Letter: Trumbull must plan for the future
To the Editor:
Buildings and people age, technology changes, we cannot live in the past.
There is much discussion regarding plans for the Senior Center, Library, Town Hall, schools and indoor pool.
Trumbull must undertake a complete ‘life expectancy’ study of all buildings and structures owned by the Town and Board of Education.
The First Selectmen appointed a Senior/Community Center & Library Building Committee. The Library Board has begun its own planning for the future including a user survey and focus groups. The BOE is assessing space e required as the school age population drops.
These are not independent kingdoms. All funding comes from the taxpayers’ pockets. There must be a master plan and a master committee to digest the findings of the separate entities.
1) Town Hall is overcrowded and unworkable. Older than most baby boomers Town Hall is a maze of small offices on multiple floors bursting at the seams with records that are required to be kept. There are cartons and supplies stored in basement hallways. We also house a State Probate Court. Traffic flow from department to department suffers from being on multiple floors and in additions or annex.
2) Our library is one of the more modern buildings owned by Trumbull. However, libraries have changed. A greater percentage of books are now for pleasure reading, not research. Days when students went to the library to research in encyclopedias and periodicals are gone. Internet and computer databases have reduced the need for what formerly occupied the stacks. Information is often out of date by the time it could be printed and put on shelves.
There is limited parking and a system of ramps to get from floor to floor, wasting valuable square feet. Elevators would take less space. The community room is often booked, more space is desirable.
3) The Senior Center is old and not centrally located. Social service and health workers must travel from their offices to serve the seniors.
4) Schools have falling enrollment. Municipalities all over Connecticut will be closing elementary school in the coming five years. Sixty-two year-old Middlebrook is a prime candidate for closing as enrollment drops.
5) The pool at Hillcrest has had many repairs and is closed again. Almost 50 years old, it may be time to replace not fix it.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but do have many questions. That is why I call for a comprehensive ‘Useful Life’ evaluation of our physical assets and an evaluation of our needs and desires.
The stark reality must be recognized. The economy is not booming. Tax dollars must be spent wisely.
The concept of a government or educational campus is not new. If Middlebrook school closes, its location might be considered for a Trumbull Town Campus. This could include a library, senior, teen, and athletic centers, and a pool. Centralization can save money.
Town entities exist solely to serve the people of Trumbull. They MUST work together to provide for the needs of all Trumbull residents.