What's ahead for Suffield in 2014

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Suffield - posted Wed., Jan. 15, 2014
Contributed
A rendering of the proposed changes to Kent Memorial Library. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

With the new year already underway, the town of Suffield’s economic and community development director says that things are already in motion on various projects for 2014.

Further library improvements
In 2014, the town will be finalizing the design ideas for making Kent Memorial Library handicapped-accessible, as per ADA requirements. According to Patrick McMahon, director of economic and community development, the town has secured a majority of the required funding. The project itself will cost somewhere around $1.2 million. McMahon said that the plan is to bid out for the work over the winter, choose a builder and begin construction this year.

Hilltop Farm and Babbs Park
The Friends of the Farm at Hilltop were able to purchase “Parcel B” of the property located on Mapleton Avenue in September of 2013. The town will now be seeking a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant for assistance in the progress of this historic location. 
The town will also be seeking such a grant for the work to be done on Babbs Park. “The application is due in April and we will be seeking $250,000 for each project,” said McMahon. Citizens Restoring Congamond (CRC), which leases the Babbs property from the town, will continue to hold its summer concert series.

Improvements at Suffield Housing Authority
“We will be pursuing a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant for improvements to our Suffield Housing Authority property on Bridge Street,” said McMahon. Improvements needed at this location include making two more units handicapped-accessible and a roof replacement, amongst other things.

Bridge Street School
A decision was made to install a temporary heating system to Bridge Street School in order to preserve it and protect its interior. “The Board of Selectman are deciding what additional improvements should be made in the short term, and what the long-term plan for the building will be,” said McMahon. There was a special meeting of the Board of Selectman scheduled for Jan. 16 to discuss Bridge Street School’s future.

New design for town website
Starting with the new year, the town has updated its town website. Though the address is the same (www.suffieldtownhall.com), the look is completely new and different. The first thing site visitors will notice is how the page highlights photographs of some of the many things Suffield has to be proud of - namely its agricultural heritage and small-town feel. Upcoming meetings are listed right in the center of the page, and drop-down tabs at the top of the site allow access to every department in town. The town is still seeking feedback on the site.

Suffield Chamber of Commerce
The Suffield Chamber of Commerce has also updated its website, www.ctchamber.org, providing enhanced business listings. The Chamber is also pursuing a program called “iSuffield,” which will provide video monitors in a few locations in town that will have rotating news about events and local businesses. The prototype has already been installed at Highland Park Market. The new Suffield Chamber website will be offering its members built-in marketing tools (Business Directory Listing) and the opportunity to plug in to new social media (Chamber Plus+).


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