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Letter: “What’s Doing in Wilton?”

By William Brennan, First Selectman

 

By now most families are back in town from summer vacations and therefore it is timely to provide a “What’s Doing in Wilton?” report.

It has been a very busy summer! Public Works projects have continued to improve safety and enhance the village center. As most residents have noticed, new curbing was installed along River Road. To take advantage of the lull in summer shopping activity, new curbing on Center Street was installed in the village center in mid-August. Conduits have also been installed during the curbing installation to allow for improved town-wide communication and data systems.  And this fall, additional sidewalks and repairs are planned for the village center.

The Wilton Road Restoration Program has also jumped off to an excellent start with approximately 5 miles of roads paved to date. This compares to an average in past years of just 2.8 miles for the entire paving season!  In addition, the High School driveway and Clune Center parking lot were also repaved. 

The Wolfpit Road Sewer Extension project has also begun and every effort will be made to have it completed by the end of December. Please  exercise caution when traveling on this road, as in places, travel is restricted to one lane. Also, please cooperate with Wilton Police officers who are doing extra duty work as flaggers to expedite vehicular traffic. Miller Driscoll School is the only Wilton school not served by a sanitary sewer and the new sewer extension, when finished, will replace the aging septic system at this facility.

At , three new teak park benches will soon be installed for the comfort of citizens using this facility. The Town’s Public/Private Park Bench program has stimulated generous citizen donations of the benches to the community.  The Town installs the benches and adds a bronze plaque with the donor’s name or other specified wording. It has been a very popular program and if you are interested in donating a park bench, please contact Pat Sesto, Director of Environmental Affairs, in the Town Hall Annex.

Speaking of the Town Hall, scheduled maintenance and repairs will take place in September, which will include exterior painting of the facility and the flagpole on the front lawn. After considerable evaluation by the Police Department, new video surveillance cameras have also been installed to provide better security within this municipal building.

Most citizens know that a top priority of the Board of Selectmen has been to expand the distribution of natural gas into Wilton Center and to the town’s schools. Long term potential energy savings for the Town are projected to be substantial. Last year, title problems along the proposed route arose that delayed the project. Legal work to resolve the issues has been vigorous and I am pleased to report major progress has been made that should resolve the easement issues over the next couple of months. Currently, Town officials are working with Yankee Gas senior management to organize a project review and implementation plan meeting. If no further issues develop, installation of the gas line extension up River Road could begin as soon as the second quarter of 2013. After the gas line is installed, one lane the entire length of River Road will be repaved.

Soon you will see machinery at the Veterans Memorial Green. Unfortunately, the vinca ground cover plantings have not thrived. Many plants have died, creating an unsightly appearance at this special memorial site in honor of Wilton’s war dead. The vinca will be removed and the Wilton Garden Club is designing a new landscape that will compliment the memorial site and be easier to maintain in the future.

In mid-July, on a picture perfect day,Wilton’s Chamber of Commerce organized a highly successful sidewalk sale creating another annual event for our town.  New retail store openings are also on the horizon. A new organic bakery and café has recently opened and a new hardware store was announced for a fall opening at the Wilton River Park Shopping Center on River Road. A new pet supplies store is also scheduled to open soon on Godfrey Place. However, the major retail transaction was the acquisition of the Stop and Shop Supermarket shopping center by Kimco Real Estate, a real estate investment trust with the largest portfolio of community shopping centers in North America, over 900 centers nationally! Town officials have met with Kimco management and were impressed with their high end development business model and property maintenance plans.

For food lovers, it has never been a better time to dine in Wilton! is in the process of enlarging their restaurant at their current location and Portofino’s in Wilton reopened their all new and enlarged bar and restaurant!   And the long awaited opening of and Rotisserie at the was welcomed by local commuters! Having a food vendor at the station has enabled the train station to be open on weekdays from 5:30 a.m. in the morning to 8:30 p.m. in the evening.

Looking ahead, the second annual Wilton Scarecrow Fest is planned for October. Approximately seventy five lampposts will be available in the center this year to enable all scarecrow entries to be displayed. Details will be published shortly by Wilton’s Chamber of Commerce. Show your creative talents and plan to enter a scarecrow to add to the color and excitement of the village center this fall!

Lastly, the Board of Selectmen organized and appointed an Economic Development Commission comprised of nine Wilton residents with impressive senior management credentials. The commission will meet in September and start the process of creating an economic development plan consistent with the board’s objectives and the Town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

In summary, lots doing in Wilton! Activity is quickening on many dimensions and if I have not mentioned some recent event, restaurant or store happening – my apologies. Most important, please support our local merchants and businesses by shopping and dining locally.

