Monday, September 20, 2010

Target Rich Environment

If you'd promised yourself that this was the fall you were gonna get involved locally in what is happening in The Rose City, the good news is you've picked a good week to start.

Head for City Hall this afternoon, with a pillow and a lunch and you'll probably be well served. The Volunteer Firefighter's Relief Fund Committee has a special meeting at five in Room 209 followed at six in Council Chambers by an informational meeting on the parking kiosk that at least two of us thought was supposed to be held a couple of weeks ago. Parking downtown is a lot like the weather in terms of the amount of talk in relation to the actual impact but is a topic that needs to be better incorporated into any and all discussions about redevelopment.

The City Council meeting at 7:30 always has items on its agenda worth your further consideration and I see at least two tonight. There's a public hearing (#5) and a report by the Commission on the City Plan (#4 in reports) on a tax abatement (extension) for the developers of the Ponemah Mills project. I'm trying (and failing) to understand how this City Council would unanimously send to referendum three separate proposals for public-private partnerships aimed at providing economic stimulus to spur redevelopment across the city and then consider passage of a package such as this, where, in my opinion, we go back to doing business the way we did in the 'bad old days.'

Under new business, I think you should listen to the presentation and discussion on the proposal before the City Council from the Norwich Public Schools for funding of a systemic review and reconfiguration of the city's public schools. The future, says the commercial, will be here in a moment-whether we plan on it or not-but it would be prudent to plan our work and work our plan. And we may also see the creation of a(nother) Charter Revision Commission, leading me to wonder, as someone who served on the previous one and had the same question, why not just create a standing commission to collect and collate questions, concerns and suggestions with a written report twice a year to the City Council? All in all, a full evening.

Tuesday afternoon at 5:30 across town from one another are a (regular) meeting of the Norwich Free Academy Board of Trustees (see Wednesday's note as well) in the Latham Science Center on campus while at the Buckingham Memorial (near the Otis Library in downtown-you do remember downtown, right?) is a regular meeting of the Public Parking Commission.

At six, in Room 319 of City Hall is a regular meeting of the Personnel and Pension Board 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. I thought about the CCP not only when reviewing the City Council's meeting agenda but while reading the Sunday Norwich Bulletin, page D2. It's amazing how often you run into the same people in different devices. I've concluded Sartre has more experience in local politics than he's given credit for.

Wednesday there's a regular meeting of the Norwich Board of Education Building and Space Committee at 3:30 in the afternoon in the basement conference room of the Central office in Norwichtown. I learned of the meeting from the city's website (I'm assuming the March meeting is now OBE) and not the board's. As usual. Again.

At five thirty in the Latham Science Center it's a special meeting, actually an executive session, of the Norwich Free Academy Board of Trustees on the search for the new Head of School. Also at five thirty, it's a regular meeting of the Board of Review of Dangerous Buildings in the basement conference room at 23 Union Street followed at six up in the Norwich Recreation Department offices of the Recreation Advisory Board, whose last meeting was in May.

The Norwich Golf Course Authority meets at seven at the course; their last meeting was in August. Here's a riddle: Why does Mr. Caulfield, the NGCA Chairperson, always wear two pair of pants to their regular meetings? (WAIT FOR IT) In case he gets a hole in one. Thank you, ladies and germs....

Humor aside (and, yes, that's what that was) perhaps I can interest you in going back to school, at least for the evening? Starting at seven at Teacher's Memorial Middle School will be a two candidate forums for the November elections to include the 19th Senatorial District, starting at seven followed by the Norwich Probate Judge Forum at eight. Both should be very informative and cheers to the Bully-Busters and their friends for sponsoring the event.

Thursday morning at seven thirty in the Norwich Community Development Offices at 77 Main Street, it's a regular meeting of the Community Development Corporation. There's a lot to know about the bond initiatives between now and November and no time like the present to start replacing fiction with fact. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know--and there's a lot to learn about this effort to revitalize where we live.

You can stand around with your hands in your pockets waiting for things to go wrong or you can roll up your sleeves and lend a hand. Work you a deal, once we get ourselves out of this ditch and back up on the road and moving forward, you can tell all of us all about everybody you think is to blame for everything awful that happened. Just bear in mind, no single raindrop ever feels itself responsible for the flood.
-bill kenny

No comments: