November 8, 2013 01:10PM
By LESLIE ROVETTI
Sun Staff Writer
STONINGTON — Everyone who lives or works in Pawcatuck, owns property there or who just cares about its future is invited to attend First Selectman Edward Haberek Jr.’s Ice Cream and Issues meeting in downtown Pawcatuck on Monday at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at Mel’s Downtown Creamery, 37 West Broad St., which Haberek described as a successful downtown business.
The meeting, which will also be a joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Board of Police Commissioners, Economic Development Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission, will continue a discussion about Pawcatuck that started at a police commission meeting in April. At that time, Haberek discussed strategies for dealing with what some residents have said is increasing crime in downtown Pawcatuck. He is now looking for feedback on tactics that were employed by the police over the summer, such as increasing reserve officers downtown on weekends.
Members of the Economic Development and Planning and Zoning commissions, along with Town Planner Keith Brynes, will be there to answer questions about zoning in the downtown area, flags and sandwich boards in front of businesses, and parking.
Joe Bragaw, director of the Public Works Department, will discuss plans for tree trimming downtown that have been proposed by Connecticut Light & Power and the town.
Haberek described the utility’s plans as “radical,” and said the town is proposing an alternate plan that would keep its tree-lined streets while still protecting power lines during future storms.
Leanne Theodore, from the town’s Department of Human Services, will discuss the department’s social service outreach in Pawcatuck. The police administration has also been invited.
Haberek said comments about crime in Pawcatuck have been heating up lately on social media. There was some talk of a fistfight, and a cash register was stolen from a Pawcatuck restaurant. “There’s been some minor incidents,” Haberek said.
In the past, residents have also complained of house and car break-ins, public drinking, drug use and loitering.
But there’s also good news, Haberek said. Some new businesses have opened downtown, and the area’s aesthetics are improving.
The meeting will be an opportunity for residents and business owners to speak directly with town decision makers.
Because of the limited space at Mel’s, only a few members of each board will be present, but all will be represented.
Mel’s Downtown Creamery is donating a portion of ice cream sales during the meeting to a Pawcatuck charity. The charity will likely be the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Haberek said.
Nonperishable food items for the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center’s food pantry will also be collected at the meeting.