Monday, July 19, 2010

You Tell Me the World's Changed (Norwich Meetings 19-23 July)

A quick check of history will confirm we do not live in the world's oldest or largest democracy, and some days, experience might suggest it's not the most successful but your (and my) mileage may vary on that and the argument can, and must, be made that our government (small 'g' deliberately for my friends on the left or right of every issue) works as well as we do and that like it or not, we get the government (small g, again) we deserve. Somehow, I no longer get the reassurance from that I once did, but we can, together make that right again.

One of the nicer things about small-towns is we have a better opportunity to know the neighbors who volunteer to help out on all the committees and boards that cities and counties across our country need to get things done. Yeah, the President and the Senators are important and terribly vital, but you won't find any of 'em on your city's zoning board of appeals if you want to be allowed to put that awning on the side porch.

All of that said, here in Norwich the meeting calendar looks like another postcard from beyond everyday. There are dozens of small groups working independently of one another, but in collaboration (not as contradictory as it sounds) to make and keep Norwich a place we want to come home to.

Speaking of home and those who protect many of ours, at five this afternoon in Room 209 of City Hall, it's a special meeting of the Volunteer Fireman's Relief Fund Committee.

At seven thirty in Council chambers, it's the second July meeting of the Norwich City Council. And for those who didn't attend last week's Public Works' presentation on the Sherman Street Bridge (= every other person in Norwich except me), that's on tonight's agenda as are appointments of people to ongoing committees, creation of a new committee to study sustainable energy sources, and, murmurings have it, perhaps there'll be information on funding local economic development that has City Hall creating conditions for private capital investment instead of just throwing taxpayer money at the flavor of the week project hoping "now we're really on the move."

Tuesday, why not make an evening of it? Begin at 5:30 with a regular meeting in their offices at the Buckingham Memorial Building (up from the library) of the Public Parking Commission, who, it seems, had NO June meeting at all. They'll be soliciting feedback on the newly instituted parking policies for downtown. I was going to offer some snarkasm about being careful where you park if you go, but I'm trying to cut down; especially since I just had a note from Jill B reminding me that the commission meets every other month so there was no June meeting (doh!).

At six, in Room 319 of City Hall, it's a regular meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board, whose members' terms on the city's website could use a bit of refreshing. And at seven, in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street, it's a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan.

Wednesday morning (yeah, like you'd NEVER do that. Oh, you're eleven and don't know who The Beatles are. You, ageist!) at 8:30 is a regular meeting of the Southeastern CT Council of Governments in their offices in the Norwich Business Park. We'll always do better to think a little larger than just the city limits (see John Donne though I'm hoping The Situation has never heard of him) and organizations like SCCOG help us do that.

There's two other meetings on Wednesday, in the Dime Bank's Community Room at nine of the Norwich School Readiness Council which doesn't show up on the city's list of Boards, Commissions, Committees and Authorities (I feel your pain; I, too, am shocked) but the Council's website isn't exactly up to date either, and there's a regular meeting of the Integrated Day Charter School Governing Board at 5:30 in the school's media center. Their June meeting minutes are right here.

There is, if I'm reading the city's calendar correctly, a 7:30 Thursday morning meeting of the Norwich Community Development Corporation Directors in their offices at 77 Main Street, and you can send a request via their website to get a copy of previous meeting's minutes (and agenda) if you're attending. By all accounts, they have excellent coffee and 'fine doughnuts' (that's what I heard Saturday morning, Bob M, so you must be doing something right because we know our doughnuts here in Norwich).

And with a heartfelt belief that Cheerios really are doughnut seeds (if I could only get a seven or eight figure grant to prove it!), that will close this week's look ahead at Rose City meetings. See you at something?
-bill kenny

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