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Stratford Community Conversations Draws 45 Interested, Engaged Citizens to September Meeting

Fall Schedule Announced

By Greg Reilly

Forty-five members of the community attended Stratford Community Conversations on September 13th at the Stratford YMCA, where interested citizens sat in a circle with two elected members of the Board of Education, a Stratford state representative and Town Council member, a Stratford Police captain, the director of Community and Senior Services for the Town, members of a local church congregation, YMCA executives, the owner of a leading local business, the director of a local online news organization, and others … and discussed topics raised by those in attendance.

This was the sixth Stratford Community Conversations since the program launched in April, and as attendance has been growing, the schedule for the next five meetings was released. All members of the public are invited to attend and participate or just observe.

The next Conversations will be Wednesday, October 4th, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church at 275 Huntington Road, and the following session will be Wednesday, October 25th, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church at 150 Chapel Street. Check StratfordCalendar.com and Mark Your Calendar in the Stratford Crier for updates.

Topics of discussion at Stratford Community Conversations are raised by attendees. At the September 13th meeting a topic that had been raised at earlier meetings came up again: residents and local organizations not finding a one news and information outlet that thoroughly reaches the Stratford population.

A few existing sources of local information were mentioned: StratfordCalendar.com, Mayor Hoydick’s weekly newsletter, and StratfordCrier.com. For sharing business information, forming a new merchant’s association or getting more from the Stratford Chamber of Commerce were ideas raised.

A resident asked the group if anything would be done to address issues at Paradise Green including non-working light posts, litter, and untended large flowerpots along the sidewalks and storefronts. Another resident mentioned that the grass was very tall at a particular intersection and school bus stop near the Green. State Rep and Town Councilor Laura Dancho reported that the Town’s Department of Public Works is aware of a number of maintenance issues at Paradise Green and is addressing them.

As a follow-up to issues raised by attendees at Community Conversations in June and July – a small local homeless population, residents who are food-insecure, and seniors who are lonely – attendees at the September 13th meeting heard how Town staff works to connect these vulnerable populations with the resources they need, including a relatively new service of social workers being on-hand at Stratford Library to assist the vulnerable.

Other ways that the community can respond to these human needs were mentioned as well: donating food to the local food pantries and simply making a phone call to folks who are lonely.

Stratford Community Conversations brings community members together to discuss issues in a positive, non-critical way and gain a better understanding of others’ views about life in Stratford. All Stratford residents, businesspeople, community leaders, government leaders and staff are invited. Attendees may simply listen or join the discussion. There is no charge to attend.

For more information, contact organizer and moderator Greg Reilly at GPReilly@optonline.net.

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