Looking back at 2011: A busy summer

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Dec. 29, 2011
Jim Bennett thought the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry would be protected as part of a historical district. File photos by Steve Smith.
Jim Bennett thought the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry would be protected as part of a historical district. File photos by Steve Smith.

Summer's warm weather was a big improvement over the harsh winter and cool spring, and there were plenty of outdoor activities in town.

The Riverfront Music Festival had a great series of shows. Rain didn’t deter thousands from attending the second of four summer concerts on July 13, which included a Classic Car Show as well as the music of Eight to the Bar.

Glastonbury Youth and Family Services' Creative Experiences performed “Footloose” to nearly-packed houses. “‘Footloose’ is just a real energetic experience,” said Robert Kelly, who played the show's antagonist, Reverend Shaw Moore. “It makes you think about what you’re holding onto in your life. It’s pleasantly different. I think it connects more with the audience like the movie did.”

The summer wasn't all fun. As Gov. Dannell Malloy struggled with the state legislature over budget cuts, the Rocky Hill-Glastonbury Ferry was potentially on the chopping block, and many local residents rallied at meetings to try to figure out what steps could be taken to save the ferry – in both the short- and long-term. At an open discussion on July 25, officials from both towns and residents gathered to brainstorm ideas of how to keep the ferry operating, despite the fact that it operates at a loss.

Forming a non-profit entity, perhaps in conjunction with one or both towns, appeared to be a long-term avenue to pursue, while Historical Society of Glastonbury Director James Bennett said the ferry may already have protected status, as it lies within a historical district.

“Being on the national and state historical registries, it has protection under Connecticut’s Environmental Protection Act,” Bennett said. “It says that buildings, structures, [and] open spaces that exist within a national or state registered historical district are protected.”

The ferry was not part of the state budget cuts, but efforts are still under way to find a lasting solution.

The Glastonbury Little League All-Stars just missed their chance at a state title, pushing the three game series - played in Prospect - to its limit vs. Fairfield in August. Glastonbury had won the first game 7-4, and was narrowly edged in a tense game the following day, 3-2. Glastonbury played their hearts out in game three, but couldn't keep up with the Fairfield batters and lost 13-3.

Coach Pete Halpin was naturally disappointed, but was still happy for his team. “These guys are winners because they get to play baseball for this long,” he said. “We’ve never been here before. This is the best thing that can happen for a 12-year-old.”

Glastonbury officials and residents also took part in a CT DOT meeting about upgrades to the Putnam Bridge and the inclusion of a bicycle-pedestrian path.

While the path on the bridge proper would be included in the DOT's package, the state officials said the access ramps to the path would fall to the towns.

“The approaches have always been a concern,” said Glastonbury Town Manager Richard Johnson, adding that it would be important to identify whether there was a “deal-breaker,” meaning that if the approaches connecting the trail on the bridge to surface roads or trails were not feasible, that may affect the decision to include the path on the bridge itself. DOT officials said more meetings were forthcoming.

School officials repeated a request for town officials to find more space to house Board of Education offices, as well as some of the district's alternative education programs.

Superintendent Alan Bookman said having the alternative program in town saves about $1 million per year, and the larger space would save an additional $700,000. Bookman said that although it is not known what the renovation of the Academy building would cost, not paying to lease office space would add to the savings. “Financially, it makes all good sense to do this,” he said.

In a late-summer marathon classic, the Glastonbury Parks and Rec. men's softball championship was decided when Angelico’s OTB/Terry’s Custom Jewelry prevailed over Monaco Ford after a four-hour, best-of-three (all three games were needed) series played back-to-back-to-back at Academy Field. The teams scored a total of 109 runs.

Angelico’s/Terry’s Coach Jonathan Bronzi said the two teams usually produce even higher scores. “I would term these games ‘low-scoring,’” he said. “The first time we played them, I think we beat them 42-38 [in one game].”

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