This has all the makings of an historic day in Norwich. We just finished blowing out the candles on our 350th birthday party, so we're sort of experts on history around here. Not so coincidentally, the next 350 starts near the center of downtown, actually at City Hall, and goes all the way across town to just beyond Chelsea Parade, to the campus of the Norwich Free Academy.
At 5:30 in Room 335 of City Hall, we're about to get serious about what to do with the Norwich parcel of land from the State Hospital. Lots of folks across the region and around the state of Connecticut have watched our neighbors in Preston wrestle and 'stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast' as they fluctuate between freedom of choice and freedom from choice.
Take that struggle as a cautionary tale. If you're not concerned about having a say in what becomes of this land then you deserve whatever happens to you. But don't stand so close to me, okay? Some people have told me they can't be bothered to attend-and they're right, they can't be bothered. The volunteers on the committee have been at this long and hard, with lots of stubby pencils and measuring twice and cutting once. The last I checked, all of them were (and are) our neighbors and we should honor their efforts with an effort of our own. If you think it doesn't make a difference, you're right, it doesn't. But then don't complain when you don't like the decisions for the road ahead. Stop being a victim. Become your future.
You'll probably have to leave that meeting early to get to the Slater Museum auditorium at NFA by seven thirty (time changed this morning, that's why you didn't know) for the first of the mayoral debates. I told you a long time ago about how I feel and why, but come and hear for yourself from each of the very generous people seeking your vote for Mayor. It's a part-time position with more than full-time challenges and aggravation and it is marvelous that four citizens would offer to serve, especially when I read about other towns where 'unopposed' is the rule of the day. The headline in yesterday's newspaper pretty much captures where we start, but where we stop is up to each of us. Tomorrow begins tonight, with or without you. If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice. Your choice, your voice. Use one to define the other.