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Stonington may change name of Mystic River Boathouse Park

Mystic — On Monday, the Mystic River Boathouse Park Implementation Committee will discuss whether to change the name of the still-to-be-built park to Stonington Boathouse Park.

Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons, who chairs the boathouse park committee, said the change is being requested for the Route 27 park due to possible confusion with the Mystic River Park on Cottrell Street, which is located about a mile away from the planned boathouse park site.

Simmons said the town has received a letter from the Mystic River Park Committee that it was concerned about possible confusion and asked that the name be changed. It pointed out the possibility of rowing teams showing up at Mystic River Park looking to launch their shells.

Simmons said the change to Stonington Boathouse Park would create a sense that it is a park for the whole town, as the whole town paid for it and the whole town would use it.

“It seems like a reasonable request to consider,” he said.

Simmons said he would present the request to the boathouse committee when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the police station.

“I’ll put it to the members and see if they are interested,” he added.

He said the town also would have to look into any legal or technical ramifications of changing the name.

Simmons said the committee also will discuss removing proposed parallel parking spots proposed for Route 27 in front of the park. Simmons said police Chief J. Darren Stewart is not in favor of the spots due to safety concerns and the Stonington Board of Police Commissioners would need to support the spots in order to gain state Department of Transportation approval, which is needed because Route 27 is a state road.

But Simmons said the spots would improve safety for people crossing the street in the area because drivers will slow down when they see cars parked along the side of the road.

He said Stewart pointed out that parked cars could get a door ripped off by passing cars.

“Most people are smarter than that. Most people will slow down when they see the vehicles,” Simmons said.

He pointed out there is similar parking along the street in busy Ledyard Center with few problems.

He said the committee will discuss developing a specific timeline with specific costs for each section of the development of the actual park.

The town has a master plan to develop the $2.2 million park while renderings have been presented for the $2.5 million Hart Perry Boathouse. Some in the community have criticized the modern design of the boathouse.

Two years ago, Stonington residents approved $2.2 million in bonding to create the park with public access to the Mystic River. A private group of rowing supporters is raising money to construct the boathouse, which will be home to the 90-member Stonington High School crew team and the Stonington Community Rowing Center, which will be open to the public, as well.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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