Monday, November 29, 2010

Another Born Romantic That's Me

It's not really the size of the city I look at it-it's the size of the people in the city. I try to track folks who spend a lot of time staring at what their neighbors have, worrying about holding on to what they've got or thinking that if someone else does well, it diminishes their own chances of being successful because I don't really want to be with such small people, no matter how big or small the city is in which we all live.

We're living large here in The Rose of New England this week-so if you're looking to settle someplace that's just about caught its second wind and is set to start making up for lost time, this may be where you want to be heading. If you're a business, start here. And if it's just you and your family, here's as good a place to start as any. And remember, it ain't bragging if it's true.

Here's how we roll in Norwich in terms of civic involvement-so grab a pencil and start writing down stuff you think is important, because whatever you write down, is. Okay?

Tonight at six sees two special meetings (because they were rescheduled from last week) of both the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners and the Sewer Authority (only a mother can tell them apart and don't ask me what kind of mother).

At 6:30 in the Kelly Middle School (with an encore Tuesday night at 6:30 in the Teachers Middle School library) is a public forum, "Norwich Education Excellence for Today and Tomorrow's (NEXTT) Schools." Don't be intimidated by the title-what's important is the purpose (that's why I shared the article from the Sunday newspaper). If you have/had children in Norwich Public Schools or are paying taxes in the city of Norwich, you've got skin in this game and over the next two nights is the time to talk and listen. We're a lot smarter together than by ourselves.

Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in the Mahan School is a regular meeting of the Board of Education's Building and Space Committee (someone had to take up the slack for NASA and I love Tang so there you go).

At five in the Otis Library is an informational meeting by the CT Department of Environmental Protection on the fish restoration program (I eat fish sticks, so I'm not the guy to ask about this; suspect Jerry M is up on it) but here's an idea, after that meeting head for the community room since at six, they're showing The Last Airbender .

As noted above there's a second sitting for the NEXTT forum and because you went Monday doesn't mean there won't be more great ideas offered on Tuesday (just sayin'....).

Last Tuesday's Public Parking Commission meeting was cancelled because of a lack of a quorum (it had nothing to do with not being able to find parking spaces, I'm told) and is slated for this afternoon at 5:30 in the commission's offices at the Buckingham Memorial. Maybe just me, but Norwich public parking seems to be a lot like the weather in terms of the volume of complaints and murmurings. If you've got a bouquet or a brickbat to offer about the recent changes to downtown parking, you owe it to everyone else to make the meeting.

Wednesday morning at 7:30, courtesy of the Community Economic Development Fund and the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce, at the Holiday Inn on Laura Boulevard is a business summit with eighteen agencies and organizations offering technical advice and lending programs to help local businesses expand and improve.

Wednesday afternoon at 5:30, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Education's (Kelly Middle) School Building Committee that the city's website says is happening in the central office, across from the Norwichtown Green, but previous meeting minutes suggest is convened in the library at the Kelly Middle School. I'd call 860.823.4200 before heading out to make sure you're going to the correct location.

Also at 5:30 in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings whose archives of meeting minutes, as posted on the city's website, are pathetically outdated, almost willfully poorly-maintained. Having as the only entry for all of 2010, the agenda of the January meeting (yeah, eleven months ago) is not even vaguely humorous.

Thursday morning at 7:30 in the offices of the Norwich Community Development Corporation at 77 Main Street it's a regular convening of the "Norwich Mayor's meeting/Team Norwich" on Economic Development--don't look for the minutes from previous Wednesday meetings as they 're being filed, I suppose, with the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings' minutes (= your guess is as good as mine and probably better).

Speaking of "Where's Waldo?", there's a 5:30 meeting Thursday afternoon of the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ), according to the city's website. The location is to be determined. Again. You'll NEVER figure out where it'll be based on reviewing the minutes of previous meetings, since the ONLY meeting minutes from 2010 are from August. I'd assume with the passage of the downtown bond proposal, there'd be increased activity and a larger role for the NRZ. Then again, the Feast of the Assumption is also in August, though NOT reflected in the meeting minutes (so I guess that meeting wasn't at St Patrick's).

And Thursday evening at seven in the Planning Department's conference room at 23 Union Street is a regular meeting of the Inlands, Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Committee whose October meeting minute are here but whose November minutes I can't locate anywhere.

Saturday morning at ten, in the Central Fire House is an informational session with the City Council and the Board of Education. If you attended last Saturday's presentation "Connecticut's State and Local Government Crisis: A Perspective for Norwich" by Marcia Marien, the President of The Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants (it's not on the website; maybe you can get it from Ms. Marien at Marcia@MarienCPAs.com), and there were only four of us there, you know 'train wreck' is NOT hyperbole in describing what the next local budgets across the state will look like. Before you attend, you need to understand Connecticut's cities are fiscally NOT skating on thin ice, they are walking on water. The only question is for how much longer. You might wish to emulate W.C Fields and avoid water, though I still hope to see you at something, somewhere this week.
-bill kenny

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