Letter: Leaders need vision, courage of the past

To the Editor:

Town Council Chairman Carl Massaro wrote a letter to the editor last week, and one of his statements really caught my attention. He said “the town has never been stronger from a financial, educational and quality of life standpoint.” I strongly disagree with Mr. Massaro’s assessment, but this goes beyond politics for me. I’m afraid that if Trumbull residents accept Mr. Massaro’s opinion at face value, then Trumbull will be satisfied with where we are today. I decided to write my response from the heart, rather than as a politician, because I grew up in this town. This is my hometown, and I know for sure that Trumbull can do better.

I strongly believe that most folks who have lived in Trumbull for many years disagree that the quality of life in this town “has never been stronger.” I do not say that based on some nostalgic or sentimental view of the past. Trumbull is still a great place to live, but I know there is still so much we can do to improve the quality of life here.

When I grew up in Trumbull, public swimming was available at both Twin Brooks and Old Mine Park. I learned to swim at Twin Brooks with free lessons provided by the town. Trumbull Center was a thriving downtown area full of shops and stores and Trumbull had more than one grocery store. Garden Exchange, Henderson-Trumbull, MacKenzie’s Pharmacy, Marty Kane’s, Grand Union followed by Poricelli’s were all Trumbull staples. Trumbull Shopping Park was built, and the entire town supported it and went shopping there regularly. Schools were new or in great shape. When Hillcrest opened in 1967, it included a swimming pool and a planetarium. Trumbull High School was an incredible facility for the early 70’s. In those days, Trumbull’s leaders literally reached for the stars. We built a brand new library and opened the Tashua Pool and Recreation area, and built a new golf course. Crime was low, and a new EMS was formed and staffed almost entirely by volunteers. Several yearly community activities were well-attended and flourished. We had stable and reasonable property taxes, and interacting with those in Town Hall was done with a smile. Our sewer use fees were under control and affordable, and parents didn’t have to pay a participation fee if their kids played sports or participated in an activity.

Those who have lived in Trumbull for years are aware of how much has been lost over the years. Much has changed since then and some of this is due to changes in our society and outside of local control. But in order for our town to be truly great, we can’t be complacent. Our leaders have to have the courage to have vision as leaders had decades ago. We need to make decisions now that will serve the town for many years to come. We need balance in government and we must work together in order to make Trumbull all that it can be.

Tom Kelly