Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton will serve an eighth term in office. He says there are four main areas he wants to work on in the new term.
One is rebuilding the City's infrastructure: the roads, bridges and buildings to ensure they are prepared to serve residents for the next decade. He says the City is also engaged in a big expansion of Danbury High School. That's taken a lot of time, in order to create a building that all residents can be proud of.
Boughton says he also wants to continue to manage taxes. He wants there to be a good value for the investment. He says he's mindful of the dollar, and maximizing every dollar that comes into the City.
Finally, he wants to continue with the Main Street Revitalization Plan. He thinks the plans getting underway will help better manage the homeless population. New projects are being built all along the Main Street corridor.
Boughton says it's a good time on Main Street, with retailers and wholesalers looking to locate there. He says it's been helped in part by the investment by Grey Star Development, which is building the Kennedy Flats housing development on the north end of the street. Naugatuck Valley Community College is also expanding in CityCenter. But Boughton says there is more work to be done. He wants to unveil some more plans in the coming months of what needs to be done in the revitalization effort.
Boughton touted a number of new initiatives getting underway with new noise ordinances being proposed. The Unified Neighborhood Inspection Team is looking into blight, litter control, and illegal apartments with too many people living in them. Based on feedback from residents, those efforts could be stepped up soon.
Boughton says he's probably had more positive feedback about brining back the Danbury Fair than any other proposal he's made with much more substance. He wants to figure out a way to bring back an annual event that is similar to the Fair. But he says there would have to be buy-in from the community, because if it's done right there will be a lot of traffic and a significant amount of logistical things to overcome. If the City can figure all of that out, and a location, it could be a big economic driver for businesses.
Protecting the water quality in Candlewood Lake is also on Boughton's agenda. Sterile grass carp were introduced into the lake this year to help reduce the invasive Eurasian Milfoil. Boughton says another piece of that is to work with the other towns surrounding the lake, the Lake Authority and First Light to manage the money that's budgeted for lake protection and investing in areas that will protect water quality. Boughton says zoning regulations may need to be changed to help protect the water quality.
Boughton says the taxpayers have put up everything they can to handle the increased enrollment in the schools. A major expansion of the elementary schools has been completed, there's a new middle school open and the high school project is moving forward. He says more than 200 new students enrolled in the schools this fall, twice what demographers predicted. It's been about a 1% growth per year.
The City is in the process of going out to bid to look at ACE, the Alternative Center for Excellence. He says it's a unique and historic building that's not easily modified. He says the City needs to find room for an additional 25 kids in the program, bringing the enrollment up to about 125. He called that the ideal enrollment for ACE. He says the City is looking at what space is available and how it can be better managed.