There was no shortage of big stories in 2012. But 2013 figures to be an even bigger year (if that’s possible).
Here are 13 stories South Windsor residents need to keep an eye on for 2013:
1. The Budget. Every year is a tough budget year. This year, however, figures to be especially difficult, what with the state’s budget deficit expected to impact localities, possibly in the form of the education cost sharing arrangement the state has with municipalities. In addition, the South Windsor Board of Education has already said that it is running at a deficit this year as a result of an unexpected spike in special education costs. Also, a new contract with the teachers’ union almost certainly means that the school district will be requesting additional funds than in the past two or three years. There’s also the first sewer payment on the way. All of which means that this really will be one tough budget year.
2. Recreation Complex at Evergreen Walk. Proponents of the $10.5 million project were hoping for a decision from the Town Council by now. But after some initial momentum, talks have stalled as the numbers are vetted for the potential development at Evergreen Walk that would include a swimming pool, at least one hockey rink and office space to move the town’s Parks & Recreation Department. Also, a number of local businesses have formed a committee in opposition to the project. Will there be a 63-20 corporation
3. School Buildings Project. While voters approved a $5.79 million referendum question to, in part, fix leaky roofs at three of the town’s schools, a much larger project looms to address the aging school buildings in South Windsor. The school district is expected to release a project plan this year.
4. Connecticut Studios. Will this be the year that the massive project finally gets off the ground?
5. Revaluation. For many, this 11-letter word can be reduced to four. But, as my wife said, “revaluation is a natural process to fairly redistribute the tax burden.” Yeah, go eat some wheat grass, hippie.
6. Possible Patrie Lawsuit. A heartbreaking story with questions still lingering over the sudden death of a 15-year-old South Windsor High student who collapsed during an endurance exercise over the summer. A notice of intent to sue South Windsor and Manchester was filed by the family’s lawyers in late December 2012.
7. Ambulance Services in South Windsor. A story that grows out of the Patrie incident, the town is looking into obtaining ambulance services that offer advanced life support. The South Windsor Ambulance Corps. don’t have that service and owner Larry Gorman has said that it would cost between $500,000 and $700,000 to upgrade from basic to advance life support.
8. Town Fields. Somewhat lost in the discussion of the potential recreation complex at Evergreen Walk is the possible renovation of the town’s fields, including the stadium field at South Windsor High School.
9. Evergreen Walk Hotel/Apartment Complex Projects. A hotel and apartment complex have been in the works since the outdoor shopping mall’s inception, with the idea of a somewhat self-sustaining community. Will this be the year that one or both are constructed?
10. Local Elections. Seats on the Town Council and Board of Education, among other boards, will be up for grabs in November. Mayor Tom Delnicki has said he will run again, though there is some talk that other stalwarts are considering not throwing their hats in the ring.
11. The sale of UTC Power. Will the sale of the South Windsor-based fuel cell manufacturer mean that the company will move out of town? If so, how much will it hit the local population in terms of employment and tax dollars lost?
12. The return of Dairy Queen. Because you guys went nuts for this story when I ran it in December. Seriously. Over 270 Facebook recommends and counting.
13. High school sports. Because I love covering them.