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Sunday, June 16 News

Town green project looks to unite Weston community

WESTON — A proposed project to create a town green is already coalescing the community, thanks to the peripheral discovery of Weston’s previously-unknown birthday — Oct. 11, 1787 — by two local students.

Nancy Thiel, local architect and co-chair of the town’s Beautification Committee, gave a presentation to the Board of Selectmen Thursday night on an ambitious project to create a dedicated town green in front of Town Hall.

“It encourages people to gather and create a sense of civic pride,” she said, “and also extends what’s happening in the Town Hall out to the front lawn.”

The design consists of a large, oval-shaped walkway with a central green and surrounding benches and landscaping. The design will also include moving the war memorials from across the parking lot by the library to the south side of the green, and extending that collection. The previous war memorial area would then become a dedicated 9-11 memorial.

New lampposts and sidewalk work would be done as part of projects already underway, and the rest of the yet-to-be-known costs are going to come through private contributions.

“We’re not going to use any public funds,” Thiel said. “Everything else we’re going to do fundraising for.”

Once the work is complete, Thiel said the “ellipse” would be suitable for things like a farmers market or art show, that the Memorial Day and other ceremonies could be had more efficiently and comfortably, and even community activities like concerts or outdoor movies could be done at the new green.

“We’re not sure what the schedule is for this, but the important thing is we’re trying to create a new community space,” she said.

“It’s fantastic,” First Selectman Christopher Spaulding said, noting there would be public hearings on the idea as it progresses, with residents able to offer input that could be incorporated.

As part of the effort to learn more about the town — and particularly the town center — Thiel enlisted the help of her two Weston High School interns for research. In particular, students Gabby Fitzgerald and Vaughn Campos were asked to try and discover the actual date the town was founded in 1787.

“Nobody had any day,” said Fitzgerald, who along with Campos found a specific reference in an old volume in possession of the Weston Historical Society.

“We are so lucky as a town to have volunteers who have these tremendous skills,” Selectman Samantha Nestor said.

Selectman Stephan Grozinger said when he and others were first elected, “we wanted to focus on community building. ... This is really a physical manifestation of that.”

The matter will now go before the Planning & Zoning and Historic District commissions, respectively, for certificates of appropriateness.

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