East Lyme First Selectman Nickerson announces re-election bid

East Lyme — In a decision he said was made out of love for East Lyme, First Selectman Mark Nickerson announced Thursday he will seek a third term as town executive in this year’s upcoming election.

“I love the town first, and I love this job,” Nickerson said Thursday in an interview with The Day. “I’m proud of the accomplishments that my team and I have made through the years, and they are significant."

Of those accomplishments, Nickerson highlighted in a news release the completion of the Niantic Bay Boardwalk, the purchase of the former Mobil gas station on Main Street, as well as the building of a new park on that property, establishing an independent police force in town and improvements to the Community Center parking lot, as well as the elementary schools renovation project, among others, which more recently have included the town’s decision to purchase a new public safety building and install new bathrooms at Cini Park.

“Being First Selectman of East Lyme has been an incredible and rewarding position,” Nickerson wrote in the release. “In my position, I have the unique perspective of seeing the entire town’s operations, commissions, volunteers groups and non-profits all come together to do their part to make our town the great community it is. We keep politics out of the management and development of our town. We accomplish these great results as a team.”

Nickerson, a Republican, became first selectman in January 2015 to serve the remainder of former First Selectman Paul Formica's term after Formica was elected to the state Senate. Nickerson then was elected to a full two-year term as first selectman in November that same year, according to Day archives.

In years prior to becoming first selectman, Nickerson has served in other town-elected positions, first as an alternate Zoning Commission member beginning in 1999 and later as its chair. In 2009, he was elected onto the Board of Selectmen. Nickerson also currently chairs the town’s Water and Sewer Commission.

A potential Democratic candidate has not yet made an announcement to enter this year’s election race.

Looking forward, Nickerson explained Thursday he hopes to keep tackling ongoing projects and issues, such as renovations at the town’s future public safety facility on West Main Street, which he said are expected to be completed early next year, as well as overseeing the completion of the incoming Costco project.

Nickerson said that if he is re-elected, he hopes, among other goals, to potentially instate a tax-abatement program for seniors, as well as seeing the redevelopment of the current Dominion-owned police station building on Main Street. He said the town is looking to acquire the building as soon as the town's police force moves out.

Adding to that, Nickerson also said he hopes to find a resolution to the now decadeslong court case between the town of East Lyme and Glenn Russo of Landmark Development, who has planned a large housing development in the environmentally sensitive Oswegatchie Hills section of town.

“I don’t accomplish anything alone. I have a great team of people who volunteer to be on these boards and commissions and then I have incredible department heads who are supremely professional in their chosen careers. And they continue to do more with less year after year,” Nickerson said Thursday. “It’s the town first. It’s the people first. And look around, we have a good town. And I think that’s as refreshing as can be.”

m.biekert@theday.com

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