Monday, August 2, 2010

Not Enough Trees (Norwich Meetings 2-6 August 2010)

Around our neck of the woods, and maybe yours, too, there's a slowing of the tempo of  local and state political activity as August begins. Conventional wisdom has it that many of us are starting to gather up the supplies and new clothing and shoes for the kids as they start back to school (my wife and I are out of that demographic now) or some are just starting on/returning from their summer vacations (assuming they have jobs in this economy from which to take vacations).

After Labor Day, there will be an uptick in activities, I'm told,  while all I'm looking forward to is the end of those automated phone calls from folks seeking statewide office in CT primaries next week. Those calls are nearly as annoying as the 'pull each other's hair out' TV commercials that are foisted on me, though the TV spot with the Senatorial candidate kicking someone in the crotch is up there with the AFLAC duck. The miracle of democracy and its uncanny ability to deliver just the government we deserve can sometimes be a little disquieting.

Not counting the Sunday morning session in the local "America Runs On" coffee shop, which I stumbled across by accident and because I recognized the tones of a member of the Downtown NRZ, this is a light meeting week in Norwich.  Of course, the argument might be made that with a small meeting calendar, we can devote more attention to what is happening, except in the eighteen years I've lived here if there's one thing we like paying less than taxes, it's attention. So much for snarcasm, fun that it is....the game's afoot!

Tonight at 7:30 in City Council Chambers it's a regular meeting of the City Council. The agenda is attracting a lot of attention though much of that attention is on a public hearing on one item that's a meeting away, on the 16th. It's nice to see (hopefully) we're correcting a decision made earlier this year on the tax-exempt status of the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments offices in the Norwich Business Park. We need all the friends we can get (no, I was not looking in a mirror when I wrote that).

Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 in the ground floor conference room of  the Norwich Public School Central Offices, across from the Norwichtown Green, it's a regular meeting of the (Kelly Middle) School Building Committee. Judging from the July 7 meeting minutes, the portion of the project referred to as the Technology bid is still being sorted out in terms of wants and expectations. Definitely an area where you want to measure (at least ) twice and cut only once. There may be a lot to be said for dumb boxes with licensed software residing on servers instead of the more traditional expectation of site licenses for a multitude of machines. Comes down to different tools for different tasks and I'm glad to see that seems to be the approach here.                                                   

Wednesday evening at seven, it's a regular meeting of the Republican Town Committee, listed as being in Room 335 of City Hall, though I've often heard it tends to be hosted in alternate locations. You might want to double check the location before just stopping in.  

Also Wednesday at seven in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street and related to projected activities on Monday's City Council agenda, is a special meeting of the Commission on the City Plan, which will offer, or withhold, its recommendation on the proposed bonding initiatives that may be the subject of a public hearing at the 16 August City Council meeting. To me, any opportunity to learn more about the details of the bond package is a good thing since I doubt you can have too much information before making a decision. We've certainly made enough emotion driven decisions that we've regretted so gathering the facts is an exercise in common sense that we should do more often.

On Thursday, speaking of the Downtown Neighborhood Revitalization Zone as I was to start, there's a meeting at 5:30 in "the marina."  Perhaps if you have a kayak, a powerboat or a life raft, that location is specific enough. A search of the municipal website doesn't yield anything approximating last month's minutes, or any meeting minutes from this entire year (so far), so I don't know what to tell you about what they're working on though logic dictates the Intermodal Transportation Center, ITC, has been, and will remain, I suspect, a hot topic for them and others involved in downtown redevelopment.

And finally at seven Thursday night it's a regular meeting of the Inland Wetlands, Watercourses and Conservation Commission, in the Planning Department Conference room at 23 Union Street. Perhaps they didn't have a July meeting, as there are no meetings posted for it but at some point down the road they'll be involved in the Occum Industrial Park creation and configuration as that district of Norwich starts to see renewed interest.

So again, and as always, there's more than enough activity in The Rose City. Be part of a solution and see you at something, I hope.
-bill kenny

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