Marconi looks back on 2013

A children’s spray park at the Recreation Center, the sale of five acres of former Schlumberger land, and the inclusion of retail business on Route 7 top the list of accomplishments — some controversial, some not — the town achieved in 2013, reports First Selectman Rudy Marconi.

“Financially, we were able to complete the 2013 fiscal year in very good shape — better shape than previous years,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi. “This year also saw the beginning of tremendous assets being built in both athletics and the arts.”

“It’s hard to look back sometimes because there’s so much going on that we can look forward to,” the first selectman said.

“It’s hard to look back sometimes because there’s so much going on that we can look forward to,” the first selectman said.

Mr. Marconi cited the installation of a new Tiger Hollow field, the expansion of the town’s bike bath that may one day connect the village to Branchville, and the construction of the new library and Prospector Theater off Main Street.

“Ridgefield has come a long, long way balancing what we offer our residents in both athletics and the arts,” he said. “These projects exhibit that the town has taken a cross-section approach to accommodate the needs of all the people that live here.”

Mr. Marconi admitted that not all developments in 2013 were met with town-wide approval.

He said the zone change on Route 7 to allow commercial retail business was “as controversial as a decision we’ve had here recently,” despite its effort to stimulate economic development.

He added that other heated subjects — like the sale of the five acres of town-owned Schlumberger property and the possibility of a cell tower being built off Ledges Road — were all in effort to make Ridgefield a better, safer and comfortable place for residents to live.

Touching on safety, Mr. Marconi said one the biggest accomplishments of 2013 was the successful gun buy-back program that the police department hosted in August.  The town collected 103 guns thanks an anonymous donation.

“The town had an angel this year,” he said. “The $30,000 donation to support the program was absolutely incredible.

“It goes beyond description that that weaponry was being stored in our community— it really is unbelievable to me,” he added. “Some of it was used, but a lot of it was not, but what’s important is that people stepped forward and got rid of these dangerous weapons.”

Mr. Marconi believes the buy-back program could return to Ridgefield in 2014.

“We just need to get the funding,” he said. “We’d be happy to have another buy-back.”

Mother Nature was more cooperative in 2013. “Fortunately, we didn’t see any storms this year like we had in the previous two years,” he said.

However, the town has continued to improve preparedness, installing a new, 450-kilowatt diesel generator and a bigger kitchen at the Recreation Center, so it can serve as an emergency shelter.

As for transportation, Mr. Marconi talked about the launching of the SPHERE bus and the construction of sidewalks on Market Street and Danbury Road along Route 35.

He said that those types of projects would continue in 2014 with the goal of making downtown as accessible as possible.

“We want people to come into town to see all that it has to offer,” he said.

He added construction on the new library should be done by March and a grand opening would be scheduled soon after it’s completed.

“We’re going to need some time to move all the books back in,” he joked.

Following the library, the Prospector is projected to open later in the year, sometime in the late summer or early fall.

“It’s hard to look back sometimes because there’s so much going on that we can look forward to,” he said.

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  • -2

    Some stories aren’t addressed in the recap above.

    What’s happening with the moratorium on affordable housing? It’s springing up all over town. It was announced over a year ago that a moratorium would be sought. What’s the status?

    What’s going on with the shooting in Ridgebury? I have been withholding any comment on the matter until the official report came out. It has been 8 months. Why so long? When can we expect an explanation on why the story seemed to change?

    What is happening with the BOE “incident”? I don’t think this should simply be forgotten.

  • Tom

    @ -2 This is ridgefield the people in charge do not care what us peons do or what answers we want. All they want is our money and to step aside when they govern. None of them in my view are worth a pound of sand. But all you posted is correct and Rudy does not want a moratorium. reason being his wife is a realtor and in my view a not so good thing or should i say a situation biased. We should have also called to task the BOE that always makes atrocious decisions. But letting Ms Burgess get a pass is beyond imagination. They just do not care. and many have contacted the BOE and the silence is defining. Many have spoke about this and several unanswered E mails persist. This is a disgrace. Just wait till the sewer plant needs up dating. I am sure Rudy will tell us it is federally mandated . And has nothing to do with him. Take that to gthe bank for sure!!

  • Maria

    You are correct, Tom. But the way Rudy will expand the sewer line is by the urgent need to extend the gas line–to RHS. 116 will become one big line of “affordable” “attractive” condo developments on 1/2 acre lots. Now that he pushed the troublemakers off the RP front page, he can continue with his true vision for Ridgefield. Who is there to stop him?

  • Ballplayer

    First Selectman should be subject to term limits. Rudy Marconi needs to go.

    • Roger Sherman

      Ballplayer you have the opportunity to express that opinion. The Charter Review Board is currently in session and this could be one of the changes that could be made to the charter. The public hearing of the Charter Revision Commission will be held on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m. in town hall’s large lower-level conference room.

  • Tom

    Bottom line it is the peoples fault for the destruction of this once beautiful town with their voting record. They brought it on themselves. Tomorrow the BLIGHT LAW will seal the deal along with sewer and gas lines further destroying this town along with the Hartford BULLIES and there liberal agenda.

  • Manwith

    Rudy: when are we putting in a subway system connecting us with Danbury and Bridgeport?

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