PLAINVILLE – A lot happened this year from several new businesses opening to a big turnout for the third year of the increasingly popular PumpkinFest.
Here are the biggest stories the Citizen reported on in Plainville in 2017.
The old Confetti restaurant on Farmington Avenue renovated into a tap room and coffee shop hybrid. Owner Peter Lemnotis closed Confetti to accomodate JV’s Taproom with wood-fired pizza and craft beers, and Rebel Dog Coffee Co., with nitro and cold brew coffees.
The Town Council dealt with a difficult personnel issue after an internal investigation revealed that a Plainville Police sergeant reportedly stole prescription pills from the scene of a drug overdose. The sergeant was fired in February.
Plainville High School announced plans to change the school’s class schedule for the next year to offer more flexibility and reduce scheduling conflict. The Board of Education approved the new four-day rotation schedule to replace the current eight-day rotation.
The state Department of Public Health started water testing after the town manager received more than 120 complaints since the beginning of the year. Complaints were mainly about the taste, smell and impact of the water on fixtures.
A 64-year-old hiker missing for three days was found dead by police off the Metacomet trail. Town and state police searched the trail down to Farmington. His death was later ruled a suicide.
Plainville voters passed a $23 million general government budget and a $35.5 million school budget in referendum. The Town Council delayed setting the mill rate until June due to uncertainty from the state.
The Plainville Coalition for Positive Youth Development held a community forum at the middle school to discuss substance abuse. The discussion focused on the nationwide opioid epidemic. Jonathan Coe, assistant principal at Plainville High School, explained that the school stresses prevention, including how to recognize warning signs.
The popular downtown eatery 50 West on West Main Street re-opened after a brief stint as noodle restaurant Bob Ramen.
Police investigated a former special education teacher at Plainville High School who was featured in a video released by an organization called Prey on Predators, POP, allegedly meeting with someone he believed to be an underage male. The teacher was placed on administrative leave and later resigned.
The new Gold Star monument was revealed in Veterans Park after the annual Memorial Day Parade. Resident Bob Doolittle, an Air Force veteran during the Vietnam era, brought the idea to the Town Council and the monument was later created and placed in the park.
Residents voted in referendum to approve a $25.2 million renovation project at Wheeler Elementary School and paving at Plainville High School. A security vestibule, new air conditioning units, a new entrance, expanded parking, and a new roof were included in the renovate-as-new plan for the elementary school.
Plainville Pizza re-opened after six years at the former Red Zone Bar and Grill on West Main Street where the pizza place had originally opened in 1998.
Martel Music,which sells instruments and offers lessons, opened on Whiting Street in a space that was previously a real estate office.
At the end of the month the Plainville High School class of 2017 graduated on the school’s turf field. Memories and plenty of school spirit were all shared by members of the class before they received their diplomas.
Residents voiced opposition at a town meeting to include neighborhoods and Tomasso Nature Park as part of the plan to close the gap in the Plainville-Southington section of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The park curator said the future of the wildlife could be endangered. The park was later removed from the plans.
Over a thousand runners and walkers participated in the 10th annual Petit Family Foundation Road Race, sponsored by Chip’s Family Restaurant, at Plainville High School. The race marked a decade since state Rep. William Petit’s wife Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and daughters Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit, were killed in a home invasion in Cheshire. The race is held annually in their memory.
Hundreds gathered at Norton Park for the 33rd annual Balloon Festival. After record turnout in 2015, changes were made last year to accomodate the growing crowds. People waited in line Friday night for a tethered balloon ride and later watched fireworks.
Wheeler Elementary School students started school for the last time before construction was set to begin on the renovation project. Kindergarteners entering the school for the first time will experience an updated school by the time they are in third grade, according to the plan.
A film crew took over J. Timothy’s Taverne on New Britain Avenue as the Travel Channel shot scenes for a future episode of Food Paradise. Food Paradise focuses on “must-stop” establishments offering unique dining experiences across the country. The restaurant, known for its wings, was previously featured on Food Network, Buzzfeed and Thrillist.
Modified championship racer Ted Christopher, a Plainville native, was killed when the plane he was in crashed in North Branford. His wife was former Plainville Town Councilor Quinn Christopher. They had recently moved to Southington.
Over 2,500 people enjoyed the 3rd annual PumpkinFest in downtown Plainville. New entertainment and better weather drew bigger crowds. A $7,000 for check from the festival proceeds was later presented to the Plainville Community Fund making it the most money raised in three years.
Republicans kept the majority on the Town Council after incumbent Kathy Pugliese received the highest number of votes and kept her position as chairwoman of the council. Incumbents Scott Saunders (R), Deb Tompkins (R), Rosemary Morante (D) and Christopher Wazorko (D) all were re-elected. Newcomers Ty Cox (R) and Jess Gnazzo (D) joined the council.
The 25th tree lighting was held on a new night, Friday, with an extended holiday stroll. Despite a winter storm, people still attended the weekend long events downtown.
The Town Council agreed to adopt a tax levy of 2.3 percent mills to help regain $1.9 million in reduced state aid. Homeowners with a house valued at $178,650, assessed at $125,055, will see a tax increase of $94.