Saturday, July 20, 2024

Community Conversations Marks One Year


Stratford Community Conversations

By Greg Reilly

Stratford Community Conversations on April 3rd marked one year of its grassroots-led meetings among residents, government officials, businesspeople, clergy, nonprofit leaders, and volunteers. The group’s 15th meeting was held at Unitarian Universalist Church.

Stratford Community Conversations, organized and moderated by resident Greg Reilly, meets every three weeks, except for holiday periods, at various venues around town to discuss local issues in a positive, non-critical way. All Stratford residents, businesspeople, community leaders, government leaders and staff are invited. There is no charge to attend. Average attendance is 35 people.

The next Conversations is set for April 24, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Stratford United Methodist Church at 2600 Main Street across from Town Hall. The meetings start and end punctually.

Topics at the April 3 meeting were led by affordable housing and State Rep. Laura Dancho’s efforts in Hartford to pass legislation that would count more of Stratford’s housing stock as “affordable” so the town would not be subject to developers circumventing local zoning regulations and building with greater density.

Other topics were the plan options for a new Stratford Performing Arts Center, the Stratford Army Engine Plant now being owned by a private developer, the Town’s positive response to the idea of converting an abandoned railroad spur line into a pedestrian and bike path, and the attractive new florist at the southeast corner of Paradise Green.

Reilly reminds attendees at each meeting, “The goal of the program is to bring neighbors together, increase knowledge, and build trust and collaboration. When the exchange of ideas leads to action, however small the step may be, I feel like we have accomplished something positive.”

Marking the completion of a full year of Conversations, Reilly said, “We have been a part of many positive steps small and larger. I am grateful that at each meeting we have dozens of repeat attendees and a few first-timers who experience the civil discourse. We focus on the positive and get to know our neighbors.”


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