January 16, 2022

Three Shows On View at Lyme Art Association; ‘Deck the Walls’, “Hands on the Land,’ ‘Polly Seip Solo Show’

‘Harvest Moon’ by Del-Bourree Bach in acrylics is one of the featured works in the ‘Deck the Halls’ show on view at Lyme Art Association.

OLD LYME — There are currently three shows on view at Lyme Art Association (LAA.)

The signature show is the LAA’s perennially popular holiday art exhibition and sale, Deck the Walls, which is on view through Jan. 2, 2022. More than 200 original works of art by member artists will be on display and priced to sell as holiday gifts. Deck the Walls features a wide variety of appealing subjects and tends toward smaller, less expensive works.

Concurrently with Deck the Walls, an exhibition reflecting on the impact of humans on the local landscape will be on view. This show titled Hands on the Land is a collaboration with the Connecticut River Museum and was previously on view there.

A third show, the Polly Seip Solo Show, is also on view. Polly Seip won the first prize in the 2019 Associate Artists Show, and received the opportunity to present a solo show. Her luminous nocturnes are especially noteworthy.

‘Slate-Colored Junco’ by Bivenne Staiger reflects the wintry theme of the ‘Deck the Halls’ show.

“For Deck the Walls, the Lyme Art Association features a wide variety of appealing subjects at affordable prices that are great for holiday shopping. We hope to help solve those gift giving dilemmas – a beautiful piece of artwork is always appreciated!” says Jocelyn Zallinger, Gallery Manager.

“During the holiday season, the Lyme Art Association is a great place to come for a gentle activity for children on school vacation or for visiting guests. Whether you have a few minutes or more than an hour, the gallery is a wonderful way to decompress, stimulate conversation, or simply enjoy yourself,” comments Laurie Pavlos, Executive Director.

‘Winter Light’ by Caleb Stone is another of the signature paintings in the ‘Deck The Walls’ show.

The LAA is free and open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment.

The LAA is located at 90 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, at the corner of Halls Road. Call 860-434-7802 for more information, or visit www.lymeartassociation.org.

Phoebe’s BookCellar Hosts Holiday Book Sale Today

OLD LYME — Phoebe’s BookCellar at the Old Lyme-Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library hosts its annual Holiday Book Sale Saturday, Nov. 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kick off this year’s holiday season by choosing books as gifts and supporting your local library at the same time!

There will be gift quality books and puzzles on sale in the library’s 1898 Reading Room. Meanwhile, all books, CDs and DVDs will be half-price or less in the BookCellar. Historic maps are excluded from the sale.

All proceeds benefit the Library.

There will be books from all genres –from Children’s and Young Adults to Art and Photography, the Classics, History and Biography, as well as small gift books and large coffee table books. There is also a large collection of first edition hardcover books, many with protective mylar covers.

For more information about the library or questions about the sale, call 860-434-1684 or visit  www.oldlyme.lioninc.org.

Thanksgiving Food Drive Continues Today, Benefits Lyme-Old Lyme Families in Need

Sorting the food donated during the Food Drive is a Herculean task organized by LYSB Director Mary Seidner (center) in photo and assisted by Leslie Massa (right) and Arleen Sharp (left). File photo by B. Groth.

Old Lyme Police and Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) are holding the final day of their Thanksgiving Food Drive TODAY from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old Lyme Marketplace near the Big Y.

All food donated will be forwarded to the Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau for distribution to families in need.

Food will also be given to stock the mini-pantries at Lymes’ Senior Center and the Town of Old Lyme Social Services.

After local needs are met, all remaining food is given to Shoreline Soup Kitchens.

Arleen Sharp (left) and Leslie Massa continue their sorting efforts. File photo by B. Groth.

Donations of non-perishable food can be taken directly to the Old Lyme Police Department at 294 Shore Rd., or to LYSB at 59 Lyme St. between Nov. 15 and  Nov. 19.

Families in need of food should contact LYSB at www.lysb.org/holidaygiving or 860-434-7208.

BREAKING NEWS: Griswold Withdraws Proposal Prior to Meeting: Letter to the Editor: HRIC Chairman Invites Questions, Comments From Public on Halls Rd. Village District Application; Old Lyme Zoning Hearing Monday

UPDATED: 3:45PM We have just heard that Old Lyme First Selectman Timothy Griswold has withdrawn the application for the Halls Road Village District so it will no longer be on the agenda at the Zoning Commission this evening. 

To the Editor:

Schematic of proposed Halls Road Village District taken from application for same to Old Lyme Zoning Commission.

Creating a Village District is a complex process that involves multiple stakeholders and professionals. It is intended to address the goals of the Halls Road Master Plan Report, which were based on the past three years of research surveying the people and businesses of Old Lyme.

The Old Lyme Zoning Commission’s next Public Hearing will be held Monday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. and will include the continuation of the town’s application for the new Halls Road Village District.

Now is the time to pose questions to make this new zone the best it can possibly be. These can be sent ahead of the hearing to the zoning commission and/or in person at the meeting.  We welcome your comments, support and suggestions. Please email them to hallsroadcommittee@oldlyme-ct.gov

The rezoning application forward* that explains the reasons behind the rezoning is printed in its entirety below.

Visit this link to view the full application related to the Halls Road Village District, which has been submitted to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission.

Visit this link to view the presentation made to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission by the Halls Road Improvement Committee to support the application related to the Halls Road Village District.

Sincerely,

Edie Twining,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: i) The author is chairman of the Halls Road Improvement Committee.

ii) *For the benefit of our readers, the text below is the explanation sent the Old Lyme Zoning Commission by the HRIC to support the application to create the Halls Road Village District. 

Dear Members of the Zoning Commission,

The Town of Old Lyme is excited to submit to the Old Lyme Zoning Commission this application to create the Halls Road Village District. This application is the result of years of work by the Town’s Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) in consultation with local businesses, residents, town and civic groups, and professionals in relevant fields.

The aim of the Halls Road Master Plan (attached) is to secure the long-term viability of the town’s main retail district by a combination of improvements in the public realm, and changes in the zoning that regulates and guides the development of private parcels in the Halls Road district. The effort is intended to serve these and other needs of Old Lyme by changing the focus of development on Halls Road from isolated, car-centric, commercial-only strip centers to a walk-able, bike-able, mixed-use neighborhood that is safe and inviting, and is both more accessible to, and better integrated in form and function with, our historic civic center and arts district on Lyme Street. We believe these changes are needed to secure the town’s continued vitality, and will best serve the near-universal desire of residents to maintain the small town rural New England look and feel of Old Lyme.

Making the Halls Road area safe, inviting, and accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, and giving them an attractive connection between Lyme Street and Halls Road is chiefly a matter of public realm improvements. These improvements are a major part of the Halls Road Master Plan, but they do not, in themselves, require changes to zoning. The zoning changes are required in order to implement the over-all plan and support the long-term viability of retail on Halls Road.

The two aspects of the plan work together, and each relies on the other.

The turn away from a strip center model and toward a mixed-use village district does require zoning changes as requested in this application. Briefly, these changes include:

  • Establish a Halls Road Village District in which Lyme Street (not the current Halls Road) is the model.
    Allow mixed use in the new district. That is: allow a mix of retail, office, and residential, in which “residential” is limited to smaller-scale (e.g. apartments, condos, town houses, etc.) market-rate alternatives to the currently dominant housing stock (92% of which is single-family houses on their own lot).
  • Reduce the set-back requirements to encourage mixed-use buildings directly on Halls Road with retail on the first floor (facing Halls Road) and office or residential above and/or behind.
  • Relax the older parking requirements that encouraged maximal parking lots, and promote parking behind new buildings that face Halls Road.
  • Establish Design Guidelines and a design review process for the Village District to ensure new development and renovations advance the long-term goals of making Halls Road visually and functionally an integrated part of an extended town center based on historic Lyme Street.

