Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Put Connecticut Back on its Tracks

A message from 1000 Friends of Connecticut's Board of Director, Robert Orr:

Flying into Bradley a couple weeks ago, I felt like I was descending into Sherwood Forest. No state is as thickly wooded as Connecticut (which does a pretty good job of hiding our sprawl). No state has better and more abundant topsoil (70'-80' deep by some accounts) standing ready to reignite local food. No state has as extensive a rail system (yes dormant, but let's rake off the leaves) standing ready to launch multi-mode transportation. No state has as much intellectual capital standing ready to jump on the new economy embracing value over equity pursuits. No state can boast such a balance of man-made and natural beauty.

All this adds up to a state with more potential for attracting enterprising (younger) and accidental (laid off, older) entrepreneurs with better cities, towns, hamlets, and countryside than any other.

All that's needed is a makeover of codes and regulations to stop thwarting normal market forces from embracing the glory still embedded in its bones. Connecticut is the Tuscany, the Val d'Orcia of North America. We just need our Nutmeg version of Iris and Antonio Origo to get the ball rolling.

This could be Connecticut, but its Val d'Orcia with Monte Amiata, view to the west from La Foce. This landscape was barren, completely denuded down to bare rock by over grazing of sheep and poor agricultural practices. However, with much hard work, care and attention in the 1920s, the Origos succeeded in transforming it into the beautiful countryside bordering charming Tuscan towns that you see above. Nothing in the picture is accidental. Connecticut needs the same purposeful approach, political will and fire in the belly to reach the potential of the great gift we've inherited.