Town Manager's Report - September 16, 2019

Citizen’s Academy
The kick-off event to our seven-week interactive Citizen’s Academy will begin on Thursday, September 26th and will be held in the Town Hall Council Chambers.  See what happens when a 911 call is received, climb up in a snow plow, try on firefighting equipment and more! Learn about town and Board of Education departments, how you can participate in the decisions of the Town Council, tour the town and visit various town facilities uncovering facts about your town services you never knew! Free. To register, call 860-285-1835 or online at townofwindsorct.com.

 

Senior Health Fair & Flu Shot Clinic
The Senior Health Fair and flu shot clinic will be held on October 3rd from 8:30 AM – 12 noon at the Senior Center. Windsor residents age 50 and above and disabled adults 18 and over will be able to receive their flu shot as well as a variety of other heal-related screening and tests. Please bring all your insurance coverage cards with you (Medicare, Medicare HMO and standard insurance card.) The cost without insurance will be $30 per shot. Approximately 30 vendors will be available to share information, and refreshments will be available for purchase. You do not need to arrive early as slots and tests will be available all morning. For more information call 860-285-1992 or 860-285-1824 or go to https://townofwindsorct.com/health/

 

Freedom Trail Run
This year’s Freedom Trail run will take place on Saturday, September 21st and begins at 5:30 AM at the Archer Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church located at 320 Hayden Station Road. The run will end at the Riverside Cemetery on East Street. The run is approximately 3.9 miles and stops at several locations related to Windsor’s African-American history. A bus will follow the runners and provide a return trip to Hayden Station Road. A country style breakfast will be served for event participants after the run. To sign up, call 860-688-2479.

 

Freedom Trail Walk
This year’s Freedom Trail walking tour will take place on Saturday, September 28, 2019 from 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM and begins at the Archer Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church located at 320 Hayden Station Road. Learn about African American soldiers from the Connecticut 29th and 31st colored regiments and other civil war units buried at Riverside Cemetery. Other sites to be visited during the walk include the Nancy Toney grave site, the Joseph Rainey House, the William Best House and the historic Archer Memorial church cemetery. A Freedom Trail t-shirt will be provided to all walkers along with a continental breakfast.  Donations of non-perishable food items for the Windsor Food Bank are appreciated.  Please register at wftwalkingtour19.eventbrite.com.

 

37th Annual Northwest Park Country Fair
Northwest Park’s annual country fair will be held on Saturday, September 21st from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  I’d like to thank the volunteer members of Friends of Northwest Park organization for continuing this community tradition and remind everyone that the fair is a major fundraising event for the Friends of Northwest Park.  Activities include hay rides, pony rides, silent auction, and games galore. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Rain date: Sunday, September 22nd from noon to 4:00 PM.  $4 kids / $5 adults / children 3 and under free. For more information, call 860-285-1886.

 

Free Electronics Recycling Event
This Saturday, September 21, 2019 the town’s Conservation Commission is sponsoring an electronics recycling event at Town Hall between 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  This is a free event.  Items such as computers, stereos, televisions, and mobile phones will be accepted.

Electronics are also accepted for recycling, for no charge, at the town’s transfer station on Huckleberry Road.  Hours of operation are:

Mon & Fri 8:00 AM – 2:45 PM, Tue & Wed 10:00 AM – 2:45 PM and Saturdays 8:00 AM – 3:45 PM.  Closed on Thursdays.

 

Rainbow Reservoir – Algae Bloom Advisory
The algae bloom advisory for Rainbow Reservoir has been lifted by the State Dept. of Public Health (DPH) based on water samples taken on Monday, September 9th.    We will be having conversations with the State agencies regarding their plans to conduct water testing if the algae re-appears in summers to come.

 

Farmington River Testing
The CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) has received preliminary or partial data from the fish tissue and surface water sampling of the Farmington River completed in early July by consultants from Signature Flight.  State agencies are now reviewing the preliminary data.  The DEEP has stated it will take until the end of September or so to complete the necessary quality control checks and provide final, checked data.  The DEEP has informed town staff the consultant is planning the second round of fish and surface water sampling for later this month.   The consultant has been requested to take samplings while the water is at normal flow.

Also, the DEEP has received three environmental sampling proposals from Signature Flight’s consulting engineers.

Proposals are for:

1)       Drinking water well receptor evaluation and sampling plan

2)       Surface soil sampling plan (Rainbow Road location where foam exited manhole)

3)       Farmington River surface water and sediment sampling plan

The State’s technical staff is in the process of reviewing the various sampling proposals.

Lastly, at my request, Mike Pepe, Director of Public Health, has been attending various meetings of the state-wide PFAS Task Force. It is my understanding the task force is charged with presenting a draft report on October 1st, which would then allow for initial public review and comment prior to a final report being completed in early November.

 

Railroad Crossings – Quiet Zone Designation

The Federal Railroad Administration has established a regulation that sets nationwide standards for the sounding of train horns at rail grade crossings.  The regulation allows for the creation of so-called “quiet zones” and where the use of horns are restricted.  A quiet zone needs to be at least one-half mile in length and must meet specific safety standards as set by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).  Quiet zones can be designated for ‘night-time’ hours or the entire 24-hour period.

The State of CT Department of Transportation (DOT), in designing upgrades to the New Haven–Hartford–Springfield line, has made improvements to various crossings in the southern half of town.   Unfortunately, at this time, State and Federal funding for track and crossing upgrades north of Central Street is not in place.  Town officials have long advocated with DOT representatives that the commuter line project should include measures to allow for quiet zone designation.

Physical upgrades could be improvements such as installation of a four way, or quad gates at each crossing, or constructing raised medians prior to the crossing to impede vehicles from cutting through the gates. Some communities have either closed crossings or made streets one way to reduce vehicular traffic.

Also, the CT DOT has been testing the use of wayside horns as a way to reduce horn noise.  Wayside horns are attached to the safety gates at the crossing, not to the train’s locomotive.  This helps to direct the warning signal at the area of the roadway approaching the crossing.

The process to gain a quiet zone designation across multiple crossings appears to be a rather complex process involving multiple state, federal and private entities, requiring design, funding, evaluation of increased liability for the town, and construction of improvements.

Town staff has reached out to CT DOT and their rail consulting team to inquire as to their availability to meet with staff and community members later this fall to discuss the quiet zone designation process and wayside horns.