Mixed Use
The introduction of mixed use in the new Halls Road Village District is a key part of the Halls Road Master Plan, and promotes the shared goals of Old Lyme on multiple levels.

Mixed use as proposed for Halls Road directly addresses a critical shortage of smaller-scale housing options in town, and places that housing in a village environment that is particularly attractive to older residents wanting to downsize, and to young families moving into town or just starting out in life. By making it possible for older residents to stay in town when they downsize, we keep friends together and support a community with deep connections. Younger families are the future of our town. They are the backbone of our all-volunteer support systems, including the OLFD, and their children are the whole purpose of our excellent schools. Without younger families, all of these institutions will wither.

Mixed use also helps to improve the general business climate of the town and of Halls Road in particular. Retail trade is under severe pressure from the Internet. There is increasing dis-investment in retail malls and little interest in retail investments generally. One type that does still draw investment is retail embedded in a mixed-use neighborhood, where foot traffic and casual browsing help bolster trade. Mega-malls tried to imitate a village setting but they failed. It turns out a neighborhood needs actual neighbors if it is to support local retail trade. It is not just the foot traffic, but the ambience of a vibrant living neighborhood that makes a retail area an interesting place to walk, browse, and meet one’s friends. That is the goal for the Halls Road Village District, and mixed use is a crucial part of that aim. Over time, the Halls Road Village District should become a living neighborhood with a mix of retail, office and residential—a walk-able retail town center that complements the civic and arts district centers on Lyme Street and connects with them seamlessly.

Mixed use supports our retail trade, but it is also beneficial in an indirect way. None of the hoped-for changes in retail or housing along Halls Road can come about until private investors are willing to create them. It is true that investors are more likely to invest in the kind of town-focused retail space that serves Old Lyme if that retail is in a mixed-use neighborhood, but residential building is still more attractive in the current economic climate than retail space. We think it is important to account for this in the new zoning by, for example, mandating a minimum of retail construction on Halls Road frontage. With the current commercial-only zoning, Halls Road is primarily attractive to businesses focused on the highway, not the needs of Old Lyme. Allowing mixed use will help to attract the kinds of investments we want, creating competition for the limited space. Clear zoning and Design Guidelines will also help to attract the kinds of investments we want, and discourage those we do not want. People in business like certainty. Clear planning, zoning, and design guidelines can give them that.

In addition to its direct benefits, mixed use in the Halls Road Village District will add much-needed variety to the housing stock and new tax revenues to the town without increasing sprawl across the remaining open land elsewhere in town.

The goal is to create, over time, an attractive streetscape of shops and restaurants/cafes that encourage residents and visitors to stroll, browse, and meet their friends. When people park once and walk it is better for business, builds community, and helps the environment. What Halls Road lacks today, and what the Halls Road Village District is intended to supply, is a sense of place that says “Old Lyme.”

Mixed use of the type proposed:

  • Creates a significantly more supportive environment for town-focused retail trade. (Crucial in the fast-changing economy.)
  • Makes a gesture at balancing our mix of housing stock.
  • Directly benefits two un-served housing markets (vital to Old Lyme):
  • Older residents downsizing (community continuity)
  • Young families starting out (town future: schools, fit volunteers)
  • Attracts investment in town-focused retail, as well as small-scale residential. 
  • Encourages what we want, which helps to forestall getting what we do not want.
  • Supports the most likely path to a wider range of retail to serve the town.
  • Creates a real, living town center that looks, acts, and feels like Old Lyme.
  • Gains new housing stock and tax revenues without sacrificing rural open space.

Public Realm Improvements 

The proposed public right-of-way roadway and sidewalk improvements (see attached Master Plan) will create safe pedestrian and bike routes along Halls Road from Neck Road (Rte. 156) to Lyme Street. Pedestrian lighting, landscaping, open green spaces, sidewalks, and crosswalks are all a part of the improvements the town will undertake. The plan also includes the most popular element suggested in town-wide surveys conducted in 2019: a new replacement for the old ‘Bow Bridge.’ This biking and walking bridge will span the Lieutenant River at the old bridge abutment, creating a safe and beautiful connection between Lyme Street and our main commercial district on Halls Road. Work on these improvements will begin as soon as the town secures funding and the required regulatory approvals.

Private Property Improvements 

The actual building and maintaining of a vibrant new Halls Road (commercial and/or residential) will be initiated and carried through by private investors and business people. The town can only open opportunities, provide guidance, and set limits; it cannot initiate in these areas. We hope to achieve a significant change, recreating a mixed-use town center for Old Lyme. That means responding to market forces and guiding development along Halls Road into the avenues that seem best for Old Lyme’s long-term future. 

An illustrative plan was drawn up to show how Halls Road could be redeveloped to reflect community priorities and desires for this area. It is just an example of how new private investments could play out over the next 20 years. To allow this type of development to occur, new Village District zoning is needed to allow and attract retail and residential investment, and to no longer require the deep set-backs and large parking lots that favored strip centers. The zoning that once attracted strip centers now disproportionately favors investments aimed primarily at serving highway traffic (e.g. gas stations and fast food chains). 

The town has said for decades it does not want Halls Road to be dominated by highway services. New zoning is required to address that. In addition, the 2020 Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) states that visual details such as adequate buffering and landscaping, appropriate architecture, preservation of natural site features and vistas are among the critical components of the look and feel of Old Lyme, yet there are no regulations in place mandating attention to such details except in the Sound View Design District. The proposed zoning changes are intended to address these community concerns in the Halls Road area. 

The Master Plan was used as a tool to help in writing new zoning language and design guidelines. In the new zoning, cluster housing, town houses, and second-story apartments will help ease the severe shortage of smaller-scale housing options in Old Lyme, and help turn a “9-to-5, commercial-only” area into a living neighborhood with mixed use—as Lyme Street was before the 1960s. The primary goals of the new Halls Road Village District zoning and Design Guidelines are to keep and attract the kinds of amenities that serve the needs of Old Lyme, and to create a look and feel in keeping with the rest of the town. The long-term goal is to create a mixed-use commercial and residential neighborhood that feels like a part of Lyme Street and the wider town of Old Lyme.

Zoning Regulations and Design Guidelines 

Two additional (new) Zoning elements are proposed to help guide the redevelopment of the Halls Road area. One is a recommendation that the Town establish a new zoning district called the Halls Road Village District. The second is the preparation of Design Guidelines to be used by a new Halls Road Design Review Committee (under the Zoning Commission) to guide the design of new buildings and sites as well as the rehabilitation of existing buildings within the Halls Road Village District.

New Zoning Regulations for the Proposed Halls Road Village District 

The proposed Halls Road Village District zoning is intended to encourage the redevelopment of this older commercial corridor in a manner that is more consistent with the architectural styles of the Historic District of Old Lyme. The proposed regulations have been written to encourage safe and healthy use of the area by providing for a mix of residential and commercial uses along or within close proximity of the road corridor to encourage walking and shopping within a village atmosphere. Further, the intent is to encourage a new mix of residential and non-residential uses within the district, and to encourage the creation of diverse housing types that are currently under-represented in Old Lyme.

