Town News You Might Not Know

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Too busy to look up what’s going on in town? Here is a recap right at your fingertips. This article covers selected information from minutes of various Boards and Commissions in town. If you want more detail, it can be found by going to, then Agendas, Minutes and Recordings.

The TEAM (Teacher Education And Mentoring) District Facilitator, provided an overview of the TEAM process. It is intended to help new teachers develop a mindset that professional learning is continuous to become highly effective.

Persistent racial issues have occurred in the district. The Board has been asked to consider putting a separate antiracism policy in place or an expansive amendment to the current policy. It would define racism, hate speech, and discrimination, outline student restorative discipline strategies culminating in a zero-tolerance pathway to expulsion. It would outline rebuilding student relationships and provide support for racially harmed students, peers, and families. Comments regarding whistleblower protections and punishment for offenders was also noted.

Bill Hawkins, Director Planning & Development, presented the rationale for purchase of Overhill Drive parcels. Mr. Kost stated this would be the most we’ve paid for open space especially when it can’t be more than one building lot. Mr. Hawkins advised the purchase is not to deter development but to support the strategy to create an open corridor for greenways and to connect trails across town. The DOT’s final price is $210k. A motion was made and approved 4:2.

Karen Isherwood, Town Engineer, reviewed the state grant to prevent death and serious injury on shared State/Town roads. The traffic study determined the best option is a roundabout at the intersection of Mountain Road and North/South Stone Streets where 22 accidents occurred since 2017. The cost would be about $4.8M federal funds, $960k town funds. The Board debated pros and cons, with several believing a traffic light would be a more cost-effective option, It was recommended that extensive public feedback be solicited prior to accepting the grant should it be awarded. Mr. Harrington wants to pursue a traffic light as the project will take five years.

Many comments for and against the dog park were heard. Annie Hornish hopes the Town will honor the intent of those who donate land to the town. Lester Smith spoke about the relevance of her comment pertaining to the intent of gifted land. He noted that the deed Mr. Bissell wrote when he gave Stony Brook Park to the town stipulated that the use was for conservation/preservation purposes only.

Dave Gauthier, Veterans Memorial Expansion Committee Chair, wants additional ways to honor all Suffield veterans. He is requesting some form of recognition to honor veterans who became disabled due to their service, peacetime veterans, those who lost their lives during peacetime on active duty, and veterans who did not enter the service from Suffield but moved to Suffield after service. The Board is looking for a more general memorial as opposed to individual memorials to consider.

The Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association (SVAA) has a couple of projects that include a new ambulance at $245,000 making Suffield one of the first communities to have a ground ambulance with point of care ultrasound capabilities allowing for a quicker detection of certain traumas. A full roof replacement is needed at a cost of $180,000. The volunteer rate is down, which may necessitate using paid EMTs.

The Police Department is looking into license plate reader cameras as well as patrol and service canines. Statewide investigation positions will also be available.

Mr. Hawkins reviewed the proposed Tax Abatement Ordinance for new and expanded businesses. There will be an application process and the Economic Development Commission will be working with the Director of Planning and Development to review applications.

James McMahon plans to convert St. Joseph’s Church into apartments. The plan is for 16 apartments: four on the lower level, six on the first floor, and six on the second floor. Parking for the apartments would be located on the adjacent property where the parking lot for the church is located.

Laura Builders, LLC is removing the barn, and the performance bond for the Hidden Way subdivision was reduced to $31,000.
Gary Paganelli requested a two-lot subdivision located at the corner of Halladay Avenue West and North Street. The application is complete and there will be a public hearing.

Captain Palmer assisted with ALICE Training at the High School and will continue to do so as long as all SPS administration are taught this active shooter response program. ALICE translates to Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

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