Overall it was a very successful night for us, I think.
I’m not sure if we got through to Rick Dunne – he’s the head of NVCOG. I had a pretty heated 20-minute conversation with him on the sidewalk after the meeting. In the end, I think that he understands our perspective. His subordinate, Aaron Budris, used to be a ranger at the Dam, seems very level-headed, and wants to learn more about the trail system – so that’s a positive as Aaron will have a lot of impact on the recommended route. We ended with Dunne asking me if we would be as vigorous in showing support for the east-side route as we have been in opposition anything that would be on the west side of the river and I promised that we would. In other words, if the report recommends the east-side route, we need to voice a lot of support.
The consultants from BSC are the ones actually doing the study for NVCOG and seemed to be really listening and took lots of notes.
The Thomaston First Selectman remains apparently open to talking. What I know is that local business owners have been talking to him and are on our side. Jim Blais and I spent half a day in town two weeks ago talking to local restaurants, etc.
We learned that the local ACoE leadership definitely supports our position and does not want the trails encroached upon. They want the greenway trail to be on the east side of the river. This is exactly what we want. However, we also know that the final decision will not be made by the local ACoE. They will be made at the regional or national level of ACoE.
I still think that local politicians are on our side and we need to keep working on those relationships. One of the best things about the meeting last night was that it showed how many people visit Thomaston on a regular basis – frequenting businesses.
Steve Salisbury from AMA made a very good speech and received a good round of applause. I think it was impressive to the Town and NVCOG to have a national organization there.
We need to get at least a few people to attend the March meetings in Harwinton and Litchfield. These will be calmer and better for asking/answering questions.
Jim and/or I will meet with the local ACoE to try to get a picture of the chain of command and try to understand the best way to work with them. Like I said above, we definitely have the support of the local guys.
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT. Even if you didn’t speak, filling the room with bodies was a very strong statement.