July 2, 2022

Regional Council of Governments to Locate Offices in Centerbrook Section of Essex

ESSEX— A 1787 house turned office space in the Centerbrook section will soon become home to the newly established 17-town Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments, hosting regional planning services for the 15 Middlesex County towns along with Lyme and Old Lyme.
Linda Krause, director of the Connecticut River Estuary Regional Planning Agency, said this week the 5,200- square-foot building at 145 Dennison Road has been selected as the site of offices for the council of governments and the merging regional planning agencies. Krause said the council of governments, using state provided transition funds, would begin renting the structure on August 1, with the council, comprised of the chief elected officials of the 17 towns, to hold its first monthly meeting at the new location later in the month.
With the encouragement of state government, officials began planning early this year for a merger of CRERPA and the Middletown-based Midstate Regional Planning Agency. The combined regional planning agency would be directed by the council of governments comprised of the chief elected officials of the member towns. The area first selectmen, along with the mayor of Middletown, had previously been meeting regularly as a more informal council of elected officials.
Krause said 15 towns have now formally joined the council of governments, with action still pending in Clinton and East Hampton. The organization includes the former Midstate towns of Cromwell, Durham, East Haddam, Haddam, Middlefield, Middletown and Portland, and the former estuary towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and Westbrook. Krause said officials in Clinton and East Hampton have confirmed interest in joining the COG.
Krause said she worked with the COG chairman, East Haddam First Selectman Mark Walter, in considering various potential locations for the offices. Krause said the goal was the have the office near Route 9, which she described as the “spine of the region.”
Krause said the vacant¬†Centerbrook building, which previously housed law offices and most recently Clearwater Systems, “is in great shape and does not need a lot of renovations.” The COG and regional planning agency will use the entire building, which has a second floor. Eleven staff members are expected to work in the new office.
Krause said CRERPA would be relocating from its current office at the train station complex in Old Saybrook to Centerbrook during the month of August. The relocation from the Midstate RPA office on DeKoven Drive in Middletown will be completed by the end of September.
Krause said the Lower Connecticut River Valley Council of Governments would hold its first meeting at the Centerbrook offices on Aug. 28. Other regional organizations, including the Connecticut River Gateway Commission, will also begin meeting at the Dennison Road location.