Thursday, May 30, 2024

Trees, Tennis Courts and Fiscal Responsibility


by Dr. David Chess
Stratford Forward

Stratford Residents,

These are unusual times. But even in the context of these crazy times it is hard to understand our town leadership.

We are in the middle of an environmental crises. We are, as a town at the lowest financial point in our remembered history. For the second time we are recognized by the State of Connecticut as one of the 25 most financially depressed towns in Connecticut.

Our tax base has seriously eroded. We have lost 100’s of trees over the last years. We have lost all our magnet educational programs (we couldn’t afford it).

So what are we doing. We are removing 8 grown mature hardwood trees (maple and oak) and spending $700,000 to renovate a Tennis Court which has been neglected for years (as has our other 9 tennis courts in town).

Is this the best use of the funds? Is this how we attract a better Tax base? Is this how we make our Town an attractive place to come and live?

Yes, property values have increased this past year, but only because all of Connecticut’s property values have increased.

We need real leadership. The Mayor handily won re-election. We need to see real vision, a real plan, real movement toward making Stratford become the great place it can be.

• We need to look at our Budget- true transparency
• We need to have open forums for discussion
• We need to invest in our schools.
• We need to invest in our environment.

Editors Note:
A petition “Save Stratford Trees” has been created on
If supportive please sign. Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:


  1. Thank you Dr. David Chess. There are many who feel as you do but seem to have no way to have their feelings influence developments in Stratford. As citizens, we see trees being chopped down and construction and other changes made to the landscape about which we knew nothing until suddenly there it is. To my own experience, emailing our government personnel results in no acknowledgement or reply. We need to know more about what is going on BEFORE IT IS A DONE DEAL, and we need open communication with our government representatives. Citizens have a right to weigh in on issues that affect our ecology and our town budget AND to have their opinions count.

  2. Dr. David Chess, you have raised wonderful points in the article. There are so many reasons to be concerned about these trees being demolished. We are littlerally paying to have our ecosystem destroyed.
    I hope this issue will catch attention, and we can help find ways to keep our environment safe, and our tax dollars going to matters that truly are in need of the funding.

  3. I think you are absolutely correct about your assessment and it is disappointing to know that healthy trees were taken down, not to mention the amount of money spent on the tennis courts that could be used to lower taxes. I know that improvements have to be made everywhere and I agree that our taxes are out of sight esp in light of the fact that our town is described as “depressed”. My taxes for a 1500 sq ft house are what a friend on Ripton Rd in Shelton pays for her 3800 sq ft.home. Our Mayor and Senator share the same party affiliation and I hear much from the Senator about lowering the gas tax, but I hear nothing about assistance to our“depressed” town to mitigate the burden of our high property taxes. During “small business week” the only small business listed was Mellow Monkey, which btw is wonderful, but one listing?-what’s up with that.We have empty buildings – a bowling alley that has been empty for decades, a restaurant on Barnum Ave that has been empty for decades, the Army engine plant empty for decades and when a business does decide to come to Stratford they get more tax breaks than they would get anywhere in the state.I appreciate Dr Chess’s comments and I signed the petition and sent it to several friends.


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