Editorial: The coming return — right?
Life marches on, even if much of it seems to be on hold.
The Town of Ridgefield’s dutiful officials are proceeding with plans and projects — a cultural district, Branchville improvements — that had been envisioned and started long before “coronavirus” and “COVID-19” became the watchwords of life in suburban Connecticut.
The Economic and Community Development Commission is pursuing its plans for Ridgefield Cultural District that would increase the visibility of and draw people to Ridgefield’s village. The idea is that downtown Ridgefield should take better advantage of the wealth of cultural attractions it is home to — museums like The Aldrich and Keeler Tavern, institutions like the Ridgefield Library and the Ridgefield Historical Society’s Scott House, entertainment venues like The Prospector movie theater, The Ridgefield Playhouse, ACT of Connecticut’s theater and even Ballard Park with its free summer CHIRP concerts. They all add up to a sum that is greater than its parts, a cultural district that could draw people to enjoy entertainment, stroll on village sidewalks, dine and shop.
The town and its state and federal partners will have a public meeting — virtual, of course — next Wednesday starting at 6 p.m. on a plan for a sidewalk along the west side of Route 7, from the Route 102 intersection down to the Ridgefield-Wilton town line. There would be a new footbridge over Cooper’s Pond Brook by the 102 intersection. It’s part of a long-planned Branchville Transit Oriented Development or “TOD” plan, designed to make Branchville more pedestrian-friendly, enhancing its attractiveness to businesses, promoting development and growth, increasing the town’s tax base.
And Ridgefiled’s business community has its Summer Sidewalk Stroll to encourage outdoor shopping — although this differs from the others, in that it’s a response to the COVID-19 emergency, not something that’s continuing on despite it.
All three are worthwhile initiatives. All three envision life pushing forward as it might have outside the context of the current pandemic — people going out, seeking entertainment, strolling on sidewalks, patronizing restaurants, shops and other businesses.
That’s the return to life as before that people are wishing for, waiting for. To get back there is one of the reasons the federal government is pouring money into vaccine research. And Ridgefield’s officials are diligently working on their plans to make the most of it.
The rest of us can only hope that is what happens.