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Thursday, July 19, 2012

NEWS FLASH - Y-Gate Scandal may be over!

YMCA has another buyer
By Will Collette

According to reliable sources, the Westerly YMCA signed a deal to sell its controversial abandoned campground on Watchaug Pond to an as yet unidentified buyer, but not the Charlestown Land Trust.

Acting Town Administrator Pat Anderson confirms that the YMCA item has been removed from the agenda for the continuation of the Council's July meeting scheduled for next Monday, July 23.

In response to my question about whether the Y would be dropped from Monday's agenda, Pat e-mailed, "Yes. The Y decided to sell to a private developer."

At that Monday  meeting, the Council had been expected to vote on a proposal by Council member Gregg Avedisian to hold a special town financial election on the question of the town spending $398,000 to purchase a conservation easement from the Charlestown Land Trust which, in turn, would pay the Westerly YMCA $600,000 to buy the 27.5 acre campground on Watchaug Pond.

Council candidate Jim Mageau and his running mates have been circulating a petition for a counter-proposal - a town financial election on the question of Charlestown buying the campground outright for $600,000 to use as active recreation.

Mageau reports "We are suspending the petition drive for now but everyone that collected signatures should hang onto them in the event that the private deal falls through."

The prospect of another buyer for the controversial campground has actually been in the works for several weeks. Because I could not confirm the persistent reports of an alternative resolution to Y-Gate, one that didn't involved the taxpayers getting screwed, I did not report these rumors.

Expect more on this story as more information - and reaction - comes in.