Once the new and revised zoning is adopted, development in the district shall be designed to achieve the following compatibility objectives: 

  • The building and layout of buildings and included site improvements shall create a village character and streetscape environment through the placement of buildings and included site improvements to enhance the district
  • Existing and proposed streets shall be inter-connected
  • Open spaces within the proposed Village District shall reinforce the rural, riverside setting and the small-town nature of Old Lyme in form and siting
  • Locally significant features of the area, such as natural resources or sight lines of vistas from within the district, shall be integrated into the site design 
  • The landscape design shall complement the district’s landscape patterns
  • The exterior signs, site lighting, and accessory structures shall support a uniform architectural theme
  • The scale, proportions, massing and detailing of any proposed building shall be consistent. 

Design Guidelines to Supplement Zoning in the New Halls Road Village District 

In surveys and public meetings, many residents said they wanted Halls Road to be a walk-able, bike-able area with safe streets, and the feel of a real neighborhood with mixed use – a new town center. Older residents remember Lyme Street as just such a place before retail trade was deliberately moved to Halls Road. Old Lyme is one of the oldest settlements in New England, and as attached to its traditions as any small town needs to be. Traditions notwithstanding, the town has evolved over the centuries to meet changing conditions.

Most retail trade was banished from Lyme Street around 1960 and relocated to a series of strip centers with vast parking lots fronting Halls Road. Easy parking was the “must-have” of the car-centric 1950s. In exchange for more parking (and to relieve pressure on potential wastewater treatment capacity) the town broke with 250 years of community development in which commercial, residential, and civic uses had evolved together in mutually supporting roles. Something was gained, but something valuable was lost.

This is not a criticism of the people who made those decisions in the 1950s. They faced the challenges of their day, and chose the solutions that made sense then. We face different challenges. Today, the older mixed-use model seems most resilient in the face of online commerce, while strip malls fade. We must choose what makes sense now. If the specific choices seem opposites, the impulse is identical: to do what is best for Old Lyme’s future. 

Despite efforts at tasteful design, the strip centers on Halls Road have never looked like a part of Old Lyme, nor of any other New England town. The Halls Road Village District Design Guidelines will look to Lyme Street as the basic model to set the style of future development along Halls Road. We believe that functional and aesthetic improvements to the Halls Road Village District will increase its value to businesses, residents, and property owners alike.

The purpose of the Design Guidelines and design review process is to implement design standards for new or renovated buildings that will: 

  • Make sure future development in the Halls Road Village District works to make the look and feel of the district more like that of historic Lyme Street.
  • Provide prospective developers or renovators with a clear view of acceptable styles, including examples. 
  • Make clear what is not acceptable in renovations or new developments. 
  • Support and reinforce the long-term aims of the Halls Road Village District: the creation of a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood, well integrated with historic Lyme Street. 

Community Input and Process to Date 

The preparation of the Halls Road Master Plan, and of the proposed new Halls Road Village District zoning and Design Guidelines, has been guided by: 

  • Recognition of changing economic and environmental circumstances,
  • The established aims of the Town (as expressed in official planning documents), and 
  • A continuous and extensive effort to keep all stakeholders involved in planning a better future for Old Lyme’s main retail district along Halls Road. 

A more complete discussion of these elements, including a timeline, summaries of actions and findings, and pointers to additional sources is included in this document as Appendix A.

As the formal Halls Road Master Plan was completed, HRIC went back to the community to gauge support, visiting local businesses, institutions, and civic groups to present the final plan and answer any questions. This is an ongoing effort, but the response to date in dozens of sessions involving scores of individuals has been very positive, often enthusiastically so. 

Opinion seems to have evolved since the subject of change along Halls Road was first raised several years ago. Residents and other stakeholders have had time to consider the issues. Responses to the CERC survey of 2019 showed over 80% of respondents wanted some development along Halls Road, though only a minority at that time asked specifically for mixed use. Today the idea of mixed use on Halls Road has much greater and broader support, and its role in helping to achieve related aims is better understood. 

Appendix A:

Community Input and Process to Date 

The preparation of these proposed Halls Road Village District zoning regulations and Design Guidelines has been guided by: a recognition of changing economic and environmental circumstances, the established aims of the Town (as expressed in official planning documents), and a continuous and extensive effort to keep all stakeholders involved in planning a better future for Old Lyme’s main retail district along Halls Road. 

Plan of Conservation and Development 

The proposed changes address four long-standing concerns of Old Lyme’s formal planning efforts: the mix of retail trade along Halls Road, the viability of the town’s main business center, the need for greater variety in the town’s housing stock, and the over-arching concern of maintaining Old Lyme’s small-town look and feel. 

Retail:

Because Halls Road is the connector between the two halves of Exit 70 it has always been attractive to businesses focused primarily on serving the through traffic on I-95, the main route between Boston and New York. The town has always insisted that Halls Road, the town’s main shopping district, should be focused instead on the needs of Old Lyme residents (year-round and seasonal). The town has opposed any tendencies to allow Halls Road to become a mere ‘service plaza’ for travelers. From the Old Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) of 2000 and of 2020:

“Old Lyme was once an active center of transportation as passengers awaited the ferries carrying people, goods and even railroad cars across the river. With the construction of a series of ever larger bridges, there is now little need to pause in Old Lyme during journeys along the Connecticut coast. The town’s interests are focused on providing basic services and amenities for year round and summer residents and guests. It has successfully avoided any pressure to allow turnpike oriented* services such as multiple gas stations, fast food restaurants and motels. This is not an accident, but a deliberate choice.” [Old Lyme POCD 2000, page 5, paragraph 3] 

“Although Old Lyme has two exits connecting to Interstate 95, the town’s interests are focused on providing basic services and amenities for year-round and summer residents and guests. It has deliberately avoided any pressure to allow turnpike-oriented* services such as multiple gas stations, fast food restaurants and motels.” [Old Lyme POCD 2020, page 8, paragraph 3] 

*[I-95 shares the roadbed with the older (1958) Connecticut Turnpike from the New York border to Exit 76 (I-395) in East Lyme.]

Change:

Changing economic conditions are overtaking the confident language of the POCDs. Old Lyme long resisted the pressure to make Halls Road a mere service plaza for I-95, but it did so in a time when many other uses (more congruent with town aims) were competing for the same retail and commercial space. Since 2000 Internet commerce has come to dominate one retail segment after another. For goods or services that can be delivered electronically or by express truck, the Internet now offers a wider range at a lower price than any local ‘bricks-and-mortar’ retailer can hope to match. Retail that is embedded in a viable mixed-use neighborhood (with foot traffic and walk-in trade) seems best able to resist the total virtualization of retail trade. Halls Road was always attractive to highway-focused services. In these new market conditions the “commercial-only” designation makes Halls Road attractive primarily to such businesses. 

The proposed zoning changes and Design Guidelines are necessary to protect and promote the long-established aims for Halls Road set out in POCDs over multiple decades. They will help Old Lyme adapt to changing market conditions, and retain the convenience of town-focused retail trade along Halls Road. 

Housing:

The proposed changes will address another long-standing concern of the Old Lyme Planning Commission: adding much-needed variety to Old Lyme’s housing stock, 92% of which is single-family homes on their own lot. For decades, Old Lyme’s POCDs have called for the addition of alternative housing types in appropriate locations. Halls Road is an appropriate location in which to meet some of the demand for smaller-scale, market-rate housing that is not of the dominant type. 

Small Town:

The proposed zoning changes and Design Guidelines are intended to work together to ensure that Halls Road becomes more integrated with the rest of Old Lyme’s town center, both in form and in function. The aim is to create, over time, a mixed-use district that looks, acts, and feels like a living part of Old Lyme—a small town on the Connecticut shoreline. 

