A preview is perilous so I will be brief in looking into 2016. My preview is based on things that are now visible. The real fun will come with the unexpected.
I believe 2016 will be the year that Paramedics are based in Darien. It has become painfully obvious that our current EMS system is convoluted and woefully inadequate. A new consultant has been hired to study Darien’s EMS system including Post 53. The wise thing would have been to have this consultant recommend how to implement Darien based Paramedics into our current system. That would have been a wise use of our tax dollars. The reality is that this consultant, any competent consultant, will have to recommend Darien based Paramedics. If they don’t, it will be easy to take the report and its conclusion apart. If the Posties were smart and they are not, they would have gotten out in front of this issue and already have recommended Darien based Paramedics.
The three major development projects will get close scrutiny in 2016. The three projects Palmers, Golden and especially Corbin will change the face of Darien for decades. If done poorly, these projects, especially Corbin, will pose an existential threat to the Darien most of us would want.
There has been a development which puts the risks inherent in real estate development into sharp focus. A recent front page article in the Stamford Advocate featured a Darien resident who was the head of a major Stamford based real estate developer until he was forced to resign. His partners accuse him of not accurately portraying the finances of the company he was running. The company has entered bankruptcy. Forensic accountants have been hired. It is never a good thing when forensic accountants are hired. There is a story making the rounds that the subject of the story has “fled” to Florida. If true, this may be because, I believe, Florida has a law which prevents the seizure of a primary residence in such circumstances. There is another potential element to this story. Supposedly, this developer is a member of Darien’s most prestigious country club and well over 100 fellow members joined in investing in his now bankrupt real estate development company. An interesting question is whether any of the developers in the three major Darien projects are among these investors. All of this points out the risks inherent in real estate development.
Speaking of facilities, I hope 2016 will bring an understanding of what exactly has gone on at 35 Leroy. Specifically, I think residents deserve to know how this building could have gotten a signed CO. This building has had enough problems to make one wonder if there are also safety issues. I think these and other questions will be raised in 2016.
Continuing with the facilities theme, it looks like we will have plans for expanding and upgrading school facilities. Given Darien’s abysmal record dealing with school facilities, I think we will have some interesting debates.
Finally, the revitalization of the education, not facilities, portion of the our school system will gather steam. Special education will come under particular scrutiny but the rest of the program will also require attention. I hope Darien’s heroin problem will receive even greater attention. It is very disheartening to read about this problem. Our new Superintendent will come into sharper focus as he gains experience. He will need time to put his plans in place and begin their implementation.
Thank you for your continued readership. Visits have exploded over the past few weeks. Going into the New Year, I have more topics to cover than I have time. Happy New Year. See you next year.