Now that we finally have nice weather (as the back-to-school sales start; you can't say God doesn't have a sense of humor), it's understandable that the last thing anyone might want to do is stay indoors and attend a municipal meeting, but unless we figure out a way to live in a geodesic dome (Buckminster F says howdy!) that's how things go, and as things go, this is a week with a diverse and interesting assortment of meetings here in Norwich.
However, before I start on that let me stop and do a public service announcement for your chance to be a Swell Fella or Gal....and you don't even have to get out of your chair (right now, I mean). Last Monday night, frankly to my surprise, the Norwich City Council unanimously amended (and improved it's believed) the municipal code of ethics and created an Ethics Commission that's now in search of citizen volunteers. You can not only make a difference, you can be the difference by clicking here and offering to be a member of the Commission. Can you feel the glow in your soul from doing a good thing? And we can agree it's not heartburn? Good.
If you wished to attend the FIRST meeting of interest this week in Norwich, you'd need to leave and be in Gales Ferry for the regular meeting of the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority in their offices at 1649 Route 12 at 5:15 this afternoon. You'll find the minutes of their 20 July meeting when you scroll down on the left side of their web page. I have no idea where you'd find their meeting agenda, but good hunting!
Meanwhile at 5:30 this afternoon back in Norwich, in Room 210 of City Hall, is a Special Meeting of the Norwich Site Development Committee for the Former State Hospital (if the members get silk jackets, let's hope they're not buying the lettering by the word; they'll go broke). Proving one person CAN make a difference, I applaud Bob M's success at getting the municipal website to acknowledge the committee's existence (even if its name is slightly different than the one on the agenda) and these folks are working to be part of the next important project here in The Rose City, so I'd suggest you catch up by reading the minutes of their first meeting of July 20th (the minutes from last week's meeting aren't on the city's website, yet, but you can get them by dropping a note to email@example.com) and then making plans to attend their second and fourth Monday of the month meetings.
Tuesday is now a great time to bring a date and dine by the whites of their eyes at a restaurant in downtown Norwich as both the Public Works and Capital Improvements Committee (normally at 5 PM in the Public Works Director's office at 50 Clinton Street) and the Zoning Board of Appeals (at 7 PM at 23 Union Street) meetings are cancelled. If you remember, last week's City Council voted to put a five million dollar bond resolution for capital improvements on the November ballot and I'm sure between now and the election a good way to learn more about that initiative will be to attend a PW&I Committee meeting (I'm in charge of acronyms, I guess. I can only hope I use my powers for good).
There's a Rehabilitation Review Committee meeting at 8:45 Wednesday morning in the 2nd Floor Conference Room at 23 Union Street. I'm impressed with any one who can take a meeting slated for the 14th of January 2009 and move it to the 21st of January, 2003. I'd be more impressed with a better understanding of when their regular meetings are (no meetings in April, May or July it seems), but here's their June meeting minutes.
The Housing Authority meets at 4:30 Wednesday afternoon at 10 Westwood Park and does many important and vital things, none of which any of us NOT in attendance can know anything about because, a year plus after a Connecticut State Law mandated the posting of ALL meeting minutes on municipal websites, there isn't a trace of the Housing Authority anywhere. Between the citizen volunteers on the Authority and the Office of the City Clerk, there's a disconnect in need of rapid repair.
The Baseball Stadium Authority meets at six Wednesday in Room 210 of City Hall-here's their July meeting minutes and if they ever make total time of meeting an Olympic event, MJ, I suspect we'll see you at the medals podium.
Wednesday night at seven is a regular meeting of the Public Safety Committee, this time in the Yantic Volunteer Fire Department. I always bring a dog treat just in case there's a dalmatian (or an infant with freckles and a penchant for crawling).
And closing out the week Thursday morning at nine in their offices at 32 Huntington Street in New London is a regular meeting of the Eastern Connecticut Regional Tourism District who, probably far better than most of the rest of us, can talk to and about the impact of the current economic climate nationally on a region heavily invested and dependent upon tourism and leisure time activities. If we're going to rebuild our section of the state, we need to sort through what each of us and all of us together, need to do and be prepared to do. "Hammer in the final nail. Help me pick up the pieces."