Monday, May 18, 2009

Preview of Norwich Meetings (18-22 May)

As the calendar counts us down to Memorial Day, a week from today (thank you, 'Monday Holiday Law' approach) many people's thoughts turn to summertime and the livin' is easy, but the heavy lifting of local government continues, and here in the Rose of New England Gym, there's lots going on.

This afternoon at four in the basement conference room at 23 Union Street is a regular meeting of the Design Review Board and if you clicked on that link to find out more than the membership, you're now disappointed but not surprised as there is no further information available on line though, by law, there's supposed to be. How awkward, eh?

There's an informational meeting (= no written record of participants or what was said) before the City Council meeting, beginning at 6:30 with a report by the firm hired to assess how much remediation will be needed for the Norwich portion of the Norwich Hospital Property.
You and I might want any report to be part of a permanent record when/if the City Council decides to buy the hospital property, even though there are no approved plans for development in place or visible, but then again, you and I aren't on the Norwich City Council (and aren't likely to ever be).

The City Council meeting at 7 has a little bit of everything for everyone, especially if you already have "some" but hunger for more (see Sachem Fund recommendations, and/or more significantly, the listing of those who will receive no money; the shift in funding Capital Improvements, also known to some as 'magic book keeping' and who gets to sell beer and wine beyond the ballpark when the team isn't playing); it's quite the eye-opening agenda, let me tell you.

Tuesday afternoon at 5:15, in the Buckingham Memorial Building (that's the building on the same side of the street as the Otis Library, on the corner beyond the light as you walk toward the YMCA, though why would you, I suppose) there's a regular meeting of the Norwich Public Parking Commission. They meet every other month and here's the minutes of their March meeting.

At 5:30 Tuesday afternoon is a regular meeting of the Norwich Free Academy, NFA, Board of Trustees in the Latham Science Center (you can download the agenda here). Considering how frequently NFA gets mentioned at budget time in Norwich (the Board of Education is Fay Wray to the NFA trustees' King Kong, it seems), if you've never attended a Trustees' meeting, it's worth your while. Its members are our neighbors, literally-not automatons, and like so many who volunteer their time and talents to help, they try their hardest and do their best often in total obscurity and in moments of tight budgets and high anxiety are blamed for all manner of transgressions, real and imagined.

Tuesday night at 7 at 23 Union Street (next door to City Hall) is a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan, whose memberships' appointments, without exception, have expired. The City Council appoints the citizens for advisories, boards, commissions and committees and then, it seems, forgets all about them. You'd think with all the talk in Council chambers on economic development, more attention would be paid to something that serves as the blueprint to build the Next Norwich, but as some cynics have suggested, all the City Council is good for is talking. (An aside to the CCP parliamentarian: your April minutes speak of two members who are 'absent with notification.' That's a difference without distinction. The City Charter recognizes two states of meeting attendance: present or absent (one or zero). Alles oder nichts. Sekt oder Selters. There is no third way.)

On Wednesday afternoon at three in room 210 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Community Development Advisory Committee, who almost had a critical role in the "Save the Y" campaign near the end of last month but whose minutes of all previous meetings and meeting agenda are, apparently, lost at sea, as they're not on the municipal web site.

There are two Public Hearings on Use, in the basement conference room of 23 Union Street, starting at six. The first is on what to do with 751 N. Main Street (it used to be, well, never mind what it used to be) with the other hearing to start at seven on the future use of 21 West Thames Street.

Thursday afternoon at five in room 319 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Historic District Commission. The motto of the Shenandoah University History and Tourism Center is "History Speaks and Sings. All You Need Do is Listen" and at the risk of annoying you, I'd point out exactly one of the (three so far) people seeking to be the next Mayor has some strong (and strongly articulated) ideas on historic tourism (see section twelve) and its role in economic development, Alderman Bob Zarnetske. Don't roll your eyes-if your guy has some ideas, any ideas, feel free to tell me what they are and when do the rest of us get to hear about them. Yeah, that's what I figured.....

Thursday at six is a regular meeting of the Ice Arena Authority, in their conference room over on the New London Turnpike (I wonder if they have penalty boxes or if a motion carries does a red light go on over a net and people throw octopuses on the conference table. I notice they have NO minutes or agenda on the municipal website, but I may be one of the few who does notice).

And Friday morning at nine, there's a regular meeting at nine of the Norwich Housing Authority, whose minutes and agenda are, I guess, being handled by the same folks taking care of the Ice Arena Authority (and so many other municipal boards of volunteers).

That's it. You can find the time to attend something, if you really want to but you can't pretend to NOT know about it. Sorry. Being a citizen of the world starts a lot closer to home, my friend, and requires homework. "While digesting Reader’s Digest in the back of a dirty book store, a plastic flag with gum on the back fell out on the floor. Well,I picked it up and ran outside , and slapped it on my windowshield. And If I could see ol’ Betsy Ross, I’d tell her how good I feel."
-bill kenny

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