Halls Road Improvements Committee 

The Halls Road Improvements Committee (HRIC) was formed at the close of 2015. The initial impulse was public demand for safer pedestrian and bicycle access to the shopping district along Halls Road, and a desire to support the future commercial viability of the town’s main retail area. 

A 2015 change in Connecticut law had made it easier for towns to create Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, and that was an early focus of the HRIC. A TIF district allows a town to fund current development (such as capital improvements) in the TIF district by earmarking future property tax revenue increases there for those purposes. The creation of a TIF district requires a formal plan of development for the district, and there was none for Halls Road. Funds were allocated for the planning work. 

The improvements under consideration were not a trivial expense. Many residents objected that such a large sum should not be spent without looking more broadly at Halls Road and the various problems and opportunities it presents. Without a plan, how could we know what sort of development we wanted along Halls Road or what Halls Road should look like in 20 years, much less how the sidewalks should be laid out to accommodate that future? To build sidewalks without a plan for the future seemed unsound, so planning took precedence. 

Early in 2018 HRIC was allocated $20,000 to begin the planning process. The town hired the Yale Urban Design Workshop (YUDW), which produced very helpful baseline drawings of the existing conditions at Halls Road. YUDW also ran two public meetings intended to introduce the town to the kinds of considerations typically encountered in a planning effort. Ultimately, HRIC felt YUDW failed to grasp the small town nature of Old Lyme, offering options more appropriate to an urban than a rural setting, and so recommended the town not engage YUDW for later phases. 

The planning effort continued with local volunteer resources. During this process it became clear that Halls Road was not a project of the right scale and scope to take advantage of a TIF district, and that avenue was not pursued further. In 2018, HRIC’s volunteers produced a vision proposal for Halls Road.

In 2019 HRIC presented the vision proposal to multiple local groups, publicized it online and at the Mid-summer Festival, and held two open houses at which residents and business owners could speak one-on-one with committee members and register their opinion on specific aspects of the ideas under consideration. 

EDC and CERC:

Also in 2019, the future of Halls Road figured prominently in economic research, surveys, and workshops conducted on behalf of the town’s Economic Development Commission (EDC). The EDC engaged the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC, now AdvanceCT) to help create a picture of the economic environment of Old Lyme and its place in the surrounding region. 

As a part of that effort CERC and EDC conducted a major survey of Old Lyme residents and business owners. Nearly 10% of the adult residents and over 10% of the representatives of local businesses responded to the survey. It covered Old Lyme as a whole and broke out specific areas, including Halls Road, for particular questions. Most of the survey questions were in the form of ranking a set of attributes or aims by their importance. Respondents also had the option to provide additional comments. Among the findings were: 

  • Nearly all respondents said future development should be consistent with the small town charm of Old Lyme and reflect its particular rural New England look and feel. 
  • Over 80% wanted improvements along Halls Road, from more varied restaurants and shops to greater safety for walkers and cyclists. 
  • Businesses wanted the town to do more to encourage business, thought the town needed a proper town center, and wanted the town to encourage more young people to move here. 
  • Responses regarding housing were self-contradictory, with only one in five saying Old Lyme needed more housing, yet two-thirds saying some specific type of housing was in short supply and should be added. 
  • Similarly, few said Old Lyme needed additional green space, but when asked about Halls Road in particular, 75% said development there should include additional green space, small parks, etc. 

CERC ran two workshops with representatives of commercial property owners, local businesses, and civic groups. The workshops considered the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) relevant to Old Lyme’s future. Although the scope was town-wide, Halls Road (as the main shopping area) was a major focus. A wide variety of factors were identified and discussed, but a few stood out as areas of broader agreement. In order of their relative prominence under each heading, these were: 

  • Strengths: Good schools, artistic heritage/culture, natural beauty/location, and volunteerism/sound town finance. 
  • Weaknesses: Lack of diverse housing for younger/older residents, weak CT economy, constraints on infrastructure [presumably: wastewater/groundwater], lack of walking/biking infrastructure, no coherent plan for commercial areas (Halls Road, Hartford Ave.) 
  • Opportunities: Deliver action plan for Halls Rd./Hartford Ave., make town more connected for bike/foot traffic, diversify housing stock, change Soundview stigma, attract younger residents. 
  • Threats: Resistance to change, CT state policies, environmental change, growing competition nearby. 

There was some confusion between “weaknesses” (~internal to the town) and “threats” (~external). Despite that definition, “resistance to change” was the most commonly cited threat to Old Lyme’s future, and Connecticut’s lackluster economy accounted a weakness. 

The need for different types of housing, and its role in ensuring a viable future for Old Lyme was far more prominent in the SWOT workshop discussions than it had been in the general survey. The fact that SWOT participants were all business- and civic-oriented may help to explain why they were more aware of the issue. Also, the SWOT workshops took place after the town-wide survey and many HRIC presentations, at a time when there was increasing public discussion of possible changes to Halls Road. The idea of mixed-use along Halls Road seems to have steadily gained public support over time, and continues to do so. 

Formal Plan:

Feedback from HRIC’s town-wide presentations and interactions, and the results of EDC research provided additional direction to the planning process. 

A formal plan for Halls Road required professional experience and knowledge. A search narrowed the field to three firms who presented proposals to HRIC. Of these, BSC won the contract at a cost within the limits of the funds previously allocated for planning. At the end of 2020, the town of Old Lyme engaged BSC Group, Inc. and their sub-consultant, Bartram & Cochran, to create a Master Plan, propose Public Realm (i.e. roadway, sidewalk and public open space) improvements, and to write Design Guidelines and recommended Re-Zoning Language for a new Halls Road Village District. 

That work is now complete, and the re-zoning language and Design Guidelines are presented with this request. 

Community Support 

As the formal Halls Road Master Plan was completed, HRIC went back to the community to gauge support, visiting local businesses and civic groups to present the final plan and answer any questions. This is an ongoing effort, but the response to date in dozens of sessions involving scores of individuals has been very positive, often enthusiastically so. 

Opinion seems to have evolved since the subject of change along Halls Road was first raised several years ago. Residents and other stakeholders have had time to consider the issues. Responses to the CERC survey of 2019 showed over 80% of respondents wanted some development along Halls Road, though only a minority at that time asked specifically for mixed use. Today the idea of mixed use on Halls Road has much greater and broader support, and its role in helping to achieve related aims is better understood.

A View From My Porch: A Primer on the American Rescue Plan, What’s Happening to the Money in Old Lyme

Over the past several months, the regional media have covered American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding decisions made in several Southeast Connecticut communities. On July 26, the New London Day carried the headline, “American Rescue Plan Funding Floods Southeastern Connecticut.”

Even before that, on June 15, Old Lyme’s First Selectman Timothy Griswold reported, “The American Rescue Plan will pay the Town about $743,000, with an additional $1,419,000 share of the payment to New London County, totaling about $2,162,000.” 

I will discuss the fundamentals of ARP in this “View”; and then review the approach being taken by Old Lyme to decide how best to distribute those funds.

My objective in this essay is that readers gain some understanding of this important legislation. Note that this is not an exhaustive analysis of ARP, just what I consider the important highlights.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021 is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021. The goal of the ARPA is to “accelerate the nation’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” It is actually the sixth federal COVID relief bill passed in the last year and a half; and may be the largest, in terms of funds designated for Connecticut. 

The Plan includes $65.1 billion in direct, flexible aid to every county in the United States; and then, via the counties, additional funds to some cities, towns, and villages.

Connecticut towns and cities will receive $2.55 billion, with $1.56 billion earmarked for “general government” (i.e., vital public services), and $995 million for boards of education.

Approved Uses: The Department of the Treasury has issued guidance regarding appropriate use of these funds; and will provide continuing oversight as funds are disbursed.

