Published November 12. 2012 4:00AM
Preston - The Preston Redevelopment Agency will hold four informational meetings before the Nov. 27 referendum on a proposed $8 million loan package to continue the cleanup of the former Norwich Hospital property.
After consulting with the agency's attorney and the town attorney, the PRA received clearance to hold the sessions as long as the content remains neutral and officials do not promote one position, First Selectman Robert Congdon said Friday.
Congdon will forward a Powerpoint presentation the PRA has prepared to attorneys at the town's law firm Halloran & Sage for review before the meetings.
The PRA will hold informational meetings Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Preston Veterans' Memorial School; Thursday at 6 p.m. prior to the 7:30 p.m. town meeting on the issue, also at PVMS; Saturday, Nov. 17, at 10 a.m. at Town Hall; and Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. at PVMS.
Written materials on the presentation will be posted on the PRA website, www.prestonriverwalk.com, with a link at the town website, www.preston-ct.org. Hard copies will be available at Town Hall prior to the first meeting on Tuesday, PRA Chairman Sean Nugent said.
Board of Finance member Norman Gauthier had objected to the meetings at Thursday's Board of Selectmen meeting, and the agency held off on scheduling meetings until hearing from attorneys.
The loan package includes a low-cost $4 million state loan and bonding the town's required $4 million match that also would allow the town to obtain a $964,000 federal grant for the cleanup. The state loan terms include a 1.5 percent interest rate, deferred payments for the first five years and forgiveness of $1 million for every 100 permanent jobs created by development at the former hospital campus.
The combined nearly $9 million in funding is expected to clean and remove all but about five to 10 buildings at the 393-acre campus.