Monday, August 16, 2010

Norwich Meetings 16-20 August 2010

This is the week we run into each other in department stores grabbing up clothes and school supplies as we ready our children for the back to school rush (in CT we send our kids back to school before Labor Day so we can completely stop teaching them for the three day holiday and then start all over again). All the parents have sort of half-smiles, all the kids not so much. What seemed like a forever summer vacation when it started in early June is already just about over and few if any have a lot to show for it, except maybe a tan.

We're just about twelve weeks (as I count 'em) away from Election Day and there's a strong possibility that by the time the City Council has concluded its meeting tonight we in Norwich will have some bonding decisions to make. That's why, if you can, there's an informational workshop tonight at 6 PM on the proposals before the City Council meeting at 7:30 whose agenda includes public hearings on each of the three bonding proposals. 

I attended a workshop in the middle of last week where some thoughtful comments suggested a different mix of funds and a slightly different focus (people over programs) might pay faster and better dividends. I'll be curious to see if those suggestions, and any from the floor tonight,are reflected in the ordinances' final language.    

Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 in the Latham Science Center on the campus of the Norwich Free Academy is a regular meeting of the Board of  Trustees. I suspect somewhere in the agenda, perhaps in correspondence or reports might be an expanded explanation of the  Standard and Poor's credit rating upgrade and its impact both on NFA as well as on the sending towns.

At six in Room 319 of City, it's a combined Regular and Investment Meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board. A review of their July minutes gives you a taste of the scale and scope of decisions the Board must make and the impact those decisions have on people's lives. I mention it because the minutes also note there's still a vacancy and another word that starts with "v" is volunteer, so feel free to step up if you have the time and the interest. I'm sure the Board members would appreciate the help.

And at seven, next door to City Hall in the Planning Department basement conference room at 23 Union Street, is a regular meeting of the Commission on the City Plan. 

Wednesday morning at seven thirty, in the offices of the Norwich Community Development Corporation, NCDC, at 77 Main Street, is another informational presentation on the economic redevelopment bonding proposals that have garnered so much newspaper ink in recent weeks. 

Later at 8:45 (yeah, I don't understand the quarter hour start times either, but if they work for the volunteers on the agencies, good on 'em) it's a rescheduled from last week meeting of the Rehabilitation Review Committee in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street. I would anticipate as all the downtown redevelopment and rehabilitation agencies start working closer together, they  will have a larger speaking part in determining what buildings are repurposed and how that's accomplished. 

Then at nine o'clock, in the community room of The Dime Bank on Salem Turnpike is a regular meeting of  the Norwich School Readiness Council (Children First) whose mission, I would assume has become even more important as funding shortages and shortfalls compound the difficulties in preparing children for Global Village we've decided is the purpose of  the 21st Century. Yet their website seems to have been last updated about two years ago-so much for any sense of urgency.  

Wednesday evening at six, rescheduled from last week, is a special, because it's on a different night than it normally is, meeting of the Norwich Baseball Stadium Authority. If you haven't had a chance to check out the CT Tigers in their inaugural season at Dodd Stadium, you're running out of chances and far too soon will have no one but yourself to blame when the boys of summer are done for the year.   

And Thursday night at six, it's a regular meeting of the Ice Arena Authority whose most recent posted minutes, June, suggests revenue streams, perhaps as economic hard times continue, are drying up much needed sources of income for all manner of recreational activities. 

Saturday mornings, barring tornadoes and hailstorms, I tend to hike throughout Norwich (I never get lost as everyone I meet tells me where to go) and these sojourns take me to neighborhoods I might never otherwise see. I'm getting a better appreciation for the villages that make up our city, and the different flavors that each adds to the overall mix. If you're up and out early, I'm not that hard to find--and am always happy for the company  because if I get nothing else aside from exercise, it's that there's winners and there's losers, but they ain't no big deal.
-bill kenny 

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