Eligible uses fall into five categories:-

  1. Supporting the public health response, including mitigation and medical expenses
  2. Addressing negative economic impacts, which may include assistance to households, small businesses, and non-profits; or aid to impacted industries, like tourism, travel, the arts, and hospitality
  3. Investing in water, sewers, and broadband infrastructure 
  4. Premium pay to essential workers
  5. Replacing lost public sector revenue.

Old Lyme ARP Activities:

Old Lymes’s Board of Selectmen (BOS) has appointed a committee* charged with developing and recommending (to the BOS) an approach for the distribution of ARP funds to Old Lyme residents and businesses who have been impacted by the COVID pandemic. This committee is comprised of individuals with broad expertise in public health, business, municipal infrastructure, social services, emergency services, arts, and tourism. 

The first real “hands-on” introduction to this group by residents will be over the course of the next several weeks, when the committee conducts a survey of the impact of COVID on our community. Those survey results are very important, because they will provide a framework for an estimate of Old Lyme’s collective need, and help set priorities that will be included in the recommendation to the BOS. A funding process may then be developed and publicized.

CARES Act:

Many Old Lyme residents and business owners may have already benefited from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020 by then President Donald Trump, also for emergency relief of the economic impacts of COVID. 

CARES’ $2 trillion included one-time cash payments to eligible individuals, expanded unemployment benefits, direct payments to eligible families, and the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided grants and, “forgivable” loans to small businesses (i.e., “forgivable” when used for eligible payroll costs).

Some Final Thoughts:

Old Lyme’s ARP funds are, at present, kept in an “interest-bearing account” in a local bank. Note that those funds, including interest, must be obligated or awarded by Dec. 31, 2024.

Among regional towns and cities, Norwich received the most overall funding, nearly $30 million, followed by New London with more than $26 million. 

East Lyme, Montville, Stonington and Waterford each received more than $5 million. Lyme received $685,421.56.

A complex methodology was used to determine funding levels; I won’t try to do justice to it within the confines of this essay.

That said, the federal government used a modified version of HUD’s old Community Development Block Grant formula, with total grant size for “non-metro cities” capped at 75 percent of the municipality’s most recent budget” (i.e., as of Jan. 27, 2020). The revised formula also considered total population and the rate of local unemployment.

In closing, the Committee anticipates publicizing the survey mentioned above through the local media and other channels directly reaching residents.

*Editor’s Note: Old Lyme ARP Committee members elected the author as chairman at their first meeting.

Tom Gotowka

About the author: Tom Gotowka’s entire adult career has been in healthcare. He’ will sit on the Navy side at the Army/Navy football game. He always sit on the crimson side at any Harvard/Yale contest. He enjoys reading historic speeches and considers himself a scholar of the period from FDR through JFK.

A child of AM Radio, he probably knows the lyrics of every rock and roll or folk song published since 1960. He hopes these experiences give readers a sense of what he believes “qualify” him to write this column.

Death Announced of Henry ‘Hank’ Thomas Golet of Old Lyme; Acclaimed Nature Photographer, Tireless OL Land Trust Volunteer, Father of Nikki Berry of Lyme

Henry Thomas Golet

OLD LYME — Henry Thomas Golet, of Old Lyme, Connecticut, passed away on October 15, 2021 at the age of 84. Henry, or “Hank” as he was known to many, died peacefully at home with the sounds of birds and his water garden outside his open door.

Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Hank was the son of the late Walter “Jack” and Louise (Ryczek) Golet, and grew up in Moodus. His father worked at a local hunt club, and together with Louise raised four children, passing on strong family values and a love of the outdoors. Hank continued family traditions of amateur archeology, commercial shad fishing, and sharing the joys of the natural world with others.

Hank graduated from Nathan Hale Ray High School in 1955, where he was a star athlete and member of the Hale Ray Hall of Fame. After high school, he proudly served in the US Marine Corps, and then spent most of his working life as a lineman for Connecticut Light and Power Company. He took satisfaction in restoring power when the lines went down, as was common during New England storms.

Retiring at a young age, Hank had the ‘golden’ opportunity to pursue may of his lifetime hobbies full-time—and take on new ones. These included a mix of sports and outdoor pursuits, increasingly developing and sharing his knowledge as a naturalist and his love of nature. After years playing tennis, Hank took on road racing. His favorite event (at least in retrospect) was the Mount Washington road race. He was an age group champion several years running and held the course record for years after. He also earned a Hartford Track Club runner of the year award in 1989. More than his competitive accolades, however, Hank valued the friendships and comradery he found in the running community.

An avid explorer, whether by kayak or on foot, Hank knew the lower Connecticut River valley inside and out. He was a tireless volunteer and trail steward for the Old Lyme Conservation Trust and was well-versed in the flora and fauna of the region. He took a special interest in amphibians, butterflies, and most of all birds, building and erecting hundreds of bluebird boxes and osprey nesting platforms. He was an expert fisherman, beekeeper, garlic farmer, and blueberry grower and provided his family and friends with a steady supply of the delicious outputs.

Hank enjoyed sharing wonders of the natural world with others, whether it was the springtime display of the woodcock or the fall murmuration of swallows at Goose Island, the latter of which he was proud to introduce to his neighbor and friend Roger Tory Peterson in 1995. He used his camera to chronicle the life around him and shared his observations in slide shows focused on local wildlife and scenes from his travels.

“Hank the Birdman” as he was known to the school children of Culebra, led field trips and conducted surveys as a wildlife refuge volunteer. In sharing the wonders of the natural world, he did much to advance a conservation ethic in others, and this may be for what he is most remembered. Then again maybe it will be for the tasty honey that he made available in local markets from his beehives!

Hank is survived by his daughter Nicole Berry of Lyme, his son Gregory and wife Debbie of Chico, California, his brother Francis and wife Susan of West Kingstown, RI, his five grandsons, Bradley and Nicholas Berry, and Dylan, Ben, and Kyle Golet, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is also survived by his former spouse, Geraldine Golet, of West Dover, Vermont, and his first wife Shelley Sternicki of Eustis, Maine.

A celebration of life is being planned for the spring, with details forthcoming. Memorial contributions may be made to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute or the Old Lyme Land Trust.

Unofficial Election Results From Lyme

FIRST SELECTMAN: (Vote for one)

Steven Mattson (D): 420

Steven Mattson (Endorsed by Republicans): 157

SELECTMAN: (Vote for one)

John Kiker (D): 412

David Lahm (R): 249

BOARD OF FINANCE:  (Vote for up to two)

Bob House (D): 431

Alan Sheiness (D): 413

Bruce Anderson (R): 260

BOARD OF FINANCE ALTERNATE: (Vote for one)

Jim Miller (D): 414

Tom St. Louis (R) 239

BOARD OF ASSESSMENT APPEALS (Vote for one)

John Kiker (D): 471

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION (Vote for up to two)

Phyllis Ross (D): 404

David Tiffany (R) 348

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION ALTERNATE – FULL SIX-YEAR TERM: (Vote for one)

Ann Littlefield (D): 475

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION ALTERNATE – FULL FOUR-YEAR TERM: (Vote for one)

Frederick Gahagan (R) 367

PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION ALTERNATE – FULL TWO-YEAR TERM: (Vote for one)

Mary Stone (D): 468

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS (Vote for up to two)

Fred Harger (D): 427

David Lahm (R): 306

ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS ALTERNATE: (Vote for one)

Toni Phillips (D): 463

LIBRARY DIRECTORS: (Vote for up to two)

Mary Stone (D): 466

Laura Mooney (D): 462

REGION 18 BOARD OF EDUCATION (Vote for one)

Anna James (D): 479

Letter to the Editor: ‘Driving Doughnuts’ on Phoebe’s Front Lawn is Appalling Act of Vandalism, We Don’t Need ‘Anti-Booksters’ in Old Lyme

To the Editor: 

Have you visited the newly renovated Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library? Mostly completed by springtime, with hours and access slightly impacted by COVID; I’ll relate the reaction of my four-and-two-thirds-years-old grandson, Hunter (he’s very precise), who has been a regular, occasional visiting patron of the library for nearly two years.

