Customers in need of ice cream walked quietly through the
crowd gathered at Mel’s Downtown Creamery while town representatives discussed
issues and answered questions during a community meeting with residents and
business owners Monday.
Public safety strategies, planning and zoning issues, social resources and the tree initiative and the proposal from CL&P were on the agenda.
A handful of residents stated an interest in having patrolmen walking the streets during the nights, especially during downtown walking events and weekends in the summer.
Stonington Police Captain Jerry Desmond was amenable to adding more resources to downtown Pawcatuck.
Resident Mike Spellman voiced concern about rental properties around town that are affecting the quality of life and property values in town. He said Stonington was a leader in affordable housing during the 1970s and 80s but has now turned into a dumping ground.
“It’s a real quality of life issue, when it starts to affect property values,” he said. “We have to work on a group to deal with this, everyone’s got skin in the game.”
Residents and business owners expressed displeasure and frustration with the distressed buildings downtown and specifically the one with a sign reading "Laura’s Landing" across from Mel’s Downtown Creamery.
The building was once filled with stuff but has since been emptied by the owner.
“It could be a nice place,” said one resident. “Right now, it’s killing us.”
Director of Public Works Joe Bragaw said he’s working with CL&P about their tree trimming initiative as well as the town’s plan to trim trees downtown. He said he’s taking the residents concerns seriously and has not intention to just lob off the top of trees.He said of his plans, “its like a good haircut, if you do it right no one will notice