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RMA Presents: “What Is Next for Connecticut’s Fastest Growing City?”

By Bob Giaquinto

Mayor Caroline Simmons spoke optimistically about Stamford’s future.

At the August 23rd RMA meeting Peter Berg introduced Caroline Simmons, the mayor of Stamford. The title of her presentation was “What is next for Connecticut’s fastest growing city?”

Caroline Simmons mentioned that she was born and grew up in Greenwich. A married mother of three, she served for seven years in the Connecticut General Assembly before being elected the first female mayor of Stamford. One of her quotes to constituents is “You are my boss, I work for you.”

Stamford, which recently gained 10,000 new residents, is now the second largest city in Connecticut after Bridgeport. The resident occupancy rate is over 90%. Simmons is very proud of her city being #1 in the tristate area with the most Fortune 500 companies except for New York City. Her goal is to attract even more businesses. The city boasts of many diverse restaurants with more coming. The mayor announced that the Stamford Town Center is transforming, adding Pickleball America with 36 courts, the NY Comedy Club, Children Fun Zone, and more active businesses on the way.

Simmons, working with her police and public safety staff, have seen Stamford designated as the safest city of its size in the region. The fact that Stamford now has attained a triple-A bond rating is very important to her and demonstrates sound fiscal policies.

Mayor Simmons is very supportive of small businesses noting that two thirds of all jobs come from this sector. She is very astute in obtaining grants and funding for all of her projects including small business. One of her innovations is a Permitting Center where on certain days a resident can obtain a permit easily and efficiently. Another initiative is her “Made in Stamford” program. She is working to lure all types of companies to her city, including making Stamford the American headquarters for foreign corporations. Her efforts have brought in 20 companies, which means more jobs.

The purpose of her tech hub program is to train students in the tech field. She believes that nine out of ten future jobs will involve technology. Other projects include the beautification of the 56 Stamford parks and to have a park within a ten-minute walk from each residence. The improvement of 200 roads, sidewalks, railroad station, schools, marinas, electric cars for the city fleet, LED street lamps, and dredging near Cove Island Park are all in progress. A very important priority has been identifying the 20 most dangerous intersections and thereby reducing pedestrian fatalities.

Her green projects include composting, which can reduce waste by 40% and is good for the environment and the soil, bioswales, where street water runoff can be collected and used for intersection vegetation and thereby reduce flooding by 30%, and a multi-use trail from Scalzi Park in Stamford to Binney Park in Greenwich.

Mayor Simmons wants to restore faith in government which has been lost. Improvements include the veteran research center, a website in 100 languages with easy access, Permitting Center, fix it Stamford system, and regular updates from town hall. If you are interested and living in Stamford, she encouraged applying for openings on boards and commissions. Caroline Simmons is certainly a dynamic, well spoken, intelligent, exciting young politician.

For your interest, I looked up Wikipedia which mentions that in high school she was a two-time lacrosse All-American, graduated from Harvard and has a master’s degree from George Washington University.

A lively Q and A followed.

To see the full presentation, go to https://greenwichrma.org, cursor to “Speakers” and click on “Speaker Videos.”

The RMA’s upcoming presentation, “Raising Monarchs (Observations of a Would-Be Naturalist),” by Jo Ubogy, is scheduled for 11 AM on Wednesday, September 6th. Jo Ubogy, an artist, avid gardener and self-taught naturalist, grew milkweed from seed and was rewarded to find tiny green and black caterpillars on the undersurface of their leaves. She harvested the caterpillars, kept them supplied with milkweed and with moisture and was able to teach herself how to keep them protected from predatory wasps, film them and observe their transition from the larval stage (caterpillars) to pupae (chrysalis) to adults (monarch butterflies). She also learned more about their migratory patterns, environmental threats, their endangered species status, how to distinguish male from female butterflies and how to place them on food (nectar) once they have hatched. She will share with the audience this knowledge and the films she has taken.

To stream the presentation by Ms. Ubogy at 11 AM on Wednesday, September 6th, click on https://bit.ly/30IBj21. This presentation will also be available on local public access TV channels, Verizon FIOS channel 24 and Optimum (Cablevision) channel 79.

Note: The views expressed in these presentations are those of the speakers. They are not intended to represent the views of the RMA or its members.

RMA speaker presentations are presented as a community service at no cost to in-person or Zoom attendees, regardless of gender. The RMA urges all eligible individuals to consider becoming a member of our great organization, and thereby enjoy all the available fellowship, volunteer, and community service opportunities which the RMA offers to its members. For further information, go to https://greenwichrma.org/, or contact our membership chairman (mailto:members@greenwichrma.org).

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