“Wow! This is cool!”

Then, Phoebe’s Garden of native plants, really a small meadow, was on the Pollinator Pathway; and, I believe, the future site of a perennials’ garden. We dedicated the Witness Stones Project, recognizing some 14 African-Americans, who were once enslaved along what is now Lyme St.

Unfortunately, as we saw the landscaping plan progress into October, someone apparently just couldn’t resist driving up onto the newly hydro-seeded wet and muddy front lawn area, “doing doughnuts”, and leaving deep ruts. I can’t begin to express how I feel about that act of vandalism.

Come on, people! We’ve heard from anti-vaxxers and anti- maskers over the last few years. Is the new Old Lyme term “anti -bookster”? I can live without that, too.

Sincerely,

Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Memories of Another Happy Halloween on Lyme Street

These female Halloween characters were all members of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School Class of 2006, when their respective names were (from left to right) Kathleen Young, Liz Paonessa and Lauren Dickey. (Photos by Michele Dickey.)

It happened again … Halloween on Lyme Street, that is! It was another wonderful night and here are a few photos of a memorable night in Old Lyme.

There were pumpkins and skeletons galore all along Lyme Street …

There were spiders and webs … and bumble bees too!

As always, the Mergy’s, who own the former Christ the King Church, put on a grand display. The house was grandly decorated in depictions of Peter Pan; the animated movie showed on a large screen, Hook was there in velvet regalia, and Tiger Lily’s teepee (in the foreground) was there too.

 

Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden Seeks Businesses/Individuals to ‘Sponsor a Row’

How it all began … Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden Board Members gathered for a photo. From left to right are Jack Larocca, Jim Ward, Peter Hunt, Amy Mastrangelo, and Sheila McTigue-Ward.

OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Food Share Garden (LOLFSG) has recently initiated a Sponsor a Row campaign. For a $250 donation, a Row Sponsor will have a sign designated with their name or business name posted in the garden for the growing season.

Approximately $250 is required to plant and maintain a row every year.  This includes the plants/seeds and fertilizer in addition to fencing/supports, ground cover, irrigation, tools, compost and general maintenance.

The LOLFSG invites LymeLine readers to consider being a Row Sponsor, for this year and future years, so the goal of providing fresh healthy produce to families in need can be fulfilled.

Visit this link for more information on how to become a sponsor.

Lyme Academy Returns to its Roots with New Programs for Serious Art Students; Exhibitions, Classes for Community

The all-new Core Program at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts focuses on foundational artistic skills in drawing, painting and sculpture in the figurative tradition.

OLD LYME — The Lyme Academy of Fine Arts has officially reopened with a renewed dedication to the mission first articulated by its Founder, sculptor Elisabeth Gordon Chandler. The Academy was created in 1976 as an institution dedicated to the traditional, skills-based art education first taught in the Renaissance academies of Europe and later at Paris’s École des Beaux-Arts.

With this return to its roots, the Academy begins the academic year with the launch of a new Core Program of study for full-time students, which will commence in late September. Led by the husband and wife team of Jordan Sokol and Amaya Gurpide, who serve as Co-Artistic Directors, a dynamic new faculty of internationally-acclaimed instructors will teach students the foundational skills on which they can build a career in the fine arts.

Artistic Director and Director of Painting, Jordan Sokol (left) and newly-appointed Painting-Drawing Instructor, Hollis Dunlap — himself an alumnus of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts — working in the Southwick-Keller Studio at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.

Enrollment for the 2021-2022 academic year is now open and applications will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the academic year.

The Academy’s Core Program is comprehensive and intense: classes are conducted five days a week, from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. with weekly supplementary instruction in anatomy, sculpture, and the history of art. Landscape, still life and portraiture are included in the program, as are dedicated explorations of the properties of light and form.

Students work in custom north-lit studios, honing their technical skills through the direct observation of imported European plaster casts and live models. Intimate class sizes allow for in-studio demonstrations and individualized critiques, as well as guided museum and gallery visits. Faculty and guest lectures are regularly scheduled, many of which are open to the public.

The Core Program will run on a trimester schedule with the first (Fall) trimester beginning on Sept. 27, of this year. The cost per trimester is $3650, with scholarship opportunities available.

“We’re looking for students who want to apply themselves and work hard to grow and develop” said Sokol, himself an accomplished painter, continuing, “You’ve got to be willing to put in the thousands of hours required if you are serious about developing your talent. There are no short-cuts.”

It is anticipated that most students will study for three years, although some will pursue a shorter course of study and others longer, depending on their individual objectives and the progress they make developing their skills.

“As in the original vision for Lyme Academy, the institution will no longer confer Bachelor’s degrees. In the place of seat-time requirements for credit accumulation, students will instead focus on skill-building with an eye towards mastery, fully preparing our students for the 21st century art world,” the Academy’s Executive Director, Mora Rowe, said.

She added, “In addition to our Core Program, we are planning a full spectrum of public programming, which will include gallery openings, exhibitions, part-time classes, workshops, lectures, cultural events, and more. Our partnership with the community along with the accessibility and openness of our campus are of the highest priority.”

Lyme Academy of Fine Arts features 40,000 sq. ft. of studio and teaching space on the sprawling four-acre campus located in the heart of Old Lyme.

Two additional educational programs are currently under development. Firstly, the Academy will offer a Continuing Education program focused on students of all ages and abilities to benefit from a skills-based curriculum, with a choice of year-round study or individual classes. And secondly, a Portfolio Preparation program is also under development, which will be designed to provide a solid, skills-based visual education to develop one’s portfolio and abilities under the leadership of professional artists.

The Lyme Academy of Fine Art will host quarterly Gallery Openings beginning with the first exhibition, Memento Vivere, on Oct. 16. This invitational group exhibition will be curated by Sokol and Gurpide, and will also have the additional role of being an Inaugural Fundraiser for the Academy. The Memento Vivere exhibition, located in the Chauncey Stillman Gallery, will be open to the public from Oct. 17 through Dec. 10.

Lyme Academy is located midway between Boston and New York at 84 Lyme St. in Old Lyme, Conn. The town has been a site of artistic congregation for over a century after evolving as the heart of the Lyme Art Colony, which led to it becoming the Home of American Impressionism.

Visit this link for more information about Lyme Academy of Fine Arts or call 860.434.5232.

Desperately Seeking Drivers: National Shortage of School Bus Drivers Impacting Lyme-Old Lyme Schools

The sign says it all.

LYME/OLD LYME — Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser sent out an email Sept. 22, to the school community in which he stated, “There is a national shortage of bus drivers.”

He went on to urge, “… individuals who would like to drive for our [the company which runs the school buses for LOL Schools] bus company, M&J Bus, Inc.,” to consider applying for a position.

Neviaser linked his email to a statement from M&J Bus Inc., which reads as follows:

The Covid 19 pandemic has ravaged the school transportation industry. There is a nationwide shortage of school bus drivers and Connecticut has been hit especially hard. We are seeking potential drivers to become licensed to transport school children. We are also seeking licensed drivers, who would like to earn up to $5000 in signing bonuses.

