Sell Seaside, don't betray those in need

Last week there was a hearing for Senate Bill 252, which would require the sale of the former Seaside Regional Center property in Waterford. The bill asks the Connecticut General Assembly to overturn the governor’s executive order that would turn the 32 acres into a state park.

Seaside is approximately one mile from Harkness Memorial State Park and its 230 acres are already available for public enjoyment.

Under the original agreement reached with a prospective developer, the sale of Seaside would give $8 million back to the Department of Developmental Services to go toward housing for the intellectually disabled.

Since 2012 to present, $80 million has been cut from Department of Developmental Services. Those opposing this bill question the sale as providing only a one-time funding source. Instead, it should be viewed as an investment in human lives.

There is a growing residential waiting list of approximately 2,500 individuals who have intellectual disabilities and whose families are told that the only way they will receive a residential placement is when the last surviving caregiver dies.

Sadly, we are one of those families.

Connecticut doesn't need another state park at the expense of denying funding for some of the most vulnerable members of our society and the least able to advocate for themselves. I am appalled at these misplaced priorities and consider this a whole new level of inhumanity.

My husband and I are the adoptive parents to our daughter, Sarah, 21, born with Down syndrome. Sarah was one of the 330 graduates in 2017 left without services for six months due to a budget cut.

We are aging out and praying for the righteousness of God to prevail, and that is to “Do justice and maintain the rights of the afflicted and destitute." (Ps.82:3/Amp.)

I gladly support the proposal by state Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, to sell the Seaside property and use the proceeds to provide the Department of Developmental Services the money it needs to serve the intellectually disabled, while leaving a portion as open space.

Arlene Reith lives in Salem.

 

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