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Two Preston Redevelopment Agency members step down

By Claire Bessette

Publication: The Day

Published June 07. 2014 4:00AM
PRA seeks to fill vacancies

Preston - Two members of the Preston Redevelopment Agency will not seek reappointment when their terms expire at the end of June, and the agency is starting a search for their successors.

Frank Ennis, who is completing a four-year term, and Frank Matovic, who served for three years, both plan to step down June 30.

The agency oversees the demolition, marketing and redevelopment of the 393-acre former Norwich Hospital property, now called Preston Riverwalk. The town took over ownership of the property in 2009.

Matovic said the volunteer position wound up taking more time than he could devote to it. Matovic, who is retired from the Millstone nuclear power station, still is president of the Save the Kids Fund launched by Millstone employees. He said he had to decide which volunteer position to keep, and chose the kids' fund.

"It really is a big job," Matovic said of the PRA. "It was taking a lot more time than I thought it would take. Ten hours turned into 20 or 30 hours a week."

Ennis served as site operations manager at the former hospital campus, keeping track of ever-changing site maps, demolition schedules, building abatement and VIP tours of the work in progress when town officials invite local, state and federal dignitaries as well as developers or media to tour the site and view the progress firsthand.

Ennis, who served for almost four years, could not be reached for comment.

The PRA is seeking applications from Preston residents interested in serving on the agency and will contact the two political town committees to help spread the word. Interested residents are asked to submit a letters of interest and resumes by June 17 to the PRA, c/o Preston Town Hall, 289 Route 2, Preston, CT 06365 ATTN: James Bell or email to jbell@prestonriverwalk.com.

The PRA will conduct initial reviews and interviews of candidates and will submit recommendations to the Board of Selectmen for approval. Selectmen then would have to schedule a town meeting to appoint the members. Town meeting approval is required for new members as well as reappointments.

Nugent said letters of interest should explain why the applicant wants to be a member and what skills he or she would bring to the agency.

"If you look at the current and past members," Nugent said, "we've had people very gung ho about purchasing the property, and we've had people who were against it and wanted to join to make sure it was handled properly."

Nugent, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee, said the PRA doesn't solicit nominations from the town committees, but is mindful of the need to avoid one-party dominance. The agency now has three Democrats, four Republicans and three unaffiliated members. Ennis is a Democrat, and Matovic is unaffiliated.

c.bessette@theday.com

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