Livable Communities Initiative
In this project the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) worked with three communities: the rural town of Suffield, the suburban town of West Hartford, and the urban Parkville neighborhood of Hartford. The project was funded by the Federal Highway Administration. CRCOG sought to discover what people thought about their own community type as well as other community types and the region as a whole. The goal was to find out where the public's priorities fell on growthrelated issues and to provide ways to balance the preservation of cities and towns and farm and forest land with the need to develop and grow. Through a variety of methods, including a visual preference survey and a conventional survey, CRCOG asked the public what are the necessary elements of a livable community. In general, livable communities create a healthy balance of shops, jobs, housing, farmland and open space. In addition, livable communities and livable regions strive to grow in a manner that is economically, environmentally, and socially smart.
Several resources have been developed as a result of the study:
- The Regional Development Issues Survey outlines the results of a statistically valid random sample of residents from Suffield, West Hartford, and Hartford.
- Smart Growth Planning and Zoning Recommendations from the Visual Preference Survey which shows through the use of pictures what citizens' desire by way of development.
- The Tools for Towns Best Practices Manual which covers eight development topics from agricultural preservation to rethinking zoning. For each topic, a quick and easy to read Fact Sheet introduces the tool and a Technical Analysis provides more detail on the "how to's" of the tool.
Each of these resources is available on CRCOG's website, or by contacting CRCOG at (860) 522 2217.
Bradley Area Transportation Study
Bradley International Airport is a major economic resource for the Capitol Region and the State of Connecticut and is expected to be the focus of the Region's future economic growth. The Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), the State, and the towns of Suffield, East Granby, Windsor, and Windsor Locks all share a common interest in assuring that the full benefit of this growth is realized. The Bradley Area Transportation Study includes a comprehensive analysis of the current and future traffic conditions and land use in the airport area. The study identifies transportation improvements that are needed to accommodate growth and to develop a strategic plan for maintaining safe and efficient access to the airport area. The project team included staff from CRCOG, Connecticut Department of Transportation, the four towns surrounding the airport, and the technical consulting firm, URS Corporation. The project team operated under the direction of a project Steering Committee as well as four Local Advisory Committees.
The study outlines several intersection and other roadway improvements for Suffield, including: the Mountain Road/CVS Plaza/Ffyler Place intersection, the Route 75/Bridge Street/Mountain Road area, and the Route 159/Route 190 intersection. For more information on proposed roadway improvements you may contact CRCOG at (860) 522 2217.
Farmington Valley Biodiversity Project
Exactly What is the Farmington Valley Biodiversity Project?
The Farmington Valley Biodiversity Project is a regional initiative created to establish accurate and comprehensive biological information about the valley area. The data, collected by qualified field biologists, will give the towns in the valley a scientific basis for making decisions about land use management, open space acquisition and resource conservation. Coordinated by the Farmington River Watershed Association and the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance (a program of the Wildlife Conservation Society), the project is a cooperative one with the towns of Avon, Canton, East Granby, Farmington, Granby, Simsbury and Suffield.
The Objectives of the Project Are:
- Field Research Establish a current and comprehensive biological data set through a literature search and field research
- Community Education Educate local officials, land conservation organizations, and the public about biological resources and their value in the Farmington Valley
- Information Sharing Distribute current biodiversity information and tools for using such information, to local land use decision makers and land conservation organization fostering conservation
- Foster the implementation of land use policies consistent with safeguarding local biological resources
Biodiversity? What's That?
Biological diversity, often shortened to "biodiversity", refers to the total variety of living organisms and habitats in an area. The rubythroated hummingbird that visits you garden, the salamander hiding under a rotten log, and the fireflies you see on summer evenings are all part of the Farmington Valley's biodiversity. In a broader sense, you can think of biodiversity not just as all the different kinds of living organisms around you, but also as the different habitats of the region, each with its own community of life. The Farmington Valley towns enjoy a rich variety of habitats, including bogs, marshes, streams, ponds, mixed deciduous and evergreen woods, traprock ridges, and sand plain grasslands. Some of these special areas are protected, as, for example, is the trap rock ridge in Talcott Mountain State Park. Much of the valley's biodiversity, however occurs outside protected areas. As development of private land proceeds, the valley towns face a loss of biodiversity.
Biodiversity Loss? So What?
There are many reasons that biodiversity loss matters. From a practical standpoint, intact ecosystems provide important benefits. For example, marshy wetlands along streams and rivers hold and absorb storm water, helping to prevent flooding and to purify the water. Also, our food supply depends on insect pollinators that live in natural areas. The valley's apple orchards and vegetable farms could not produce their crops without insects to pollinate the flowers. Biodiversity is also important for pest control. Bats, birds and frogs all help to keep mosquitoes under control. Public program to preserve open space may be motivated by efforts to preserve these benefits, to preserve an area's rural character, or to avoid the fiscal burdens of development. The data from the Biodiversity Project will help towns to make informed choices about which open spaces to protect and which areas are most suitable for growth.
For more information about the upcoming Biodiversity Project, please call, fax or email the Farmington River Watershed Association at (860) 658 4442 (Fax: (860) 651 7519) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at frwa.org.