Stonington residents OK Davis-Standard tax break, boathouse park committee

Stonington — Fifteen residents quickly and unanimously approved two items at Tuesday’s town meeting: a measure that creates a committee to implement the plans for the Mystic River Boathouse Park and another to give Davis-Standard a two-year tax break on its new addition.

The tax incentive for Spirit Master Funding X LLC, which recently bought the Davis-Standard property on Extrusion Drive and then leased it back to the company, and Davis-Standard LLC would save the company about $23,000 in each of the two years. During that time, though, the company will pay taxes on personal property in the addition.

After two years, the assessment on the $1.5 million addition will be added to the property’s annual assessment and taxed. In exchange, the company agrees to stay in town for five years after that.

First Selectman Rob Simmons has said that in the successful effort to help Davis-Standard obtain a $1.3 million state grant for the project, the town was required to show an interest in supporting the project. He said the agreement for the fixed assessment for two years was the town’s way of showing that interest.

The 15,045-square-foot expansion to the front of the Davis-Standard manufacturing facility was built this past fall and is designed to give the company space to house the operations of a Massachusetts firm it has purchased. The extrusion company has said the addition will allow it to add 30 well-paying, skilled machinist jobs to the local economy within the next two years.

Residents also voted to approve the park implementation committee, its makeup and mission.

Simmons said the committee will give the town an entity that will have the authority to implement the plan for the park and over the long term also could manage the park if that is how the town decides to proceed.

Selectmen will now appoint members to the committee. Residents voted in September to spend $2.2 million to buy a 1.5-acre site just north of Mystic Seaport and create a park with the understanding that the Friends of Stonington Crew would pay to erect a boathouse and docks there for the Stonington High School crew team. The boathouse also would support community rowing programs.

The town still needs to submit a plan for the park to the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval. It then will have to demolish existing buildings on the site, cap coal slag contamination and landscape the property.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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