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Sunday, February 25 News

Hearing set Tuesday for day-care center proposed at former Stratfield Market site

Pat Johnsson considers herself an optimistic person, and she's hopeful that both neighbors and the Town Plan and Zoning Commission will approve a plan to open a day care center in the building that once housed the former Stratfield Market.

"I haven't really heard of very many concerns, if any at all, from neighbors, and if there are, they will be addressed," Johnsson said. "We want everybody to be happy."

Johnsson and her husband, Ken, own Child's World Academy, which has day care centers in Monroe and Peekskill, N.Y. They are seeking a special exception from the TPZ to open the day care center at the vacant market building. A hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in McKinley School.

After the market at 1280 Stratfield Road closed in 2006, neighbors successfully battled retail pharmacy giant Walgreen's, which applied to open an outlet on the site, both on the local level and in the state's highest courts.

Pickets, boycotts and petitions were used by the Stratfield Village Association to keep the chain store out of the neighborhood, and the long battle ended with a 2011 ruling by the state Supreme Court that rejected the plan.

Empty since the IGA market lost its lease, the property since then has often prompted complaints to town officials about deterioration and blight.

The Johnssons and their lawyer, John Fallon, met with neighbors prior to filing the zoning application.

If approved, Johnsson said she hopes to open the new day care center by the fall.

greilly@ctpost.com; 203-556-2771; http://twitter.com/GreillyPost