First Selectman's Report - April 26, 2024

Sunny Side Cafe - Now Open in Colchester, CT on South Main Street
Sunny Side Cafe - Now Open in Colchester, CT

Town Hall & Senior Center Natural Gas Line

Work is underway now to connect the natural gas line to the Town Hall and the new Senior Center this week. They will be working on this project over the next two weeks, including weekends. As a result, the Mill Street entrance to Town Hall will be closed, as will a portion of Mill Street. We expect closures to continue through the end of next week.

Utility Work at Colchester Town Hall and Senior Center for Natural Gas Installation

Public Works Summer Plans

On Thursday, Public Works Director Joe Leone will present plans for summer work around town to the Board of Selectmen including paving plans and management for the repainting of the Elmwood Heights water tower. Stay tuned next week for more info or tune in to the May 2 Board of Selectmen meeting at 7:00 PM in-person or via Zoom.

Use of Deadly Force Incident

On Wednesday, the State of Connecticut Office of Inspector General released a preliminary status report regarding the Use of Deadly Force by the Colchester Police Department on April 18, 2024 resulting in the death of Jared Michael Billard. The full preliminary status report regarding the incident, including body camera footage can be found here.

Memorial Day Parade

On Sunday May 26th, Colchester will hold its annual Memorial Day Parade. The Parade is a community effort, and the local groups are encouraged to participate to make this event a success. The parade committee expects to have several military units represented. This includes the Army National Guard 1109th TASM-G, U S Navy, US Marine Reserve, US Coast Guard and the Air Force Reserve.

The theme of this year’s Parade will be Battle of Anzio and the Medal of Honor award presented to William Johnston who was awarded it as a result of his efforts in this historic battle. Many other of our local WWII veterans were part of this historic battle.

The Colchester Parade Committee will again award prizes for the best volunteer marching unit, best float meeting this years parade theme and most creative float.

Click the link below for a parade application and send it to [email protected] or drop it off at the First Selectman’s office at Town Hall in Room 201 by May 1, 2024.

Recreation Needs & Coordination Ad-Hoc Committee

Last week, the Board of Selectmen finalized its charge to our new committee tasked with helping to plan for the future of Colchester recreation. The new group will hold its first meeting at Town Hall in Room 2 on Wednesday, May 1 at 7:00 PM. Their charge is listed below:

1. Identify all recreation assets, including fields, trails, parks, etc in Town

2. Identify recreation assets that the Town may want to plan for in the future

  • Examine proposals for Bacon Academy athletic complex and make prioritized recommendation
  • Consider pros, cons, financial costs, and evaluate public support for artificial turf vs grass fields

3. Identify recreation opportunities that currently exist and possible ideas for the future

4. Develop recommendation on a coordination mechanism for scheduling use of recreation assets maintained by Town and Schools, particularly fields

Budget Workshop

On Wednesday, the Board of Finance held its second budget workshop - this time focusing on the Town/Board of Selectmen budget. Budget requests were presented in further detail regarding the Fire, Police, First Selectman, HR Finance, Assessor, Tax Collector, and Town Clerk Department budgets. Powerpoints regarding the Fire and Police presentations are available here. The full meeting can be viewed online here.

The next budget workshop will be held May 6th.

Colchester Senior Center Award

Colchester Senior Center was selected for a Program of Excellence award by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) for a program we held during National Senior Center Month. This is a prestigious achievement for our center, as only six centers are selected throughout the nation annually. Congratulations to Colchester Senior Center, including Senior Center Director Patty Watts.

Colchester Baseball Softball League Opening Day

On Sunday, Colchester Baseball Softball League held their opening day ceremony for both baseball and softball. Players and spectators assembled at R1 to welcome this year’s teams, hear the national anthem, and to watch ceremonial first pitches be thrown out before the games began. I appreciated the opportunity to throw out the pitches this year as First Selectman! I want to thank all of the volunteers who helped prep ahead of the opening games and wish the players and their families a fun season ahead!CBSL Opening Day - First Selectman Bernie Dennler

Business Spotlight: Sunny Side Cafe

Greetings from Sunny Side Cafe! Located at 467 South Main Street, Sunny Side held their grand opening on Thursday at the former home of Tim’s Bistro. Congratulations to Jimmy and Vicky on their grand opening. I enjoyed a great bacon egg and cheese Thursday morning, but I've got my eye on the delicious looking desserts for my next visit. Looking forward to what the future holds for this great new Colchester business! Stop by and check it out!

Sunny Side Cafe at grand opening with crew and Colchester First Selectman Bernie Dennler

Bernie Dennler
First Selectman
Town of Colchester, CT