Bill Brennan
First Selectman

Alethiologist September 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM
Are we taxpayers supposed to be impressed with these "make work" chores? And I thought many of the people in town with technical skills objected to the fiber optic boondoggle. guess he thinks he is 'finessing' it by bypassing a public vote. Arrogance is this guy's mantra.
EMR September 10, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Yes Evelyn, Bill is quite the administrator. He loves to raise taxes perennially. He also allows admitted criminals who steal from little old ladies to happily take a 200k handout from Wilton taxpayers each year. Thanks Bill for such a wonderful update.
Cliff Cuming September 10, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Brennan et al keep raising taxes as if there is nothing to be learned from history! I don't know of anyone in town government, except maybe Lynn and Warren, who has a rational perspective on spending increases. Brennan even lies about % increases to get his petulant way Sen. Rand Paul said on ABC's This Week, "During the Great Depression, we raised taxes five years in a row, and it was a disaster, and it extended the Great Depression, made the recession into a Great Depression because we kept raising taxes. What does President Obama want to do? Raise taxes. Take money out of the productive economy and give it to the non-productive economy."
Don't Forget 2 Mention September 10, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Pay no attention to these naysayers writing above me Bill. The "initials" commentor has been unhappy with Wilton and in a bad mood for decades - best that we all just ignore him at this point ... But you did fail to mention that The Coffee Barn has opened on Route 7. The ladies running that little oasis of caffinated paradise are fantastic !! And wait until you try their pastries !! Welcome to Wilton Coffee Barn !!
Rational Wilton Mom September 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM
So glad you mentioned THE COFFEE BARN!!!!!!!!!! Not only is that a fantastic place for excellent coffee and fine foods for breakfast and lunch, but the owners are wonderful. My son had the wonderful opportunity of working there (he's in college now,) and they were fantastic. What a great experience for him as this was his first real paycheck job. Kudos to Karen, Kayla etal. :)
Cliff Cuming September 10, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Panderers have their day!
Patch Poster September 10, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Below is from the Board of Finance minutes of July 17th: "Mr. Alper wanted confirmation that if the Blum-Shapiro study says fiber cable is not the way to go then the installation of the redundant conduit would stop. The answer is “yes”, that part of the project would stop. Ms. Lavielle inquired if anyone has asked the utility companies if they want to bury any power lines while the road is being opened. Mr. Brennan responded no, the power companies usually have a long- term plan in place and would have to act quickly to change their plan. Ms. Vanderslice asked if the town could pause or delay the project while CL&P was asked about the conduit. Mr. Brennan stated CL&P won't move quickly enough. Ms. Lavielle stated it was still important to ask the question." Firstly, bravo to our Board of Finance volunteers for asking these questions! Secondly, my questions are: 1) Has the Blum-Shapiro study come back? If not, why did we incur the cost to put in the conduit? Did we consider delaying projects so decisions could be made simultaneously without incurring unnecessary costs or having redo a part of a project? Why are we paying for a consulting report if we aren't going to wait for the results before making decisions? 2) The letter above mentions a gas line to the 'schools' but only mentions the line going up River Road. If Wolfpit Road is opened up for the sewer line, is a gas line being installed there as well? If not, why not?
Patch Poster September 10, 2012 at 07:32 PM
3) I believe that the future of the Miller-Driscoll school is in question. I also believe building a new school on the M-D grounds then tearing down the current building is an option under consideration. Is it also an option that the school will be rebuilt elsewhere on existing town property and the current M-D property and building sold to help defray costs? If that is a possibility, why are we installing a sewer line to it before that decision is made? I am guessing that the sewer line is expensive and also could have been postponed for a year or two.
Cliff Cuming September 10, 2012 at 08:38 PM
IMO, what we are witnessing is a strategy to improve the infrastructure at the MD site (and the nearby Convent House) so they can be used in the future for high-density housing/condos. I would also bet someone is looking to turn a profit on this escapade and doubt it accrues to the town's benefit. Blum Shapiro does not enjoy a credible reputation in the tech environment.... accountants maybe but not techies by any means. This is what happens when government strays into areas it knows nothing about and has control of money/zoning...
Del Dridle September 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM
OK here's our two cents on Brennan's letter: 1.We bet ya' Donuts to Dollars River Road will be torn up again next spring. Why not, they have been tearing up Rover Road every year for ten years. 2.Park Benches at Merwin Meadows – Now if we can get the non-residents that literally take over the park every weekend with coolers, barb-b-q's and massive amount of people - out of there so we (Wiltonians) can sit on them - that would be great. BTW – after numerous complaints about these non-residents taking over the park – the response from the town and the police was – sorry we have no jurisdiction over the park. Well if you don't – who does?
Wilton2ParkAve September 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Why does MD need to connect to a sewer line? Wouldn't it be cheaper to replace the aging septic system? I don't like where this is going. I think the dollar signs are getting the better of Brennan. I'm sure a sewer treatment plant is next to handle the volume. Now we are talking tens of millions of dollar and since there will be capacity for residents to connect- pressure from the town to connect to the sewer system. Put it altogether and we are talking a huge increase in property taxes.
EMR December 13, 2012 at 03:41 PM
"What's doin in Wilton"? Well, the presumptuous next First Seleceman Hal Clark has decided to raise taxes again by giving the present First Selectman a salary increase an to buffer his pension. That way he will increase taxes again next year so he will have a nice salary when he gets in. BTW, what is Richard Moccia's salary in Norwalk? Bill Finch just makes 132k for running the largest city in Bridgeport.

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