Pugliese, who has served Plainville for over a dozen years. According to election results from the Plainville Registrar of Voters, Boukus received 3,105 votes in Plainville while Pugliese received 2,615 votes. Petitioning candidate Richard Broderick received 214 votes in Plainville.
Boukus, who was proud of the voter turnout, said she looks forward to continue serving Plainville and New Britain residents of the 22nd District.
“I am so excited, so thrilled,” said Boukus, who planned to meet with elected leaders at the state capitol this Thursday. “I love my town, I love my community.”
Meanwhile, Bristol City Councilor Henri Martin defeated Democratic opponent Rob Michalik for his seat in the 31st District State Senate seat. Although Martin won overall, Michalik received more votes in Plainville. Martin received 2,461 votes in Plainville while Michalik won 3,323 votes, according to the Registrar of Voters office. The 31st District includes Bristol, Plainville, Plymouth, Thomaston, and Harwinton.
This year marked a close race at the state level, as the reelected Governor Dannel Malloy faced off against Republican opponent Tom Foley. Although Malloy won the state overall, the majority of Plainville voters supported Foley with 3,056 votes, according to election results. Malloy received 2,840 votes in Plainville.
Among all five congressional districts in the state, Malloy won 552,395 votes while Foley won 523,211 votes, according to results from the Secretary of State’s office. Foley lost to Malloy by 6,404 votes out of 1.1 million votes during the 2010 gubernatorial election. Petitioning candidate Joe Visconti, who endorsed Foley two days before the election, received 11,393 votes.
Other Democratic candidates also won reelection, including Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, Attorney General George Jepsen, Treasurer Denise Nappier and Comptroller Kevin Lembo.
Meanwhile, Plainville saw a high voter turnout, as 57 percent of all registered voters came out to the polls. Although that percentage is slightly lower than the one reported during the 2010 election, all four voting districts in Plainville continued to see an influx of voters throughout Election Day last Tuesday. By 5 p.m. at Toffolon School, voting moderators reported that more than 900 voters already flocked to the polls. Toffolon, along with Linden Street School, reported an average of 100 voters an hour.
On Election Day, one topic of discussion among voters was the fate of the old Linden Street School. According to election results, 3,410 voters did not support the referendum question dealing with the demolition of the Old Linden Street School while 2,132 voters did support the demolition. In August, the Town Council voted unanimously in favor of an ordinance appropriation of $2,640,000 to demolish the Old Linden Street School.
At the new Linden Street School, residents John Kisluk and Marilyn Shorette stood outside with a sign encouraging voters to vote “no for Linden” when answering the referendum question.
The estimated total cost for demolition is $2,385, 813, but the local cost for taxpayers would be a little over $1 million, as previously reported by Town Manager Robert Lee. The State Department of Education reopened the Linden Street School Construction grant, allowing the demolition to be eligible for 64.29 percent reimbursement from the state, which would the town’s cost by $1.53 million. The appropriation of monies for this project required referendum approval.
Between reusing the building as a school to turning the building into affordable senior housing, residents who supported to keep the Old Linden Street School had a variety of ideas on how to preserve the building.
Kisluk said he would first like to see the town decide to not demolish the school, and then to decide how to reuse the building. Shorette said she would like to see the school be renovated into a new school.
“We want some say about it,” said Shorette, who held up the sign outside Linden Street School.
“I definitely don’t want to see it destroyed,” added local resident Arden King. “I would like to see if the school could [possibly be used] as office buildings or low income housing.”
Although the school building is considered to be a strong structure, the Old Linden Street School Study Committee wanted to find a way to save the building, but could not find any ideas that worked.
Formed in 2012, the committee held two public information meetings for the public’s input on what should be done with the school. The committee met with a variety of community groups, including Plainville Historical Society, the school board, and the Plainville Recreation Department as well as PARC to determine if any of them could use the old Linden Street School. Although several groups said they could use a portion of the building space available, none of them could use the entire building nor did they have funding available to renovate and to keep the building up-to-date upon occupancy.
The committee found over several problems with the school building, such as insufficient available space for parking and renovation costs of up to $6 million with monthly maintenance costs of $2,000 a month. Committee members also found that neither a single use nor combination of uses required the entire building. The location of the school also served as a disadvantage, since it is connected to the new Linden Street School. Since the building sits on school property, there are limitations and legal issues.
“You cannot renovate that school,” said an anonymous Plainville voter selling raffle baskets outside the polls at Toffolon School. “It is essential to our town’s history, but…with the way [the school] is now, it has to go.”
Comments? Email lcapobianco@Bristol Observer.com.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO