Herbst: Land buy is ‘critical’ for community

Monday’s vote by the Town Council was important for Trumbull in many respects not the least of which, is that we are now able to move forward in purchasing two properties critical to better serving our community.

First Selectman Tim Herbst.
First Selectman Tim Herbst.

As the State of Connecticut continues to struggle with budget challenges and the exodus of residents and good jobs, it is incumbent upon local communities to distinguish themselves as modern, relevant and attractive for residents and businesses into the future. The properties we intend to acquire are strategically located near the municipal campus and allow us to consider uses to enhance services and recreational opportunities, in keeping with our Plan of Conservation and Development, for the public good.

Any time there are land acquisitions or development projects proposed, there are always folks on both sides. I expect that and welcome healthy debate. Change or fear of the unknown can be unsettling for those in the immediate area. I want to assure residents that we will take great care and concern to protect the residential character of the area as we determine future uses for the site.

The process of acquiring these properties is an early step. The Town will follow a detailed, lengthy process as plans evolve that will include additional 8-24 referrals for the municipal use of the site by Planning and Zoning, additional review by committees of the Town Council and Town Council approval. There will be public hearings to vet plans associated with these steps. As plans develop for the area in the coming months and years, I intend to reach out to residents in the immediate area to hear their concerns and get their ideas on pedestrian access, buffering, and other design features associated with future projects. We are not at that point yet.

I want to call on community, political and elected leaders to be clarifiers of information to the public. Misinformation only further drives a wedge in our community. I am making my staff and myself available in an on-going way to provide updated information on the acquisitions and any potential plans for reuse of the properties. I encourage anyone with concerns to be in touch. Expanding community assets and distinguishing our community will mean some change and more team work. It won’t be easy or without challenges. But it is what our residents deserve and expect.

I am excited to continue working toward growing our town, and building for Trumbull’s future.