Monday, September 19, 2011

A letter from the Director

Dear Friends,

On behalf of 1000 Friends of Connecticut's Board of Directors, I am proud to announce that 1000 Friends of Connecticut is moving forward with several new initiatives.

Two years ago, our group lead the effort to codify the six livability principles of Smart Growth into legislation. Our Board of Directors and former President, Heidi Green, fought for these principles to guide the State Plan of Conservation and Development so that Connecticut's future generations would inherit a more viable economy, without sacrificing our state's natural resources. Yet our state faces many of the same problems today as it did prior to this legislative enactment.

I-91 and I-95 still become parking lots during the morning and evening rush-hours. The lack of private, economic development in the state has exacerbated the pressure felt by municipalities to rely on property taxes as a form of revenue. Gas and energy prices continue to climb, unemployment persists, and our citizens, particularly the elderly, disabled, and young children, are increasingly becoming vulnerable users of the state's roadways, with Connecticut ranking 29th in the nation on the Pedestrian Danger Index according to Transportation for America's report, Dangerous by Design.

As you read this, the State Plan of C&D is being re-drafted. But at this point in time, the plan lacks enforcement powers or adequate incentives for municipalities to cooperate with one another as they struggle to attract funding from a source that perpetuates the problem.

Now is the time for 1000 Friends of Connecticut to facilitate the coalescence of a broad spectrum of stakeholders that have a common interest in growing smarter. Even more than that, now is our opportunity. President Obama's Administration embraced the potential of Sustainable Communities in 2008, and now Connecticut has a governor who understands the long-term returns associated with investing into sustainable infrastructure and environmental stewardship.

Our Smart Growth coalition has been strategically planning the most effective route to ensuring our public officials-on the state and local levels-are informed of the best practices to put Connecticut back on a sustainable path, and also have the technical expertise to do so. We encourage you to become a fan of our Facebook page and follow our blog, or check our web site frequently to learn about our upcoming events and ongoing operations.

Our efforts are futile without your continued support, so thank you for being one of the Friends that makes up 1000 Friends of Connecticut!

Sincerest Regards,
Nichole Strack, Executive Director
1000 Friends of Connecticut