Many of our current employees, started out driving school buses because they were parents of pre-school or school-aged children and it was a way for them to supplement their family’s income and still be with their young children.

We also have many semi-retired persons that were originally looking for part-time work to stay busy, and college students earning money to get through school. Some of those parents are still with us after 20, 30,and 40 years or more.

Sadly, many of the semi-retired are becoming the fully retired.

We are hoping you see yourself in the descriptions of our drivers above. We offer a full comprehensive training program for those who are not yet licensed. Parents can bring their pre-school aged children (and school-aged children) on the bus with them (thereby saving on day care).

If you would like to drive for the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, please call our main office in Old Saybrook CT, toll-free at
1-877-GO-MJBUS (1-877-466-5287) or, if local to Old Saybrook, at 860-388-6782.

Editor’s Note: For more information about M&J Bus, Inc., visit their website.

Letter to the Editor: Multiple Reasons to Support Halls Rd. Master Plan, Improvement Committee Commended for its ‘Thoroughness’, ‘Clarity’

To the Editor:

We are writing to express our interest and support for bringing the Halls Road Master Plan to fruition. We reviewed the Plan and had attended one of the recent information sessions.

We want to acknowledge the thoroughness of the analysis completed by the Halls Road Improvement Committee [HRIC]; and the clarity of both the recommendations and the thoughtful vision for the future.

The Plan seeks to develop Halls Road into a district that would “resemble the small-town, mixed-use neighborhood that Lyme Street was before 1960”.

We applaud the HRIC in prioritizing improvements to roadways and sidewalks required for the safety of walkers and bikers.  The team’s vision is to create pedestrian and bicycle connections amongst Old Lyme’s town center, the “Arts District”, and the proposed “Halls Road “Village District”.

We are walkers, and crossing Halls Road towards the Lyme Art Association can be very perilous. Creating this “safe and attractive pedestrian and cyclist route” will be a daunting challenge. Halls’ position between and amongst four exits and entrances to Interstate 95 North and South will require creative traffic management. Certainly, speed and traffic jams on Rt 156 and Boston Post are good barometers for issues on the interstate.

That said, we are also excited about the reconstruction of the Bow Bridge and access to some new green space along the Lieutenant River. That could provide an historic connection to, or at least a reminder of, the American Impressionists residing and working at Miss Florence’s boarding house.

In closing, we want to congratulate the team’s proposal for the creation of Design Guidelines that will help ensure that new development along Halls Road is required to go beyond the “nuts and bolts” of zoning regulations to assuring the “look and feel” is compatible with Old Lyme’s “small town feel”.

We are very glad that the team recognized that the residential aspects of the “Village District” will not only provide options for those moving into the community, but also enable older residents’ attractive opportunities to remain in Old Lyme.

It’s time to put a Halls Road, whose primary goal is to serve as an interstate service area pit stop, in our rear-view mirrors.

Sincerely,

Christina J. Gotowka and Thomas D. Gotowka,
Old Lyme.

Editor’s Note: This is a shortened version of a letter submitted by the authors to the HRIC in support of its Master Plan.

Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club Welcomes New, Current Members at Meeting Tonight

LYME/OLD LYME The Lyme-Old Lyme Junior Women’s Club (LOLJWC), which has a pending name change to Valley Shore Women’s Club, has been meeting to schedule both fundraising and community service activities.

This Thursday, Sept. 23, the club is holding a General Meeting at High Nine Brewing in Deep River. All members and potential members are welcome.

Founded as a 501(c)3 in 1965, the LOLJWC is open to all women over the age of 18 in Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Essex, Deep River, Chester and Ivoryton.

The primary mission of the club is to offer community service to each town as well as fundraise to provide scholarships for high school students. The club is always seeking additional ways to make a positive difference in its respective communities. 

Seeking Members

The club is seeking new members. Participation can be flexible based upon individual availability. General members meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month. For more information on how to join, visit the LOLJWC website.

Upcoming events – “in the works”

LOLJWC is planning a number of events which are listed below. For up-to-date information, follow LOLJWC on Facebook at this link.

September:

  • 23, at 7 p.m. General Meeting, 
  • 26, at 1 p.m. Road Side Trash Pick-up meet at Quality Inn, Old Saybrook

October:

  • 21, at 7 p.m. General Meeting
  • 30 or 31– Community Pumpkin carving – to be determined
  • Enter a Scarecrow in Essex Annual Scarecrow Contest

November:

  • 14, – Participant at High Hopes Craft Fair Old Lyme
  • 18 at 7 p.m. General meeting create holiday cards for the elderly  
  • 26, – Green Friday, planting bulbs at Cross Lane Playground

Melissa Fournier Named Director at Lyme Public Library

The new director of Lyme Library is Melissa Fournier.

LYME — The board of the Lyme Public Library has announced that Melissa Fournier has been named as its new Library Director.

According to a press release issued by the library, Fournier, who will take up her new position in early October, will lead the way in helping the library accomplish its goals of providing innovative programming, services, and collection development.

Fournier sees the Library Director’s role as impacting the entire community, commenting, “My goals would include expanding the reach of the library.”

She is no stranger to libraries, as she has managed several in the public, private, and corporate sectors for more than two decades. With extensive expertise in library restoration and renovation, Fourier enjoys creatively evolving library spaces to improve service to their patrons.

She holds a BFA in design from Pratt Institute in communications design and a MLS from Simmons College in library and archives management. She loves creating library programs that serve patrons from infants to seniors and has won a nationally-recognized award for such work.

Fournier explains, “I feel I can bring my skills to the Lyme Public Library to expand programming for children by working closely with the local elementary school by focusing the library’s programs to work hand-in-hand with helping children to build their understanding of the core curriculum skills they are learning at school.”

She also sees opportunities to create fun and informative programs for older children and adults.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Fournier both understands and loves the Lyme area. A devoted mother to
two adult children, she enjoys reading, drawing, painting, and lively conversations.

“Melissa has a lot to offer our library,” says Jack Sulger, chair of the Lyme Public Library Board of Directors, adding, “I’m certain she will do great things. We look forward to seeing the positive changes she has in store for us.”

The board encourages residents to come to the library and meet Fournier starting in early October.

The library is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 8 pm, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm The library is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

For more information, visit the Lyme Public Library website or call 860-434-2272.

Halls Road Improvement Committee Seeks Letters of Support for Project to Use in Village District Rezoning Application

The view looking up Halls Road today. The HRIC Master Plan Report offers a vision for its future.

OLD LYME — The Halls Road Improvement Committee (HRIC) is asking local residents and interested parties, who support the Halls Road Master Plan Report compiled by the BSC Group, to indicate their support by submitting a letter to Town Hall.

Edie Twining, HRIC Chair, explains that the committee is hoping that a substantial show of support will be generated in this way. She says, “This will then be used for both the HRIC rezoning application to create a Halls Road Village District as well as in upcoming HRIC grant applications.”

A sample letter is printed below, which can be printed, signed, and mailed to Town Hall at the address shown. Supporters are naturally welcome to compose their own letters and mail them to the same address.

Twining notes, “The HRIC has also met with many local organizations and businesses to walk through the Master Plan findings and answer questions one-on-one. Committee members have enjoyed great support from everyone they have met with.”

She adds, “The committee is ready and willing to continue this presentation process for any groups looking for more information.”

Editor’s Note: Here is the sample letter:

Support for Halls Road Master Plan

Halls Road is our town’s main retail/commercial center. Going forward, it should be developed with the aim of making it look, feel, and function as a pedestrian-friendly town center. It should have safe and attractive pedestrian and bicycle connections with the historic town center and ‘Arts District’ on Lyme Street. Halls Road in the future should more nearly resemble the small-town, mixed-use neighborhood that Lyme Street was before 1960.

