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WestCOG's Monthly Newsletter
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

 


Staff Changes: On Monday, December 12, from 10 AM to 4 PM we will be holding a reception at the WestCOG offices to honor David Hannon and Donna Stone, who are departing after a collective half a century of service. All are invited to stop by and wish them well as they embark on a new phase of their lives. A small tribute to each is below.

Stamford Awarded $1.8 Million: CTDOT recently committed $1.8 million in funding for the City of Stamford through the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program (LOTCIP). These funds will be used for improvements at the West Main Street (Route 1) and West Avenue intersection.  The project seeks to improve traffic flow, safety and operation by improving the roadway geometry and realigning the travel lanes. Exclusive left-turn lanes will be added at each approach of the intersection. In addition to this project, WestCOG is actively working to advance two more LOTCIP projects, requesting approximately $4 million in funding, for the City of Stamford.


Business Survey Launched: WestCOG is continuing to collect responses to the Business Survey. The survey results will provide a clearer understanding of the major strengths and weaknesses of the Western Connecticut Region as a place to start and operate a business. Follow this link to access English and Spanish versions of the survey. The survey will be open until December 31, 2016.
Upcoming Events

WestCOG Board & MPO Meetings
December 15, 11:30am
Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association

Holidays
December 26 & January 2
WestCOG Closed

TAG Meeting
January 11, 11am
Comstock Community Center, Wilton

Planners' Lunch
January 11, 12:30pm
Comstock Community Center, Wilton

Economic Advisory Group
January 12, 2:30pm
Comstock Community Center, Wilton

Martin Luther King Day
January 16
WestCOG Closed

Legislative Breakfast
January 23, 8:00am
Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association
Snow Date January: 30, 8:00am

For more, visit the WestCOG Calendar

Regional GIS Portal: WestCOG is beta testing a web-based, Regional GIS mapping portal. Currently in beta testing, it includes all GIS data that has undergone a quality control process. Contact Carl Zimmerman (czimmerman@westcog.org) for a password to view and comment on the site. In addition, COG staff are available demonstrate the utility of the product to your employees, land use boards (i.e. wetlands commission) and citizens. Schedule an on-site demonstration if you are interested.

Stamford Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan: On November 17 and 18, WestCOG, the City of Stamford, and Toole Design Group held a series of stakeholder meetings for the Stamford Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. The team met with the Technical Advisory Committee, Community Advisory Committee, Stamford Police Department, Access4All, Eastside Partnership as well as several other City departments. In addition to providing an update on the plan’s progress, the groups had an opportunity to discuss existing challenges in Stamford regarding safety, roadway design, and ADA accessibility. The Community Advisory Committee focused on developing a draft of the bicycle network identifying connections across Stamford to improve accessibility to key destinations. For more information on the plan, please visit the project website. The study’s survey and WikiMap will be collecting responses until December 31, 2016. 

GIS Data: WestCOG has received all preliminary planimetric data (e.g. street, roads, and sidewalks) for the 10 northern towns. If you would like to review the data set (preliminary only) or learn more contact Carl Zimmerman. The GIS Team has just completed several hundred of hours of review and improvements. In addition, the WestCOG GIS team will host a Regional GIS meeting in early January on updated data, the Regional GIS service, and MS4 mapping. An annoucement will be coming soon. 

Branchville TOD: Consultants for the Branchville Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Plan will be presenting some of their work in the lower level meeting room of Ridgefield Library on January 5 at 6 pm.

Drug Task Force: On December 1, Drug Task Force members met to learn about and discuss Juvenile Review Boards as a preventative tool for drug addiction and other risky behaviors. Minutes and materials from the meeting can be found on the group's webpage.

MS4 Support: At the December TAG meeting, WestCOG announced that it would help assist Stormwater Management Plan Development meetings for municipalities. The goals of these meetings are to bring in multiple departments from a given town, allocate responsibilities, and lay down the ground work to meet MS4 requirements. Contact Mike Towle (mtowle@westcog.org) to schedule. Additionally, UConn CLEAR has hired a dedicated MS4 support staff member, Amanda Ryan, (Amanda.ryan@uconn.edu) to support communities with the MS4 process.

RDIP Program: On November 29 & 30, WestCOG participated in the Roadway Data Improvement Program (RDIP) at CTDOT to discuss data quality, utility, and sharing issues. This process facilitates innovations in safety and quantitative transportation planning for our region and communities.

Agenda for the Upcoming MPO Meetings: SWRMPO Available here. HVMPO Available here.

Grant Opportunities


DEEP is accepting proposals for Connecticut's Recreational Trails Program Grants. Pending availability of funds during 2017-2018, grants may be made to any private nonprofit organizations, municipalities, state departments and tribal governments. Applications will be accepted through December 15, 2016. 


EPA has announced a new request for proposals for its Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Grant.These grants may be used to address sites contaminated by petroleum and hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants (including hazardous substances co-mingled with petroleum). The proposal submission deadline is December 20, 2016.


In partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities announces the opening of Round Ten of Partners for Places. Partners for Places is a matching grant program, creating opportunities for cities and counties in the US and Canada to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant. The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations. The application deadline for Round Ten is January 30, 2017 (by 11:59 p.m., any time zone).


DEEP is accepting applications through February 2, 2017 under its Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant Program, which includes its Urban Green and Community Gardens Program. This grant program provides financial assistance to municipalities and non-profit land conservation organizations to acquire land for open space that will enhance local outdoor recreation, protect unique geographical features, or conserve wildlife habitat, and to water companies to acquire land to be classified as Class I or Class II water supply. property.
Dave Hannon

As Deputy Director, Dave managed transportation, economic development, emergency management, public health, and public works related planning programs and projects.

He earned a master’s degree in community planning from the University of Rhode Island, where he graduated first in his class. After graduation, he worked in the private sector and produced some of the most innovative residential development in the US. Dave was then in business for himself for many years as one of CT’s leading private planning consultants.
After applying for a position at HVCEO in 1989, a leading planner in CT was approached with the question; What do you think of him? The answer; “Dave Hannon always lands on his feet.” That statement has proven to be true during Dave’s 27 years with HVCEO and now WestCOG. Once he starts a project, mayors and first selectmen know a good result is assured. 
 
When Homestead, Florida was devastated by a hurricane in the 1990s, Dave was given permission by the Council to reduce his hours so that he could be part of a team desperately needed to bolster municipal management in that town. When the region got involved with emergency management, he got a license as an emergency radio operator, the better to assist the volunteers who maintain vital public communications when the internet is down. 

We all wish Dave well in his retirement, and we give out sincerest thanks for 27 years of enthused public service to Western Connecticut!
Donna Stone

Donna worked as Office Manager at SWRPA and later WestCOG. She was essential to keeping both offices up and running during the  merger and move. Throughout her time here, she made sure the COG and Board meetings rolling along without a hitch, doing all the of the meeting preparation and communications.  Donna was an integral part of the team. She also brought lots of laughs with her kazoo and play-dough themed team building activities and kept us all amused with her stories. She will be sorely missed. We wish her the best in all her future pursuits!

Regional News & Events

  • The Metropolitan Area Planning (MAP) Forum announces its 2016 Annual Meeting on December 16, 2016 at 10:30 am in Newark, New Jersey. Register here. the meeting also will be streamed on the Internet; a link to the live stream will be available at www.njtpa.org at the time of the meeting. More details here.
  • 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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