The Stamford Board of Representatives will consider two resolutions that call on city officials to take action—one focused on the city’s efforts around trees and one related to the future of the Glenbrook Community Center, at its meeting on Monday, November 7 at 8 p.m.
Invest in Trees
The board will consider a resolution that asks the mayor to allocate funds in the coming year’s budget to “better manage and care for trees on city property,” particularly because “the need to properly manage and care for the trees in the City’s urban setting is essential now and for the City’s future.”
Representative Nina Sherwood, who co-authored the resolution, told the Operations Committee that this was a proactive step in telling the administration that the board would like to see funding for trees prioritized.
Sherwood said she met with city staffers, including Erin McKenna, the city’s senior parks planner, and Ron Markey, the city’s tree warden, to learn about what the city had been doing and what more needed to be done.
“We could be doing a lot more to fund tree replacement and tree health in the city,” she said. “We definitely don't have the manpower or specific resources to maintain the life and longevity of the trees that we’re spending taxpayer dollars to plant.”
The resolution specifically asks for funding for four priorities:
conduct a geographic information systems (GIS) tree inventory to locate and identify the existing trees on City property
purchase at least one water tank truck
purchase and plant new trees in the City’s downtown area in cooperation with the Downtown Special Services District
hire at least one additional parks maintenance person; all so that the City may better manage and care for this valuable resource and asset.
McKenna told the Operations Committee that it would cost about $250,000 to do a tree inventory, which would help the city do preventative maintenance on trees, enhance emergency response because they know where the risks were, and learn where they needed to do more in terms of planting.
“If we really value our trees, we need to manage them,” she said.
The Operations Committee voted 7-0-1 to support the resolution, sending it to the full board for approval.
Future of the Glenbrook Community Center
The board will also consider a resolution related to the Glenbrook Community Center which calls for the city administration to “work with the Board of Representatives and the public to reopen the Glenbrook Community Center, at 35 Crescent Street, as a community center by investigating all possible avenues to achieve this goal with deliberate speed.”
Representative Virgil De La Cruz, who submitted the Glenbrook resolution, said it was “responding to the outcry from the Glenbrook community for the restoration of their community.”
The community center became a hot topic in the city, after the administration presented plans to restore the historic structure, add affordable housing to the site, and include some community space. Residents and members of the Board of Representatives argued that the center, which was home to multiple nonprofits and community groups before it closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided needed services, such as daycare and alcoholics anonymous meetings.
The resolution states that “there is an established need in the city for community centers,” and that this one in particular had strong support from residents.
“The Stamford Board of Representatives have received over 100 personalized emails from residents expressing their desire for the community center to be reopened,” the resolution reads. “Over eleven hundred Stamford residents, most of who live in or near the Glenbrook community, signed a petition expressing their desire for the community center to be reopened.”
The Land Use and Urban Redevelopment Committee supported the resolution 9-2, moving it to the full board for a vote.