North Branford: Community Input Sought on Future Town Center & Education Investments
North Branford/Northford residents and other community stakeholders are being asked to answer two important questions that will help shape the future of the town over the next ten years -- the potential development of a new town center, and goals for investing in education.
Community input to a Town Center survey at http://www.nbpocd2019.com is needed now to help create the foundation for a possible new municipal center on 45 acres of town land on Route 22. Turnout and participation at an April 11 community workshop will help the Town to focus on how it can best support a call for more investment in public education.
Both questions are part of the on-going work to update the Town's Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD), which will help guide the town's future over the next ten years. The town-appointed POCD Steering Committee is working with consulting firm Milone & MacBroom, Inc. (Cheshire) to develop the 2019-2029 POCD.
The POCD Steering Committee is now focusing on learning more about the top two responses to an initial POCD online survey launched in November, 2018. That survey drew over 895 responses, equal to over 10 percent of the total households in the community, said Town Planner Carey Duques.
The committee hosted a public workshop in January to review the initial survey results and gather more feedback on updating the POCD. The next workshop, set for Thurs. April 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at North Branford Intermediate School, will continue to gather overall POCD input; while also zeroing in on the top response to the intial survey: how community stakeholders want to see the town investing taxpayers' money in education.
"We will be focusing more at the workshop regarding the number-one response people had as to how they feel the town should spend their money; which was focusing on education," said Duques. "And what we're trying to figure out is, is that on adult education, or is it on high school or elementary school education, or education infrastructure? So we're trying to tease that out a little bit more."
The second-most popular initial survey response to the question of how the town should spend taxpayers' money pointed toward creating a new, unifying town center for North Branford/Northford. As a result, Milone & MacBroom developed the current Town Center survey at http://www.nbpocd2019.com. The survey focuses on the idea of a long-term vision to create a town center on Town properties including the existing police station property, the Swajchuck property, Totoket Valley Park and the current Dept. of Public Works Dept. facility on Forest Road/Route 22.
Currently, the Town is in the process of determining the most efficient design and appropriate site on the Route 22 parcel for a much-needed new police facility. In February, the Town Council approved the formation of a new North Branford Police Department Facility and Town Center Advisory Committee. Members of the committee are Mayor Michael Doody, council members Marie Diamond and Al Rose, Police Commissioners Victor Pietrandrea and David Palumbo and, as alternate, councilman Anthony Candelora. The committee is in the process of reviewing new police facility design ideas with architectural firm Silver Petrucelli & Associates (Hamden) to bring to the Town Council for discussion.