‘We’re go­ing to see some shov­els on the ground’

A year of trans­for­ma­tion ahead for town, says first se­lect­man

Stamford Advocate - - News - By Ly­nan­dro Sim­mons

DARIEN — With sev­eral de­vel­op­ments look­ing to break ground as early as spring, the town has a year of big changes ahead.

That was the theme of First Se­lect­man Jayme Steven­son’s Wed­nes­day morn­ing State of Darien ad­dress, in which she de­scribed 2019 as a “year of trans­for­ma­tion.” Steven­son was joined by lo­cal busi­ness own­ers and mem­bers of the Darien Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“In 2019 I think we’re go­ing to see some shov­els on the ground,” Steven­son said.

With the re­cent ap­proval of the down­town re­de­vel­op­ment project dubbed the Corbin Project, sev­eral de­vel­op­ment projects are planned to begin this year.

“Many of the things hap­pen­ing in and around Darien are be­cause of in­cred­i­ble part­ners like Bay­wa­ter Prop­er­ties, the Palmer fam­ily, and Fed­eral Realty who are chang­ing the face of the town of Darien,” Steven­son said.

Along with these re­de­vel­op­ments, the town, Fed­eral Realty and Palmers will col­lab­o­rate to han­dle one of Darien’s ma­jor prob­lems — flood­ing.

“We’re go­ing to kick that off in the town and put in a large in­fil­i­tra­tion sys­tem in our com­muter park­ing lot ad­ja­cent to the de­pot,” Steven­son said, adding that fu­ture re­de­vel­op­ment projects will in­clude flood mit­i­gat­ing fea­tures.

Along with the com­mer­cial re­de­vel­op­ments, the town is tak­ing on some ren­o­va­tion projects of its own. The Pear Tree Beach Build­ing Com­mit­tee is cur­rently work­ing on up­grades to the beach, while a build­ing com­mit­tee for the re­de­vel­op­ment of Ox Ridge Ele­men­tary School has also been formed.

“We’re look­ing at bring­ing into our build­ing projects an el­e­ment of sus­tain­abil­ity,” she said, adding dis­cus­sion­son best prac­tices for school se­cu­rity are also be­ing held.

At the state level, Steven­son said she was ex­cited for newly elected Gov. Ned La­mont.

“Ned La­mont is go­ing to bring his busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence to the state of Con­necti­cut,” she said. “He’s also from Fair­field County so he un­der­stands the uniquess of where we live.”

Dur­ing the ad­dress, res­i­dents asked about Ox Ridge, which has been re­named as High­land Farm.

“It’s open for pub­lic pas­sive use now,” Steven­son said. “You will see some parks pro­gram­ming be­gin­ning in the spring.”

Darien Toy Box owner Bill Jensen also brought up one of the long-dis­cussed po­ten­tial town projects: a com­mu­nity pool.

“I know there was some­thing dis­cussed for Weed Beach, then the high school and mid­dle school,” Jensen said.

Steven­son said there are peo­ple who sup­port a pool, but oth­ers don’t; with­out a gen­eral con­sen­sus, the town doesn’t be­lieve it can get the Board of Fi­nance to back the idea.

“We have to set pri­or­i­ties on spend­ing,” she said. “Un­for­tu­nately that one hasn’t risen to the top yet. I re­ally do hope that one day soon where com­fort­ably enough fi­nan­cially to make that in­vest­ment.”

Ly­nan­dro Sim­mons/Hearst Con­necti­cut Me­dia

First Se­lect­man Jayme Stevenon was joined by busi­ness own­ers and town res­i­dents for her an­nual ‘State of Darien’ ad­dress on Tuesday.

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