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Minutes of Board of Selectmen Special Meeting, 08/23/2021

AGENDA: Board of Selectmen Special Meeting

RECEIVED 09/17/2021 8:30am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk

Board of Selectmen Special Meeting
Tuesday, August 23, 2021
6:30 p.m.
Town Hall Hearing Room/ZOOM


Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectwoman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectwoman; Michael Thompson, Selectman, Alice Smith; members of the public.

1. Call to order

First Selectwoman Pemberton called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

2. Approval of Minutes

Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to approve the Minutes of 7/19/21. The motion passed unanimously.

3. Discussion and Possible Action: Parade Path

Alice Smith screen shared a PowerPoint reviewing the Parade Path history, the present status and future goals. Ms. Smith reviewed the challenges in picking up the project from Ellen Visnyei. Mary Lou Carlson and Ms. Smith spoke to the need for consistent leadership and a representative group to make decisions and guide the ongoing maintenance efforts.

Methods to attract volunteers were discussed. High school students are an option as well as hiring two employees to fulfill the present goals of completing the edging, the path and installation of the bench. The Redding Nursery donated two days of clean up including pruning and mulching.

First Selectwoman Pemberton reiterated the need for structure. The plan has always been a volunteer program however now will require funds in the budget to supplement fundraising. Mrs. O’Donnell is in favor of putting maintenance money in the budget and working toward figuring out how it gets spent. Mr. Thompson noted his appreciation for Alice Smith and Mary Lou Carlson in addition to The Redding Nursery for their contributions. Mr. Thompson stated that the Parade Path is a great resource and encouraged future leaders and committee members to make suggestions regarding the future of the program. Appreciation was also noted for the Visnyei family.

Mrs. Pemberton has requested a continuation of Concert on the Green through September and is awaiting a response from Mr. Blick.

4. Discussion and Possible Action: Georgetown Main Street Parking and Streetscape.

First Selectwoman Pemberton noted receipt of a letter from Georgetown Village Restoration, Inc. requesting the Board to address the parking issue on Main Street. Jim Baulsir of the Redding Beer Company was present for the discussion via ZOOM.

Mrs. Pemberton reported on possible grant opportunities that would address more than pedestrian amenities. Land Use Director A. Pardee will work with the First Selectwoman to submit a proposal for the streetscape program for the Local Capital Transportation Improvement Program grant funds. A representative of WestCOG walked the street area and alerted the Selectmen to other new funding opportunities. Proposals are due 10/8/2021 for a program announced today.

Mr. Baulsir reported on the parking spaces being used up by apartments on Main Street. Other parking areas are being used up by outdoor dining areas and six parking spaces are currently being used for that purpose. Mr. Baulsir also stated that a parking study conducted a few years ago was incorrect in reporting a total of 96 parking spaces. Mrs. Pemberton reported that the estimated cost of resuming and completing the suspended streetscape project would total less than $1 million including right-of-way acquisition. The previous design by BL was briefly reviewed and includes the construction of a retaining wall.

Mrs. O’Donnell suggested putting the streetscape program on the capital plan list. Mrs. Pemberton stated that the IHZ overlay for the Rte. 57 side would result in an increase in residential rather than mixed use properties.

Mr. Thompson requested clarification on the right-of-way acquisition aspect. Mrs. Pemberton reported on the road widening that would be required on the southern side which would push the road back to construct the retaining wall. Parking would then be diagonal on that side of the road and would add new spaces.

Discussion will continue at the next meeting. The Selectmen cannot meet outside a formally noticed meeting so those who wrote the letter will be responded to individually.

5. Discussion and Possible Action: Economic Dev. Committee

Claudio Rodrigo joined the meeting via ZOOM. He reported on his research conducted to support the formation of an Economic Development Committee/Commission as a resource to help facilitate and move the Gilbert & Bennett redevelopment forward.

Mrs. Pemberton noted two options, the first of which being a Commission with its own statutory authority and the second being a Committee who would report to the Board of Selectmen or dually to the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance. Mrs. Pemberton referenced Connecticut General Statute guidelines for such a committee and suggested a public call for interest in being involved on a 5- or 7-member committee. Mrs. O’Donnell noted the need for a mix of people with different viewpoints. Mr. Thompson noted his prior concerns about an economic development commission due to statutory framework and other restrictions and added that at this time that a committee rather than a commission could be of service and report directly to BOS and BOF. The variety of residents with professional and personal experiences could be beneficial to such a committee to address other issues in town other than G&B.

Mr. Rodrigo will draft a charge for a committee and forward to Mrs. Pemberton along with a list of possible volunteers. An article in Hello Redding may be used to solicit interested parties.

Nancy Pelz-Paget questioned the intent of the committee. First Selectwoman Pemberton stated that the intent is economic and community development and is noted as such in the Statute. The Gilbert & Bennett project will utilize a number of professional planning and engineering firms due to the size and scope of the project.

6. Discussion and possible action: Playground

Angela Caes reported on the playground proposed to extend to the Community Center from the Heritage Center side over the grassy area. The final choice is Bears Playgrounds. A rendering was screen shared and the project details were reviewed by Angela and Mary Lou Carlson. The project has come in at budget and the community build utilizing 80-100 volunteers will save $5000.

Ms. Caes reported that the start date could be early November with the goal of being in place before the winter if the project is approved in the next few weeks.

Mrs. O’Donnell motioned and Mr. Thompson seconded the motion to authorize the First Selectwoman to sign the contract pending review by Town Counsel and the Park and Rec Commission. The motion passed unanimously.

The Board commended Laura Gibbons, Angela Caes, Mary Lou Carlson, and Pete Graziano for their commitment to this project.

7. Administrative:

-Facilities projects
First Selectwoman Pemberton screen shared and reviewed the list of projects to be completed with contingency funds from FY 20-21. Capital items from the current budget year were reviewed. The Historical Society could assist with capital maintenance funds if the shingles needed for the south and western side of the Lonetown Farmhouse exceed $27,000.

-Regional Paramedic Alliance
An in-depth discussion is tabled and will be on the next agenda. Mrs. Pemberton provided a brief overview of the proposal to purchase a new vehicle.

-NRVT Update
Land clearing is beginning, and the Redding Mile will be under construction soon.

-G&B Update
First Selectwoman Pemberton stated that she is awaiting the formal contract from the state. The next steps will be hiring an engineering firm and project manager.

8. Other Business
Mrs. Pemberton thanked the Emergency Management Team for their proactive work in preparing for Hurricane Ida.

The vaccine clinic changed dates due to the anticipated hurricane. The first shot was August 29 and the second is scheduled for September 19. Booster shots can be given if specific qualifications are met.

9. Public Comment

The use of AZEK exteriors on town projects was discussed.

10. Adjourn

Mr. Thompson motioned and Mrs. O’Donnell seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.

Submitted by:
Kristi C. Reilly

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