Gov. Rell to give Metro-Center update Thursday morning

The first selectman's office today announced that a "significant press announcement" and ceremony will take place at the site of the town's third train station -- 21 Black Rock Turnpike -- Thursday at 10 a.m.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell will reportedly be in attendance.

The Metro-North project has been embroiled in controversy for years, most recently after it emerged late in 2008 that the developer and current owner of 28 acres of the site, Blackrock Realty LLC, became locked in foreclosure proceedings with TD Bank N.A. over the $20 million mortgage on which TD Bank claims Blackrock defaulted.

The lawsuit threw into question whether the project -- a joint effort between the town, state and private developer, originally envisioning a sprawling retail and office center and acres of parks -- would ever come to fruition, as Blackrock Realty is contractually obligated to prepare the parking lot site, construct an access road to lower Black Rock Turnpike and install a drainage system.

But in January, the state approved $19.4 million in bonding to complete portions of the project, displaying, officials said, the state's commitment to getting the public portions of the station -- trains and parking spaces -- operational by 2011.

Negotiations have been ongoing between the town, state and developer for months over how their three-party agreement, which was initially signed in 2003, can be salvaged, or at least portions of it.

Since February, First Selectman Ken Flatto has given monthly updates on the negotiations to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). His latest update was on Monday, but it offered no detailed developments, according to Cristin McCarthy Vahey, D-6, the minority leader.

Those attending Thursday's event are asked to use the entrance on the Black Rock Turnpike side across from BJ's Wholesale Club, which is located at 40 Black Rock Turnpike. Parking will be available at the train site.