CHESHIRE — With 2020 finally in the rear-view mirror, Town Manager Sean Kimball is excited to start the new year.
However, moving forward means acknowledging how much residents have gone through in the past 12 months.
“It’s been a really long year for us. We’ve had to deal with multiple emergencies at once and residents have dealt with a lot, financially and socially,” Kimball said. “But the fundamental work of local government has, for better or for worse, continued in order to make sure residents are able to access what they need.”
When the pandemic first reached Connecticut, no one knew how long the crisis would last, but Kimball and his team decided early on that it was important to keep critical facilities open for use.
“(We’ve) tried to keep as much as we could open. In some ways, we’ve continued to get things done despite the pandemic,” he said. “We set out the goal to not only respond to the pandemic, but to also continue to plan for the future. We’ve remained focused on everything.”
While many local businesses have had to adapt services due to the pandemic restrictions, Kimball is confident the town will recover.
“It’s no doubt that our businesses have struggled this year,” he said. “But we are resilient, and many businesses, especially our restaurants, have really done everything they can to stay open and accommodate the safety requirements.”
Town services, for the most part, have remained open in some capacity since the start of the pandemic.
“The return of full in-person town services will have to depend on many things,” Kimball said. “We are excited that the vaccine is here and we are rolling it out in the next few weeks. Hopefully, once more people become vaccinated, we will have a better sense of how to open certain things again, but all of our Town services are available in some capacity (either online or by phone) now.”
He is enthusiastic about upcoming town projects, including Bartlem Park South and the continuing work of the School Modernization Committee.
“The Bartlem Park project is very exciting and we are starting to see what some residents would like to see on that property,” Kimball added. “The SMC is working very hard to update Cheshire’s schools, and they have been meeting regularly to try to get the schools on track, and those meetings have been very productive.”
In Kimball’s most recent town manager’s report, he outlines what he envisions is next for the school project.
“The next steps will include the consultants and staff incorporating the public’s feedback as best as possible into a draft preferred master plan concept to be presented to the Town Council in the coming months,” he wrote.