Stratford Year in Review
January 1, 2021: Connecticut General Assembly meets in January in a virtual session. Committee hearings, floor votes, town halls, and even office hours were mostly conducted through Zoom, with lawmakers observing social distancing. The Capitol Complex was closed to the public.
January 9th: Constitution State Celebrates 233 Years
January 9th: Big Win for Stratford Residents, a house located at 2019 Main Street, the Lillie Devereux Blake house; an important part of Stratford’s history. Built in 1856 by Lillie Devereux Blake’s mother, Sarah Elizabeth Johnson Devereux, it sits on what was part of the William Samuel Johnson estate and called Elm Cottage. In June Kaali-Nagy Properties submitted an application to the Stratford Zoning commission with a proposal to build a 100-unit apartment complex at 2009-2019 Main Street referred to as The Village. The developers of The Village intended to raze the house and replace it with 6 residential units “that will appear to be part of the neighborhood”. Their plans were posted on Stratford Facebook pages, an on-line petition was created on Change.org, contact information on the Mayor and members of the Zoning Commission were posted – and in one week facing broad public sentiment, a developer dropped plans to demolish the home. The online petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures, and the town zoning commission approved revised plans with the requirement that the house be preserved and incorporated into the development.
January 22nd: Grand Opening of The Shakespeare Market, a rousing success that now has morphed into a year-round event.
February 26th: During Black History Month the 29th Connecticut Colored Infantry Regiment, among the first Union Soldiers to enter a Fallen Richmond in 1865, celebrated and acknowledged.
March 25th: The Board of Education announced that Windsor High School Principal Uyi Osunde has been named the next Superintendent of Schools in Stratford. Osunde is replacing current Superintendent Janet Robinson, who retired in June after leading the district since 2013. His start date was July 1st.
April: Stratford PAL’s (Police Athletic League) PEP (Police Engagement Program) recognized and considered a National Model.
April 9th: For the first time in 20 years, a Wall Street credit rating agency formally upgraded its rating of Connecticut’s finances. Moody’s Investors Service upgraded its ranking for two types of state bonds, a move that could generate reduced borrowing costs going forward.
April 15th: Stratford Adds New Recruits to Police Department: The Stratford Police Department welcomes five new officers Officer Juan Ingles, Officer Pablo Conde, Officer Mark Pavelus, Officer Ryan Kardamis, and Officer Danielle Gordon
May: Stratford designated a Distressed Municipality by the State of Connecticut for the second time in 15 years. Stratford among the top 25 impoverished communities out of 169, and one of only two in Fairfield County.”
May 3rd: Town of Stratford administrative offices reopened to the public and available by walk-in. Staff, and those who visit town offices will be required to wear a mask covering their face and nose, and abide by social distancing protocols.
May 29th: Grand Opening of the Connecticut Air & Space Center is a non-profit Air Museum that displays vintage aircraft, memorabilia, and artifacts that pertain to Connecticut, both inside and out. Honoring the founders, workers, and companies from Connecticut. Preserving the vehicles and artifacts they used. And Educating this generation and the next about this history. Founded by the late State Senator George Gunther in 1998 after the closing of the Stratford Army Engine Plant, in Stratford, the Connecticut Air & Space Center occupies buildings 6 and 53 at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex. The museum is one of only a handful throughout the country to be located in a portion of an original WWII aircraft factory.
June 5th: Return of the Stratford Main Street Festival
July 19th: Four developers vying for ownership of the former Center School property presented proposals to Stratford development officials at the Birdseye Municipal Complex. The four original presenters where then whittled down to 2 developers who then presented their plans on August 27th. To date no developer has been selected.
July 30th: Tidal Exchange Flea Market opens to bargain hunters on Saturday’s from July through to November.
August 22nd: Dodged a bullet with Tropical Storm Henri, which was originally named as a hurricane.
August 31st: Two developers presented modified versions of their original proposals, incorporating the requests of the Center School Property Selection Committee. Romano Brothers Builders and Spirit Investment Partners/Kaali-Nagy Properties presented their plans. The presentations were videotaped and posted to the Town website.
September 2nd: Not so lucky this time, Hurricane Ida drenched Stratford with almost 6 inches of rain. Widespread flooding.
September 14th: Democratic primaries held in 8th and 9th Districts, both endorsed Stratford Democratic Town Committee members win challenges.
October 15th: Backer Dedication, a section of Burma Road (Route 113) through the Great Salt Marsh named in honor of former State Representative/Soundkeeper Terry Backer
October 24th: First Shakespeare Renaissance Festival on the grounds of Shakespeare Park. Festival success leads to commitment to be presented on an annual basis.
October 30th: Grand Opening of the Ruby and Calvin Fletcher African American History Museum, a collection of artifacts which reflect decades of turbulent times for African Americans in the United States during the period of slavery and the Civil Rights movement. It brings visitors up close and personal which is an experience that many have only read about in history books or seen in movies.
November 2nd: Election Results in Stratford: Blow out for Republicans. Mayor Hoydick reelected in landslide. Town Council remains 4 Democrats, 6 Republicans.
November 27th: Ribbon cutting of the new on-ramp of Exit 33 interchange for I-95 in Stratford.after decades-long fight.
December 24th: $2.5 million bonding request by State Representative Joe Gresko for groundwater and soil remediation at the Raymark superfund site was added to the State Bond Commission’s meeting agenda, and the allocation of the requested funds for our community and was approved.