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    Friday, April 19, 2024

    Groton invites community to talk about the future

    Groton ― The town will hold a series of community meetings on issues facing Groton now and in the future, from community development to housing.

    Jon Reiner, the town’s director of planning and development services, said the town is looking for ways to engage the community in conversations about the larger issues of long-term growth, economic development and conservation and hear what is important to the public.

    Each month, a workshop will include a guest speaker and an opportunity for community members to share their comments, he said. The events will take place at locations around town to make it easier for people to participate and to bring different voices to the table.

    Reiner said the town’s Office of Planning and Development Services started the "Groton Community Conversations" Workshop Series to better engage the community about the wants and needs of residents and businesses in Groton today, as well as exploring ideas for the future of Groton.

    Reiner said Groton is at a potential turning point, with a lot of growth pressure.

    He said Electric Boat’s growth over the past few years is projected to remain steady for the long term, and the town needs to figure out what that means for Groton.

    The town also owns excess property such as closed schools that the community will need to figure out how best to use, he said.

    In addition, Groton faces immense pressure for housing, with a need for more than 6,400 new housing units. The town is hearing from people about the need for more affordable housing and also receiving questions about why the town is seeing new development in the form of banks, gas stations, car washes and auto part stores, but not certain other retail uses.

    At the same time, many people want more open space in town.

    Reiner said these don’t all have to be competing uses, and it’s important for the community to talk about these issues.

    These conversations will help inform some of the town’s larger efforts, including the upcoming update of the Plan of Conservation and Development and the town’s first climate action plan, which the town hopes to start this summer, along with other economic development, sustainability, recreation and open space initiatives.

    Each event in the “Groton Community Conversations” Workshop Series will include food from a local restaurant.

    “Growth, Change, & Quality of Life” with Don Poland, who specializes in land-use planning and community development: 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Submarine Force Museum at 1 Crystal Lake Road.

    · “Shaping the Future of Groton” with urban planning expert John Guszkowski: 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m. March 28 at Marine Science Magnet High School, 130 Shennecossett Road.

    · A housing event with real estate and housing expert Mike Goman: 5:45 p.m.-7:15 p.m. April 25 at Chelsea Groton Bank Headquarters, 904 Poquonnock Road.

    An event on civics, so more people know how to get involved in the community and have their voices heard, will be held in May, with the date to be determined, Reiner said.

    The town plans to hold more conversations in the fall.

    More information is available at https://www.greatergroton.com/community-conversations-workshop-series


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