Does It Come with Two Pair of Plans?


Arts panel calls for theater plan
Staff writer
Article Last Updated: 11/16/2008 11:38:00 PM EST

STRATFORD — Another player has entered the continuing drama over efforts to reopen the Shakespeare Theater.

With a developer seeking an additional $600,000 to renovate the long-shuttered theater — which would raise the total cost of the project to about $3 million — the town’s Arts Commission is weighing in with a call for an expanded business plan.

Concerned about what it calls the developer’s “lack of a public plan,” the commission voted unanimously at a special meeting last week that the developer selected by the Town Council, Rhode Island theater producer Bill Hanney, be required to provide a more extensive written plan with deadlines and benchmarks.

The panel states in its resolution that Hanney should address major points in the Arts Commission Opinion of April 2008 requested by and submitted to the Town Council that outlines the following priorities:

l How does the respective plan promote and enhance the Town of Stratford?

l What are the respective entity’s criteria for success?

l What is the respective entity’s plan for financial stability, viability, and sustainability? Specifically, what are the plans for endowment?

l Does the respective business model support the town’s long-term goals?

“The Stratford Arts Commission continues to express strong reservations about the use of town funds for the Shakespeare Theater without the developer being required to respond specifically to the major points of the Arts Commission opinion of April 2008,” the panel states in its resolution.

Commission Chairman J. Sibley Law said while the panel had already scheduled last week’s session, the developer’s latest request for more funding concerns has caused concern for some of the panel’s members.

That’s because Hanney was not aware — and neither was the Town Council — that a prevailing-wage state statute requires contractors, such as electricians, roofers and painters, to be paid a minimum amount for any work undertaken using state or municipal funds. That is expected to boost the project’s overall cost by about 25 percent. The council has referred a $600,000 bonding request by Hanney for more money to the Ordinance Committee, which will review the request when it meets at 7 p.m. next Monday in Town Hall.

“Over the last few months arts commissioners have expressed some interest in having more of a say in what’s been happening in the theater, and some disappointment that we don’t really know many of the details,” said Law. “When you are looking at a $3 million

project, a two-and-a-half page business plan that has been submitted is a little light on details.”

But council leaders said it has considered some of the suggestions submitted by the Arts Commission, and that Hanney’s business plan does address specific deadlines and benchmarks.

“I don’t know why they [the Arts Commission] is jumping in now; we could have used their input long before this,” said Town Council Majority Leader Michael Julian, R-1, whose district includes the theater.

Whatsamatter, Mike? No more Happy Zone?

“The Arts Commission has had virtually no input during this process. It was only after I prodded them to get involved that they sent what they thought would be helpful, and some points have been considered and should be in the final contract.”

You mean someone wants to see a business plan with numbers in it? Go figure.

8 Responses to “Does It Come with Two Pair of Plans?”

  1. 1 1george1

    I ran into Fredette and asked if he was bothered by my using
    his world famous quote:
    “Hey this is Stratford!”
    (anything can happen)

    Fredette shrugged and said, “I am on record as saying it. No problem.”

    So regarding the Art’s Commission surprize Business Plan – – –
    “Hey, this is Stratford.”

    I was wondering why Ed Goodrich and the Art’s Commission were still
    active and involved?

    Isn’t the Art’s Commission filled with Mironites?
    > I never placed Goodrich as a Miron supporter. But:
    “Hey, this is Stratford!”

    Let’s see, the Haney supporters are Julian, Henrich, and who else?
    Aren’t those some of the supporters of Team Stratford # 1, # 2, & # 3.

    I hear a rumor about a player on Team Stratford # 1 supposedly in
    protected custody.

    NO IDEA on how this is supposed to “play out” as Jim Miron stated
    about AREA 51 / AVCO.

    I don’t know who to ROOT FOR?
    I do know who I am ROOTING AGAINST!
    I could wind up having WINNING and LOSING ROOTING INTERESTS?

    And still it will probably be bad for the Public Interest.
    Sadly 😦
    “Hey, this IS stratford.”

  2. 2 genericscreename

    Et Al:

    After reading the above a few questions come to mind. Will the developer/operator be required to submit plans and specifications for review and approval by both the town council for design and the building department for code compliance?, if so, how is the architectural process going to shake out?, will it be chosen by the developer/operator or by the town?

    Has the state of Ct, department of labor actually issued a wage rate decision on the project?, or if there are any federal funds, the USDOL would have to issue the wage rate decision., but how can any wage rate decision be issued with out a defined scope of work and blue prints?, typically they are issued after the architect submits a scope letter to the DOL. So…………………………………………………. will there be additional roadblocks once the red tape begins and who will be responsible?, oh well, this is Stratford.

