The New Year is upon us and Southington remains intact as one of the few communities that has escaped political controversy, major landscape changes and drastic changes in its overall appearance.
The town has grown; roads are well maintained and tax increases have been reasonable. Your town is in good shape. Population is nearing 45,000 and a slow increase is expected.
While we are saddened each year by the passing of numerous citizens who have contributed to the betterment of the town, there always are others to step up and volunteer for the betterment of the community. Nonprofits are active and volunteers are abundant.
Town Manager - Mark Sciota is settling in as town manager replacing the departed Gary Brumback. He is well aware of the town’s overall condition and has repeatedly rotated his daily duties to insure that all departments are fulfilling their obligations to the citizens.
Town Council - The recent change of council members hasn’t not been a detriment and the nine, unpaid members appear to be working together.
Parks - The town continues to upgrade all three public parks and all recreational programs appear to be content with maintenance.
Events - Southington recently concluded its second year of “White Christmas” and thanks to volunteers attracted hundreds of citizens who enjoyed the holiday lighting and events. The former drive-in theater continues to be a summer feature again thanks to volunteers. The 50th year of the Apple Harvest Festival ended with a projected profit of more than $15,000 and obviously is a regional attraction that has avoided taxpayer funding. The annual Italian Festival in July attracts an average of 12,000 people and is operated by nonprofit organizations.
Queen Street - Many towns secretly wish they had a main road that has attracted many stores that contribute to the tax base. Yet, the traffic has irritated citizens but overall, the new Triple A office and other retail outlets make the occasional traffic congestion a minor issue at this time.
West Street - The commercial influx has been great for retail enthusiasts and the tax roll, but while some complain the street is becoming over developed, most residents truly enjoy the variety of outlets while being cautious of the street’s future.
Downtown - the Center Street area is bustling with people on weekends and although void of retail stores, the restaurants and bars are attracting who apparently believe downtown is a wonderful destination.
Public safety - Few will dispute that Southington’s police and fire departments are among the best qualified. Statistics reveal the town is a safe place to live and the fact that the town’s has provided both with the best of equipment and resources, indicates we can live comfortably.
Zoning - Both the town’s planning and zoning and the zoning board of appeals are manned by volunteers and based on the overall situation of the community. Both panels have been very conscientious of the public’s concerns. With a square mile total of 36 miles and 200 miles of roads, it is difficult to constant maintain that rural, small town look. Most residents appear to be content with eight Dunkin Donuts, more than 15 liquor stores and 104 restaurants.
Finance - This board has always been a pro-taxpayer group, always concerned about tax increases.
Education - Southington is among the top eight largest high schools in the state and overall, the education system is working well. The volunteers on the board of education have been loyal to the taxpayers regarding expenses and unions.
Southington’s future remains optimistic for the New Year and beyond.