Monday, March 28, 2011

New World in the Morning

Sometimes the easiest way to see how far you've come isn't by looking at the road ahead, but, rather, looking behind to see the distance covered. The challenge in government, as in so much else of what we do and who we are, is to see a beginning in every ending and another start even as we finish.

Today is a good example of important meetings in Norwich that, ideally, you'd want to attend all three but, because of time and distance, you'll have to pick and choose. Let's start at 5:30 in Room 210 of City Hall with a regular meeting of the Redevelopment Agency (it's Capehart, by the way) followed by the final public hearing on the downtown revitalization bond and program set for 7 in the Council Chambers of City Hall. There's always room for improvement and the plan is better now than when first offered because of comments and ideas from across the city. This is your chance to stop talking about making the difference and to be the difference.

At 7:30 in their offices at 5 Connecticut Avenue in the Norwich Business Park, the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments (SCCOG) holds a public hearing on the Long Range Regional Transportation Plan (FY 2011-2040). There's been a lot of buzz on resurrecting Route 11 in recent months, but reports on where the plan recommends concentrating efforts may surprise you (pleasantly or unpleasantly). Tonight's the night to make your voice heard.

Tuesday at four in the Central Office of the Norwich Public Schools' conference room, it's a regular meeting of the Building and Space Committee. With NASA winding down its operations, local efforts will become even more important though I'm not sure we can ever get a whole building into orbit. I'm hoping for a grant from the Sachem Fund to build the Ralph Kramden Space Center to launch my weather satellite, Alice. (We'll have to do it at night because it's easier to see the moon.)

At seven, there's an "important meeting at City Hall," in Room 335 (the routine and mundane meetings are usually held on the second floor) to show support for the Downtown Chelsea Arts District and the Norwich Arts Center. If you enjoy local performing arts, I suggest you attend the meeting because you should support these activities with your discretionary dollars. Unless we're also going to subsidize cat rodeos and dwarf tossing contests in an expanded definition of 'local performing arts' (and I've a suspicion that we're not), leave my money alone and spend your own.

At seven in the basement conference room of the Planning Department at 23 Union Street, it's a Special Meeting of the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) of the Commission on the City Plan (CCP) to select a consultant to assist in the development of the next ten year plan (NAA; no acronym available).

Wednesday morning at eight in the Norwich Public School's Central Office conference room is the next NEXTT meeting (I didn't stutter). At seven PM in City Hall, no room listed but it's probably Room 335, there's an Informational Budget Forum or "Town Hall Meeting with Representative Chris Coutu (R-47)" with video courtesy of Comcast, perhaps. (As I recall both video and audio were the challenge when Governor Malloy came to speak).

The last meeting of the week is actually the first in the month of April, Team Norwich, on Saturday morning, beginning at nine o'clock in the Central Fire House at Ten Thames Street. And if I may be snarky (and don't dare say 'what do you mean by may?') in a city with the largest population in New London County, it would be nice if more than six residents showed up to interact with those whom we elected to city government. Sometimes it really is just the thought that counts, from now on.

-bill kenny

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