The limited build-able land along Halls Road should be developed in such a way as to serve the particular needs of Old Lyme. Under the current commercial-only zoning, Halls Road’s location along I-95 means new investment is almost entirely limited to either chain stores (viewing Old Lyme as no more than Exit 70), or truck stops serving highway traffic. This is not what we want for Old Lyme’s future.

The current housing stock in Old Lyme is overwhelmingly (over 92%) of one kind: a single-family home on its own lot. Halls Road is an appropriate location in which to add other, smaller-scale types of market-rate housing, such as an apartment above a shop, or a condominium in a town house. These options are particularly attractive to the younger and older cohorts of current (or prospective) Old Lyme residents.

Allowing this kind of mixed-use development along Halls Road has other important advantages for the town. First: a living neighborhood with foot traffic is far better for retail trade, and helps retail businesses resist the growing competition of online commerce. A mixed-use neighborhood along Halls Road improves the chances that Old Lyme will continue to have the convenience of in-person retail shops in 2050. Second, because these housing types are currently scarce in Old Lyme, pent-up demand makes such developments highly attractive to investors. We believe developers would be willing to build some new retail and office space if it were a part of a larger mixed-use (residential and commercial) area. New investment along Halls Road will also increase the town’s tax base and revenues.

The Halls Road Master Plan Report, prepared by BSC, is a road map to these changes.

It proposes the Town design and build (with aid from available grants) a safe and attractive pedestrian and cyclist route from Lyme Street to the heart of the Halls Road district, and to make other significant improvements for the safety of walkers and bikers in the area along Halls Road.

It also proposes the creation of a Halls Road Village District that would allow mixed use to achieve the goals mentioned above. It would also allow the town to establish Design Guidelines to help ensure the “look and feel” of new development along Halls Road is more in keeping with that of historic Lyme Street.

I/We support the Town’s initiative in creating the Master Plan, and look forward to a Halls Road that will become a new, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly Town Center for Old Lyme in the Mid-21st Century.

Name____________________________________________________________________

Signed_________________________________________________      Date_____________
Organization_______________________________________________________________
 
Please return by mail to: HRIC chair Edie Twining c/o Memorial Town Hall, 52 Lyme St. Old Lyme CT 06371

Dadonna Wins Old Lyme Country Club WGA’s 9-Hole Championship, Kurlansky of Lyme is Runner-Up

Old Lyme WGA’s 18- Hole Champion (right) stands with the trophy and her caddy Carol Gordon.

OLD LYME — The Old Lyme Country Club Women’s Golf Association (WGA) held its 18- and 9-hole Club Championship play-offs, Aug. 26

The 18-hole finalists were Hollis Barry of Essex and Kacey Constable of Old Saybrook. 

The 9-hole finalists were Carolyn Daddona of Westbrook and Patty Kurlansky of Lyme. 

Old Lyme WGA’s 9- Hole Champion Carolyn Daddona (right) stands with her trophy and caddy Cathy Burnett.

Following tradition, the WGA members followed the players around the course in a caravan of golf carts.  Despite the 90+ degree heat, the women all played exceptionally well. 

The 18-hole Club Champion was Kacey Constable and the 9-hole Club Champion was Carolyn Daddona. 

A champagne toast to the victors was held on the Clubhouse deck at the end of the tournament.

Remembering Sept. 11, 2001 …

Photo by Ellen Cole.

OLD LYME — UPDATED 9/13 with additional photos. The Old Lyme Fire Department commemorated the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the United States of America that took place on Sept. 11, 2001, by flying the Stars and Stripes prominently on a fire truck parked in front of  their building on Lyme Street.

Photo by Ellen Cole.

Meanwhile, down at the Old Lyme Police Department building on Shore Rd., the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen held a ceremony at 9 a.m. recognizing the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Photo by Old Lyme Fire Department/Town of Old Lyme.

 

Photo by Old Lyme Fire Department/the Town of Old Lyme.

 

Photo by Old Lyme Fire Department/the Town of Old Lyme.

 

Photo by Ellen Cole.

Thank you to the OLFD for this poignant and so important reminder of such a tragic day and thank you to the OLPD for hosting the commemorative ceremony.

Many thanks also to Ellen Cole for sending us the OLFD photos and also to the Old Lyme Fire Department/Town of Old Lyme for those taken at the ceremony at the OLPD.

Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition Needs Community Input, Asks Readers to Take Online Survey

LYME/OLD LYME — The Lyme/Old Lyme Prevention Coalition (LOLPC) is a group of volunteers, who collaborate with all sectors of the community to prevent substance misuse and abuse. Working together over the past 16 years, they have achieved significant reductions in adolescent substance misuse. 

Their work continues to change as the culture, climate, and concerns facing Lyme/Old Lyme youth and families shift. The Coalition is thrilled to work with the community to enhance the safety, well-being, and happiness of all our youth.

The key part of the Coalition is our community and its members. The group is made up of volunteers from all sectors of the community with the result that many voices, experiences, and expertise can be heard and utilized to support our youth and families. 

In December 2020, the Coalition was awarded a five-year Drug Free Communities Grant. This is the first year of the grant and the Coalition is asking all members of the Lyme-Old Lyme community to fill out this online Community Survey. The survey asks about social norms, perception of harm, and how community members think and feel about substance misuse and abuse.

This data will help lead the work of the LOLPC as the group collaborates with the community to utilize best practices and continue to be pioneers in youth substance abuse and misuse prevention.  All of the Coalition’s efforts are data-driven and rely on the willingness of our community members.

Visit this link to access and complete the online survey.

The LOLPC thanks community members for their time.

Editor’s Note: Contact LOLPC Prevention Coordinator Allison Behnke, MSW, MA, at abehnke@lysb.org with any questions about the survey or for more information about being involved in the work of the Prevention Coalition.   

Ledge Light Offers Free COVID-19 Vaccines with $20 Gift Card at Pop-Up Clinics; Next Date is Sept. 17

Ledge Light Health District (LLHD) is partnering with Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC) and Griffin Hospital to hold pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics throughout the summer.

The Towns of Lyme and Old Lyme are both members of LLHD.

No appointment, insurance, or ID is needed.

Get vaccinated and get a free $20 gift card as a thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and your community.

The list of currently scheduled clinics is available on the LLHD website; additional clinics will be added. Community members are encouraged to check the website and social media, and to look for the vaccination teams in their neighborhood.

Currently scheduled clinics include:

  • Fri, September 17
    3-7pm, Pride Point Apartments, 80 Ledge Road, New London (Pfizer 12+, Moderna or J&J 18+)
  • Sat, September 18
    10am-1pm, Waterford Farmers Market, 15 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford (Pfizer 12+, Moderna or J&J 18+)
  • Sun, September 19
    12-4pm, Bates Woods Park, 80 Chester St, New London (Pfizer 12+, Moderna or J&J 18+)
  • Tue, September 21
    4-6pm, Central Park, 36 Central Ave, Groton (Moderna or J&J, 18+)
  • Fri, September 24
    3:30-5:30pm, Jennings School, 50 Mercer Street, New London (Pfizer 12+, Moderna or J&J 18+)
  • Sun, September 26
    5-7pm, Eat in the Streets, Bank Street, New London (Moderna or J&J, 18+) Rock the Shot – Earth, Wind & Fire Concert Ticket Drawing!

Visit www.llhd.org or follow LLHD on social media for additional clinic announcements.