With the new year finally here, Cheshire’s Town Manager Sean Kimball has a lot of items on his agenda and he’s looking forward to what the next 12 months have in store for the community.
“2019 was an incredible year for Cheshire,” said Kimball. “I am really proud of what we have been able to accomplish this (past) year, and we have a lot coming up too that residents should be excited about.”
One of the major reasons for the past year’s success, Kimball believes, has bee the Town’s use of social media to garner feedback about various town events and issues, in an effort to be more transparent with the community.
“We definitely want to continue to use the resources we have, or at least make the best use of the community online groups in the coming year.” added Kimball.
The Town made a point of communicating via platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to inform residents when town-wide events were about to take place, gain a better understanding of residents’ overall concerns, and answer any questions locals may have had.
In 2019, much of the community’s attention was focused on Cheshire’s 325th birthday and the formation of the new School Modernization Committee, but Kimball thinks one project that began to gain steam towards the end of 2019 will define Cheshire for the new year.
“The ideas for the Chapman Property, along with the Town response, has been amazing,” Kimball noted. “In January or February, we hope to see Weston & Sampson present us with their initial findings for the surveying they did in November.”
The Chapman property, which the Town purchased three years ago for approximately $3 million, is a 10-acre parcel of land located south of the Bartlem Recreation Area, and across the street from Cheshire High School.
When the Cheshire purchased the property, ideas for what to do with it started immediately flowing in from the community, with suggestions ranging from building an adult playground to the construction of a new recreation center.
The Town ultimately hired Weston & Sampson to help deal with the barrage of ideas and then the company surveyed residents in order to consolidate and organize information.
“I am very excited about the future of Bartlem Park along with the Chapman property,” said Kimball. “The level of community engagement we’ve had is amazing and the ideas that have been thrown around are all good.”
Bartlem Park playground, according to Kimball, will also be getting its own makeover in the coming year.
“The Council supports the idea of creating a more adaptive playground, so I am excited to see what will come from that,” said Kimball.
Such a playground will allow children of all ages and abilities to access the area, by including items such as wheelchair ramps, wider steps, and multi-sensory playground equipment.