As winter departs and our thoughts turn to Spring, I’d like to give you an update on my work as your First Selectman. As always, I ask you to continue providing me with your feedback and thoughts on these as well as other matters of concern to you.
Public Opinion Survey
As you may have heard, after an unexpected delay in postal service delivery, our Public Opinion Survey deadline was extended to allow time for responses to make their way back to Town Hall and the Town Library. By the extended deadline, just over 850 completed surveys were returned. That represents slightly more than 26 percent of the surveys mailed out. Our statistical analysis team at Amity High School, supervised by social studies teacher Rick Bourdeau and statistics teacher Scott DeMeo, tells me this is very good response rate for a survey of this kind. They have begun processing the surveys, tabulating the data, and analyzing the results.
Once the analysis is completed, our plan is for the Board of Selectmen to receive a report and presentation. We have tentatively scheduled this for our April 11th BOS meeting. After this presentation, and once everyone has had time to absorb the insights we hope the Survey data will provide, we will also schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss and hear public comment. Please stay tuned for confirmation of meeting dates and more information as soon as it becomes available.
Road Work on lower Litchfield Turnpike
The state’s Department of Transportation (DOT) is scheduled to begin one aspect of our road improvement projects, including the area of Woodbridge at the border with New Haven and the exit 59 interchange with the Wilbur Cross Parkway. As we all know, traveling the roads in this area is most difficult especially at peak traffic times – to put it mildly.
DOT is working on a short-term, safety-oriented project that went out to bid in January. Construction is expected to begin in April 2018. In addition, a mid-term project to reconfigure the on and off-ramps to the Parkway is in the planning stages. Finally, there’s also a project to repair Heroes’ Tunnel, but the DOT has recently informed us that this project has been postponed due to the state’s financial situation. In all this roadwork, the Town of Woodbridge will be seeking opportunities to improve access to our business district while enhancing the experience of this neighborhood for both those who shop and those who live here.
“Sustainable CT” program
I’m happy to report that at its February 14th meeting the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to join a program called Sustainable CT. This is a new and exciting statewide initiative, created by towns for towns, to recognize thriving and resilient Connecticut municipalities.
By joining the Sustainable CT program, Woodbridge will have access to a detailed menu of best practices, tools and resources, and peer learning opportunities. Importantly, by participating in the program, grant opportunities will become available to us, and we will aim to bring in funding to assist us with NEW sustainability initiatives. Future actions we may pursue include further reducing energy use, supporting arts and creative culture, improving recycling programs, assessing climate vulnerability, and further supporting the local business community.
The program is designed to encourage sustainability projects in various categories, with points awarded for each action taken. Credit for recently enacted programs looking back up to ten years is also available. Participating municipalities become eligible for Sustainable CT certification at the Bronze or Silver level.
I am thrilled that Woodbridge will have the opportunity to be recognized statewide for our ongoing efforts to be a sustainable community – as well as a great place to live. Participation by members of our community will be an important aspect of this program, so please let me know if you would like to get involved. You can learn more about the program by visiting: http://sustainablect.org.
Beth Heller is Woodbridge First Selectman. She may be reached by phone at Town Hall, 203-389-3401, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.