Edie Twining named Old Lyme Citizen of the Year
Old Lyme ― The volunteer behind the years-long and ongoing effort to transform Halls Road from an Interstate 95 pit stop into a livable, walkable, shoppable town center has been honored as the town’s Citizen of the Year.
Edie Twining was lauded at Monday’s annual town meeting by First Selectman Tim Griswold for her efforts to preserve and promote the town, its history and “its sense of place.”
As the chairman of the Halls Road Improvements Committee, Twining has been trying to make the area more conducive to foot and bike traffic through plans for sidewalks, trails and a pedestrian bridge over the Lieutenant River. She’s also been working to change local zoning regulations to allow a mix of retail and residential options that are both a destination and a place to come home to.
Twining on Wednesday said she moved around a lot as a child and spent most of her adult life in Boston, Massachusetts. Through it all, she would return for visits to the riverfront home in Old Lyme that had been in her family for generations.
“It was a big deal to have this place as a constant,” she said.
She moved into the family home in 2014. The next year, she became part of the Halls Road committee in a move reminiscent of her father Kinsley Twining’s involvement in development efforts on the same road back in the 1950s.
“I just felt it really needed a facelift, or something,” she said.
Twining, an artist and interior designer, said her work with retail clients gave her insight into how brick and mortar businesses can be successful despite the threat of online shopping.
Twining is also a member of the Old Lyme Land Trust Board of Directors, the Old Lyme Historical Society and has served on the Economic Development Commission.
Cheryl Poirier, the outgoing Citizen of the Year who has served with Twining in various capacities spanning economic development and the arts, gave officials a written endorsement of her friend.
“Edie has spent countless volunteer hours collaborating to ensure Old Lyme continues to meet the needs of today’s residents while creating new opportunities for our future businesses,” she said.
Poirier cited the creation of marketing materials for Make Music Old Lyme and exploreoldlyme.com. Twining’s hand-drawn illustrations in the Walking Tour of Lyme Street brochure for the historical society “continue to delight local residents and history buff visitors alike,” according to Poirier.
Economic Development Commission member Howard Margules invoked the legacy of Twining’s father in a letter of support prior to Monday’s town meeting.
“Her father played a leadership role in the economic development of Old Lyme in the 1950s and they share that same sense of purpose,” he said. “Both on a mission to improve, enhance and secure the future of Old Lyme.”
Twining described herself as someone who was not involved in local volunteerism or politics prior to moving to Old Lyme. She said she’s learned a lot about both as the Halls Road proposal hit “some major walls” through the years.
“I stick with the Halls Road project because I am compelled to finish what I start,” she said. “We have heard from enough people that they DO want to see the changes the Master Plan recommends, and that says we need to follow through on this. While the spikes of adversity can be discouraging I know that there are twice as many folks who are in favor and supportive.”
Twining all along acknowledged that turning a vision into reality on Halls Road would be a slow process.
“Part of it is believing that if you stick with something long enough, something can change,” she said.