Editorial: A Round Up of What’s to Come

With a short legislative session in the spring, state and federal elections in the fall, we’re drawing up plans for nonpartisan election coverage, with the expectation that at least two state senate seats, and two or three house seats in the region will have exciting elections this fall – one insider has suggested privately that one seat, held by a popular incumbent, is a likely flip. Stay tuned.

Over the next few months we plan to follow the Hope Partnership project at Spencer’s Corner in Centerbrook – set to begin early this spring – the unresolved State Pier negotiations in New London, which by departing Port Authority acting chair David Kooris’ reckoning should have wrapped up in early November.  In Old Lyme, after purchasing a residential lot on Ferry Road for $200,000, plans for a Roger Tory Peterson center appear still up-in-the-air. Similarly, it is not at all clear whether New London’s intention to renegotiate the tri-town sewer agreement will significantly impact costs for Sound View, Waterford or East Lyme residents (the chartered communities have locked in agreements). With newly-elected First Selectman Tim Griswold taking on the never-ending negotiations for a ‘fair’ division of costs between Sound View residents for sewers, it’s hard not to appreciate the wisdom of Point O’ Woods residents who years ago opted to charge a flat fee – an unfair solution (like all others), but at least less prone to fiddling.

After the departures of B.J. Bernblum and Jon Curtis from the Halls Road Redevelopment project – and news that CERC is now redirecting its efforts away from local efforts like in Old Lyme – we’ll be watching carefully how Tim Griswold handles that legacy project. If the plan is for modest and more achievable improvements, like sidewalks and landscaping, there still needs to be funding of some sort.  Perhaps the latest round of STEAP funding announced in December is an option, but with the Hartford Avenue Connectivity Grant still in the works, it appears more plausible for the long-stalled installation of sidewalks along Route 1 in Pawcatuck. Stay tuned for an announcement of eligible projects in the coming weeks. STEAP is a key source of funding for small towns in the region. And for what it’s worth, we’re still trying to get our hands on the raw survey data completed online and organized last summer by CERC. Stay tuned on that.

You’re probably wondering, but there is no word yet on resolving the beaver flooding affecting houses along Whippoorwill Road, but we’ve been told that a site visit was scheduled last week – we’ll have more on that when we know it.

On the distant horizon? We’ve been told that early studies are already in the works on the geology of the riverbed in anticipation of the replacement of the Northeast Corridor’s historic lift bridge across the Connecticut River. With money apparently available for the project on the federal level, the state match could still be considerable, even out of reach. But it’s a project that is coming and has already passed through its federal environmental impact assessment with a finding of “no significant impact.”  We’ll be following the permitting process and looking carefully at the staging of the construction, which will be considerable.

Lastly and on a lighter note, if you haven’t already, take a look at Clare Byrne’s review of Johnny O’Neal at the Side Door Jazz Club. Byrne will be writing weekly for CT Examiner on music, dance and theater.  I think her first effort for us is spectacular.

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