Home to the state's largest natural lake, two state forests, and the trailhead for a popular regional walking and cycling trail, East Hampton has a lot going for it.
So should the town capitalize on those assets? Or should it seek to embrace its mill and manufacturing past? Or maybe it should look to promote its rich history or riverfront character instead?
Those are some of the questions town leaders are hoping a new community effort will answer. The town wants to form a coalition that will set a vision and establish a set of goals for the community for how it wants to set its future. The beginning of that process is a meeting dubbed the "Community Conversation for Visioning" that is scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight, March 14, in Town Hall.
Let Patch save you time. Get stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Officials hope the meeting, which is open to the public, will draw residents from all walks of life to give their opinion on what they want to see for their town.
"This event will be completely community driven and will be focused on our citizens’ wants and needs. Your involvement is critical to our success," the town said in a press release on the meeting.
Town Manager Michael Maniscalco said the meeting, and the forming of a coalition that will follow, grew out of conversations among members of a Town Council subcommittee that deals with buildings and facilities. Members of that subcommittee felt the town needed more input from residents on how they want to see officials guide the town's future and growth.
"We're not really positive about what the community wants," Maniscalco said. "And we want to know before we make investments in its future. We want to come up with a fairly solid consensus on diverse goals. What do we want to become?"
Besides a rich history in manufacturing and ship building, the town has significant natural resources to draw on as well, Maniscalco said.
with a new trailhead in the village as well as a popular entrance near Cranberry Bog on Smith Street.
The town has the state's largest natural lake, the more than 500-acre Lake Pocotopaug. There are also two large state forests here, The Meshomasic State Forest and the Salmon River State Forest. East Hampton is also a historic river town, with frontage on the Connecticut River.
Maniscalco said the community visioning process is in its infancy right now. "It's still a very fluid process."