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From the First Selectman: Community Resilience Building

From the First Selectman: Community Resilience Building

I am pleased to provide an update on several ongoing initiatives as we wind through the summer months – the Town continues to work on behalf of residents to make sure we have plans in place and are prepared for our usual fiscal cycle as well as any curve balls mother nature may throw our way as we head into hurricane season.

At the July meeting of the Board of Selectmen, we received updates on several ongoing issues and projects including an update on road paving planned for the coming months;

a discussion of bid results for a renovation project for the Senior Center; Town Center beautification efforts, including a plan to include local Boy Scouts to help with signage improvements. We also heard the wonderful news that our project to renovate the Animal Shelter has begun! The Shelter, located at 135 Bradley Road, will remain open while work takes place this summer and into autumn.

Workshop focuses on building resiliency

Given previous and ongoing events like the tornado and other recent storms we have experienced, we find ourselves in a new era of more unpredictable and severe weather that can potentially cause more damage in our community.

In order to be as proactive as we can in preparing and protecting our Town, we recently conducted a half-day, Community Resilience Building Workshop at the Woodbridge Town Library. As part of our participation in the Sustainable CT program we applied for and won a ‘mini-grant’ to host this workshop, which was run by a facilitator from the Nature Conservancy and brought us together with participants from our neighboring Town of Bethany to discuss issues that may effect us both.

By bringing together community and Town staff members, and reaching across the town line to collaborate and share resources, we were able to comprehensively identify and prioritize steps to reduce risk and improve resilience for both communities.

At the workshop we clarified and advanced our comprehensive community resilience planning and hazard mitigation efforts. Our objectives included:

  • Understanding connections between natural hazards and local planning/mitigation efforts;
  • Evaluating strengths and vulnerabilities of residents, infrastructure, and natural resources;
  • Developing and prioritizing resilient actions for the municipality, local organizations, institutions, businesses, private citizens, neighborhoods, and community groups; and
  • Identifying immediate opportunities to advance actions that reduce the impact of hazards and increase resilience in our Towns.

I would like to thank all the participants for their focus and candor throughout the workshop and I await the report that will be generated by the workshop facilitator. By hearing from a cross-section of planning professionals, staff, volunteers, and residents who receive services that may be impacted by extreme weather events and other emergencies, we are better able to plan and ensure we are fully prepared. This event also helps us demonstrate our commitment to sustainability and the vales of the Equity Toolkit developed by the Sustainable CT program to assist communities in ensuring that all voices are heard as municipalities prepare for the future.

Please stay tuned for more information about the Sustainable CT program as we approach the late-August deadline to submit actions for certification. You can find about more about the program by visiting their website: sustainablect.org

And remember that as your First Selectman, ‘my door is always open’ and I am eager to hear your thoughts and ideas about our town. Please be in touch!

Beth Heller is Woodbridge First Selectman. She may be reached by phone at Town Hall, 203-389-3401, or by email to bheller@woodbridgect.org

Pictured: Adam Whelchel from the Nature Conservancy lead the Community Resilience Building Workshop that took place at the Woodbridge Town Library and brought together participants from Bethany and Woodbridge, including First Selectman Beth Heller.


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