A new addition to Newtown’s outdoor recreation has dogs and owners filling the new Park and Bark dog park. The off-leash facility celebrated its grand opening in May. Following many months of planning and fundraising, the park on May 3 held its ribbon cutting at the recently constructed facility on Old Farm Road. Since then, dogs and owners have enjoyed exercising, agility equipment, and water features at the site.
The Newtown government beat was a busy one throughout 2014, with developments like the new community center competing with continued recovery and resiliency efforts as the community moved through its second year post-12/14.
It was a year that also saw several parents and survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, as well as government officials, step into the public eye, offering informative, courageous, candid, and often heart-wrenching testimony to Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s Sandy Hook Commission.
Emergency measures were underway immediately to prevent further damage in the Children’s Department of C.H. Booth Library in January, following a pipe break above the second floor offices that flooded much of the central main floor and lower areas of the library. A refurbished and upgraded library reopened to the public in March.
In the same space and in the same spirit of FunSpace, a playground at Dickinson Park that was falling into disrepair and which the town tore down in October 2013, is the new FunSpace II. During that same month, ground was broken for a new playscape, and the new construction was completed and opened to children by August 2014.
The lineup of Newtown’s administrative team changed in 2014.
At the start of the year, the Board of Education was conducting a search for a new superintendent of schools. On January 10, five members of the school board were ready to head to Southington to conduct a site visit with that district’s then-superintendent, Joseph V. Erardi, Jr.
The visit was part of the interview process, as BOE Vice Chair Laura Roche told The Bee.
A 30-acre tract of land located off Old Farm Road was deeded by Governor Dannel P. Malloy to The Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation in September. It will one day become the site of an animal sanctuary, through efforts of the CVH Foundation and the Newtown Animal Center.
Newtown welcomed a new ambulance facility to Fairfield Hills in 2014. The building, with its classic design, matches the 1930s-era architecture at the campus, and sits close to duplexes that once served the former state hospital.
After a groundbreaking in 2013, the early months of 2014 saw its new construction steadily materialize into a six-bay garage and new working space for the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. And by the close of 2014, the new building was in service for all Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps activity.
2014 was a positive planning year for the new Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Consigli Construction oversaw the demolition of the old Sandy Hook School in the fall of 2013, and by 2014 plans for the new building were taking shape, following community input and work between the town and design team, led by Svigals + Partners.
In early 2014, the updated Town Plan of Conservation and Development, as well as the updated Fairfield Hills Master Plan, took effect, providing the town with a set of planning guidelines for the coming years on local growth and resource conservation, both in the town at large and at the town-owned 185-acre Fairfield Hills core campus.
The town plan is updated decennially. The Fairfield Hills plan is updated as needed.
First Selectman Pat Llodra is seeking residents to fill several opening on local appointed boards and commissions. In some cases the appointments are required to be affiliated with a specific political party, while in other cases unaffiliated voters are encouraged to consider serving.
Current openings exist on:
*The Conservation Commission has three positions available to a Republican or Unaffiliated voter and one open position available to a democrat or unaffiliated voter.