July 21, 2017

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Hails FRA ‘Record of Decision’ as a Victory, CT Historic Trust’s Stroud Urges Caution

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder

AREAWIDE — Almost unable to contain her delight, Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder told LymeLine.com in a phone call Wednesday afternoon that she was absolutely delighted with the Record of Decision (ROD) announced today by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which takes the proposed Old Saybrook to Kenyon by-pass, “… out of the plan.” “It’s exactly what we asked for,” she said with noticeable emotion in her voice, adding excitedly, “We fought Goliath and we won.”

Reemsnyder acknowledged that the area between New Haven and Providence has been identified by the FRA as a “study area,” but said firmly that the idea of the by-pass has now been “eliminated,” and “… cannot be reinstated.” She added enthusiastically, “This is a great day for Old Lyme!”

Reemsnyder noted she had been concerned all the way through the process as to whether enough had been done by the Town, while also being told unequivocally, “The FRA will not be bullied by a small town.”  In the final analysis, she said, “The plan will be what it should have been from the beginning …” meaning that the Connecticut and Rhode Island DOT’s will work together to find a solution that does not ignore the residents.

Greg Stroud

In a more measured response, Greg Stroud, Executive Director of Special Projects at Connecticut Historic Trust, who has worked tirelessly against the FRA proposal in the northeast — especially in southeastern Connecticut — noted in a telephone conversation yesterday with LymeLine.com that the ROD is “very good news” for southeast Connecticut, but also cautioned, “We can’t declare victory.”  He said that unquestionably the ROD offers “breathing room,” but declared firmly that the work is “far from over.”

Commenting on the major effect of the opposition to the proposal, Stroud said, “The communities of southeast Connecticut have shown a united front against the by-pass.” He added that the unfailing support of Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney had been “key” in achieving the result and would be “very influential in the work ahead to find a better solution.”  Stroud also commended the  significant input of State Rep. Devin Carney and State Senator Paul Formica.

Looking to the future, Stroud said in a post on the SECoast Facebook page, “This Record of Decision does not assure a good solution, nor does it assure a better process, it does however, provide the communities of southeastern Connecticut with a some breathing room. As we move forward SECoastand the Connecticut Trust will continue to engage this issue, and push for a better planning process in the next stage.”

Editor’s Note: Read full details of the FRA’s Record of Decision at this link.

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