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Notes from the Old Noank Jail
by Ed Johnson
As we all settle down from the recent storm, here are some short items:
1) Although there was damage to the East Shore of Noank, especially to some local marina docks and shoreline, most necessary repairs have now been made. Town Dock at the foot of Main Street will still need some work. And we found a large piece of missing gutter material from the Noank Baptist Church up in a nearby tree during Sunday's church Bazaar (My guess is that it will probably stay there for a while).
2) A recent decision by the Noank Zoning Board of Appeals would seem to suggest that construction of very large houses is being discouraged, at least in the crowded Village area. Meanwhile, the Zoning Board itself is conducting a review of the existing regulations and contemplating some revisions (see also item # 8 below).
3) The Noank School review committee continues to obtain further renovation cost estimates in order to present the Groton Town Council with costs and a plan for converting the school building into a local Community Center. Several local organizations would already be able to utilize space in the building.
4) There has been recent discussion concerning possible expansion of operations at the Mystic River Homes Elderly Housing facilities. This is not a new subject and was briefly reviewed several years ago when the Congregate facility was built. Some concern has been expressed by existing residents that electrical service during power outages has been slow to restore (see # 5 below). This can have a negative effect on medical situations, such as residential oxygen equipment.
5) It was noted, following the major storm, that once again Groton Utilities had restored most electrical power within 48 hours to both Mumford Cove and Groton Long Point. By contrast, nearby areas, including Noank Village itself, had to wait six days before power was restored by Connecticut Light and Power. Some folks are beginning to explore how to improve this situation, especially with such a continued major difference in service response following major storms.
6) Some initial discussion has occurred, with input from the public, on the possible re-design of the Palmer Cove vehicle bridge that connects Noank to GLP and Mumford Cove. And, unlike the Mystic Streetscape project, this time the public input is occurring BEFORE anything is designed.
7) Related to the above, many of us have expressed concern with the manner in which the Streetscape project was handled by the Groton Town Planning Department. Other problems and complaints with that Department have been presented to the Groton Town Council recently by Mr. James Furlong of Noank. Thus far, those complaints (previously reviewed in this column) have not been resolved but we expect more attention will now be paid to the matter.
8) Recently, the Noank Historical Society voted to accept the responsibility for receiving Preservation Easements on local Noank properties that might be sold in the future. Essentially, a property owner can now request such a restriction which would then be a guiding requirement for future owners of the property. It would limit the alteration or demolition of such property, thus helping to retain the historic appearance in Noank. This could affect the sale, for example, of a building such as Main Street House for Girls being sold directly to Noank Group Homes, currently the operator of that facility (see also # 2 above).
9) The operators, board members and staff of the Noank Community Market were complimented on their efforts during the recent storm and 6 day power outage. The store was able to stay open every day, serving and helping the community, thanks to the generator at the store and the cooperation of all parties involved.
10) And finally, a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this column. We appreciate your interest and constructive comments. Additionally, I think we can all be thankful that the storm, at least in our immediate area, was not any worse.