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March 2017
Western Connecticut
Council of Governments
Welcome to the WestCOG monthly newsletter. It's a great place to find updates and opportunities in the region. You can also get information in real time by following us on Twitter or liking our Facebook page.

Project Updates


America the Beautiful: WestCOG has been selected for a $12,000 America the Beautiful Grant from CTDEEP to perform its proposed project “Greening the Air: Urban Canopy Assessment and Enhancement”. This project will perform a tree census for the region and calculate benefits, but will also drill down further for the City of Norwalk, by generating a tree plan to recommend future plantings.

Brookfield Receives Funding for Lower Route 202: The Town of Brookfield will receive $900,000 for the preliminary engineering of improvements on Lower Federal Road to address existing safety and traffic flow concerns. The design of improvements will build off of recommendations in the Transportation Plan for Lower Route 202 developed by WestCOG in 2015. Including this project and programming the preliminary design in the TIP was discussed at the February HVMPO meeting.

New Fairfield & New Milford Receive LOTCIP Final Design Approval: CTDOT approved the final design submission for New Fairfield’s Candlewood Corners Drainage Improvement project. The $500,000 project replaces an existing culvert pipe with larger twin culverts to reduce the severity and frequency of flooding that damages Route 39 and Sawmill Road as well as adjacent private properties. The project is expected to be advertised for bids this spring for construction this year. CTDOT also approved the final design submission for New Milford’s Wellsville Avenue Bridge Reconstruction project. The $1.1 million project is expected to be advertised for bids this spring for construction this year.
Upcoming Events

WestCOG Board & MPO Meetings
March 16, 11:30am
Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association

Drug Task Force
March 22, 9:30am
Wilton Teen Center

Tech Focus Group
March 22, 12pm
Comstock Community Center, Wilton

Creative Economy Focus Group
March 23, 12pm
Comstock Community Center, Wilton

CEDS Strategy Committee Meeting
March 28, 2pm
Wilton Comstock Community Center

TAG Meeting
April 4, 10am
Wilton Comstock Community Center

April 14
WestCOG Closed

WestCOG Board & MPO Meetings
April 20, 11:30am
Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association

For more, visit the WestCOG Calendar
Shelter Plan Guide: The Housatonic Valley Region - Public Health Emergency Preparedness (HVR-PHEP) has completed its Special and Functioning Needs Sheltering Planning Guide.  The Guide provides a framework for any municipality to improve its sheltering for individuals requiring additional assistance. The next step for the HVR-PHEP is to create training materials for those who work in emergency sheltering. Contact Will Kenny for more information, wkenny@westcog.org.

Economic Focus Groups: WestCOG is continuing to hold Focus Groups to hear from business owners and stakeholders in the region about the strengths and weaknesses they see in the region’s economy. Feedback from the Focus Groups will be used in the creation of a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. The full schedule of Focus Groups can be found here.

Drug Task Force: The Drug Task Force will meet on March 22 to hear a presentation from Dr. Collins, Physician-In-Chief at Silver Hill Hospital. He will be presenting on Understanding the Neurobiology of Addiction.  More on this group can be found on the WestCOG site.

Planners' Lunch: The Spring Planners' Lunch was on March 7. The lunch featured a presentation by Don Poland of Goman and York about using planning and land use tools for economic development. A copy of his presentation can be found here.

Regional CAMA Assessment: A phone-based Question and Answer session with Axiomatic was held on February 22. The final goal of this project is a study of the viability of a voluntary regional Computer-Assisted Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system.

Regional GIS User Meeting: The Regional GIS user met on February 21. Regional GIS Mapping service and MS4 mapping updates were discussed.


Agenda for the Upcoming COG and MPO Meetings: Available here.

Grant Opportunities


The new Section 5310 grant application cycle from CTDOT has begun. Section 5310 is a federal grant program intended to improve mobility for seniors and individuals with disabilities by removing barriers to transportation service and expanding transportation mobility options. It supports transportation services planned, designed and carried out to meet the special transportation needs of seniors and individuals with disabilities in all areas of Connecticut and provides funding for both traditional capital investment and nontraditional investment beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act complementary paratransit services. Applications are due by 4pm on Friday, March 24, 2017.


The EDA has published the FY 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs Federal Funding Opportunity. EDA solicits applications from applicants in order to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works and EAA programs. Grants and cooperative agreements made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities. Proposals will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Staff Profile: William Kenny

Will assists the Planning staff with a variety of tasks related to public health, including the Drug Task Force and the Housatonic Valley Region Public Health Emergency Planning Committee (HVR PHEP). He also assists with the CEDS. Before joining WestCOG, Will worked in politics, with people who are homeless, as well as on projects to tackle issues related to food accessibility. He earned his B.S. in Public Health Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a focus on health equity and economics.

Regional News & Events
 
  • Seminar - Rails with Trails & Economic Benefits of the Naugatuck Valley Greenway: Tom Sexton will discuss Rails with Trails. Tom is the Director of the Rails to Trails Conservancy’s Northeast Regional Office. Since joining RTC in 1991, Tom has been instrumental in leading RTC’s policy, promotion and trail assistance efforts across ten states in the Northeast. He founded and now directs the RTC’s annual Rail-Trail Sojourn series, a trail-building program that, since 2002, has led thousands of cyclists on rides throughout the eastern US. He also biked the first Western New England Greenway tour in 2013.
    Mark Neilsen will discuss the Economic Benefits of the Proposed Naugatuck River Greenway. Mark is the Director of Planning / Assistant Director of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments. He has long been involved in the planning efforts for the Naugatuck River Greenway and was on the research team for the recently released “Pathways to Revitalization: Economic Impacts of Phased Completion of the Naugatuck River Greenway.” RSVP to Programs@HousatonicHeritage.org by Thursday, March 16th. Space is limited so please do not delay in responding.
    Monday, March 20, 2017 at 11:30am at E. Paul Martin Room, 2nd Floor, Town Hall, 10 Main Street, New Milford.
 
  • CERC and CEDAS are booking future dates for their free Municipal Economic Development Training, which is custom tailored to specific town(s) and designed to help those who impact economic development to work more collaboratively together. Contact Courtney Hendricson with questions and to schedule a training.
 
  • UConn CLEAR has decided to take the NEMO workshops and Land Use Academy Training on the road to make it easier for land use commissioners to attend. WestCOG will be helping towns organize these free joint classes. Please contact Liz at eesposito@westcog.org for more information. 

Do you have news or events you would like to share with the rest of the region? Send your updates to Liz at eesposito@westcog.org.
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