  3. 3 jezebel282



    In this Town the only “responsible” ones are the taxpayers.

  4. 4 freedomofspeach

    Well I haven’t read the BL report, because no one who has it, such as Gavin who was asked, put the executive summary online. I think you will find that the people there stated in their assumptions it was at a Davis-Bacon, DBRA, or a “little Davis-Bacon” (the states version) wage job, depending on how funded. It is a public building and its funded by public money so the assumption is the state will require it. Opps. Guess the TC and the others in power just missed it. Do they all go to the meetings in a little clown car?

    It should possibly have an A & E review, historic commission review, environmental impact assessment as well as site assessment, traffic study, and public hearing on development, as it is a public building with public funding. Maybe a real business plan too. But it won’t.

    Years ago, and before the building was transferred I believe, E & Y (I think) did a feasibility study on the thing for the town. Guess what, it said (paraphrasing) that without public funding in perpetuity, it could not survive.

    Seems that report got buried in town hall. Cant get donations from developers to campaigns if it’s a dead deal.

  5. 5 genericscreename

    I honestly believe that those who are pushing this through have no idea about what they are about to encounter with out dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.

    Once the scope of work is defined, true “permitted” plans and specifications written, etc, the cost of the work will most likely escalate.

    I once had an opportunity years ago to walk through the facility. The electrical system dates back to the 1950’s and the main panels (in my humble opinion) will explode the first time they power them up if they are not changed out. The ADA aspect is non existent, as there are no ADA compliant areas of the building.

    The mechanical System has potential, but the main condensing units have never been installed, only the chillers on the exterior.

    The emergency back up generator is close to 30 years old.

    The sewer system has never been updated

    The list is extensive, and I honestly do not believe that both the council or the developer/operator understands what actually is necessary to make the facility compliant.

    I have heard estimated numbers from as low as three million to nineteen million. I believe the real number is between three and five million with out any bells and whistles.

  6. 6 jezebel282

    A million here, a million there…pretty soon you’re talking real money.

    $3.1 Million so far (with interest). Hmm…what could we have bought instead?

    Firetrucks, teachers, cops, dredging Longbrook Park, free flu shots for seniors and children, removing some cottages…lowering taxes?

    And what do we get for the $3.1 million? What is our ROI? Over what period?

    Anybody? Anbody at all?

  7. 7 genericscreename

    Forget about what we will get, lets look at what others there have already received……….

    Mr B. collected some serious money, made an attempt to renovate and left the town with $250,000.00 in liens which we had to satisfy. Mr. B walked away scott free with out any judgement or jail time. No one ever received a full accounting of where all the money went, and no one did anything about it either.

    What would happen if someone were to begin to audit the books and look at how those original funds were dispersed by the original developer?, and if George is reading, I bet once you looked at all the original players and contractors and subcontractors involved, you WILL be able to demonstrate a link., go for it George. Oh yeah, and while you are at it, why not compare the value of what was paid for to those individuals/companies and compare it to the actual work which was done. Do the math, and I suspect you will be very, very surprised , oh no you wont, because………this is Stratford!!!!!!!!

  8. 8 1george1

    I wanted to note the excellent posts of Generic and Freedom.

    Generic, if you wanted to give me direction on where to look, other than
    the Town Hall (JM / DM / DB screwing down info to me) I would be pleased
    to look.

    Generic, I have a pretty good idea of the players, money spent, work done
    or not done, but nothing in B & W. So if you have an extra set of documents
    or can guide me (discreetly) as to where they would be found, I’d look.

    Years ago a good friend worked promotion for Louie Burke’s SFT’s tinkerbell
    crew, whom he and friends deeply stiffed! She was paid her first week and
    left 12 weeks later, never seeing another penny.
    Contractors and crew put in contractor liens for 3, 4, 5 figures.
    What a mess.
    I tried to get her to go to the State Dept of Labor or put in her lien.
    She choose to walk away.
    I don’t know, specifically, how it ended. But some people don’t look at
    certain people as the Good Fairy. Makes me wonder about some of his
    friends at the Country Club and elsewhere?

    I wonder when my buddy Mike took up golf? 😉

    Generic, the other day I wrote that you “ALMOST”
    hurt my feelings.
    I appreciate your positions, and understand why you would wonder
    about some of my views about the stories behind the stories.
    No problemo.

    I was channel surfing late Monday night …

    …Edited by Jezebel for relevancy….

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