State of the Town: Tesei Praises a ‘Strong and Vibrant’ Greenwich
By Evan Triantafilidis
First Selectman Peter Tesei gave an upbeat State of the Town address Monday at the Hyatt Regency, sharing his vision for the future of Greenwich.
“In my mind and from what I hear from the people of this town, the state of our town is strong and vibrant,” Tesei said at the luncheon, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.
Tesei spoke on topics ranging from the town’s 375th anniversary, the environment, the town’s education system and the loss of former Selectman Dave Theis.
“2015 is a banner year for Greenwich,” Tesei said. “We are celebrating our 375th anniversary as a town. It’s a year-long celebration of programs and events honoring the town’s rich cultural heritage by sharing and preserving the memories of the past and present while creating a legacy for tomorrow.
“The festivities began on Jan. 1, with all church bells ringing, including neighborhood history tours and a parade on Sunday,
Tesei continued to thank the emergency and medical services in the town for their continued work within Greenwich.
“Greenwich is a community of neighborhoods and village centers that value safety and security provided by police, volunteer firefighters and Greenwich Emergency Medical Services (GEMS).”
In attendance were State Rep. Fred Camillo, State Sen. Scott Frantz, State Rep. Livvy Floren, and State Rep. Mike Bocchino, who Tesei thanked for their continued work, specifically for their dedication in honoring Dave Theis by renaming the Mianus Bridge to memorialize the former selectman.
“Sadly, in December we lost a true son of Greenwich with the passing of my dear friend and colleague Dave Theis,” Tesei said. “Dave remains in all our hearts and is forever memorialized with his name over the newly dedicated Dave Theis memorial bridge.”
Tesei went on to catalogue the town’s strengths. “We are a compassionate community that looks out for those that cannot care for themselves. We are one of two communities in the state that operate a skilled nursing facility. We provide opportunities for our seniors with various activities and programs so they can stay in Greenwich.”
Tesei also spoke about the direct effect that local non-government groups have on Greenwich residents compared to federal help.
“We have many non-government volunteer organizations to meet the needs of fellow residents from birth to their golden years,” Tesei said.
“That’s the path that I think has served us well,” Tesei said of volunteer groups. “Frankly, non-government organizations provide services far more direct in addition to what the federal government bureaucracy can.”
Tesei told the nearly 185 local businessmen and women in attendance that Greenwich is truly unique for business aspirations.
“We have a vibrant, central business district that drives our local economy through the presence of internationally recognized retailers as well as some mom and pop stores,” Tesei said. “We have an internationally recognized reputation as a hedge fund capital that has attracted Chinese journalists and businessmen who made several visits in their efforts to replicate Greenwich just outside of Shanghai.”
“While imitation is the best form of flattery, there is no way we can replicate what Greenwich is, because Greenwich is an embodiment of the people who live here.”
Tesei went on to praise the Chamber. “The Greenwich Chamber of Commerce is one of these community organizations which share our common vision to preserve and enhance the quality of life within our town by supporting and promoting our business community and the amenities offered,” he said.
Also speaking at the event was a local Greenwich parent who Tesei met one afternoon while picking up his kids from elementary school.
Pam Orr, a resident of Greenwich for two years, spoke about her time in Cos Cob and feeling like she had finally found her home.
“Two years ago, I was describing to Peter how unique the town of Greenwich is and how many amenities are available here and how sometimes it’s easy to take them for granted,” Orr said.
“Greenwich is the first town where I was appreciated. My family was appreciated. I was so willing to give back, the only thing I really needed was a chance and this town gave me the chance to give back. I finally feel home.”
Tesei closed the event with a Q&A session, answering questions about a crowded Tod’s Point, the current moratorium on medical marijuana businesses in the area, and other topics.