So, it's time for my annual "wish list" -- items that it would be good to see in Avon over the next year. Last year, I asked for a "diner". Didn't quite come to fruition but some of the other items did. Let's see how we do on this year's wish list.
(As always, feel free to share your ideas in the comments below.)
That special restaurant. Let's be honest here for a second. If you're looking for that special dinner out, are there many restaurants in Avon that fit the bill? (I know, there are a few.)
But think where the buzz-worthy restaurants have gone the last few years: The Mill at 2T (Simsbury); Millwrights (Simbury); Bricco Trattoria (Glastonbury), Feng (Canton).
This is not a knock on the restaurants that have come here. Many are quite good. And I like the fact that Trattoria Il Trullo decided to give Riverdale Farms a try. But how many Italian restaurants does one town need?
I'm not quite sure what can be done, other than to encourage up-and-coming chefs to keep Avon in its sights. Route 44 may not be the prettiest stretch but it does draw some good traffic. Want a suggestion? Maybe a Spanish restaurant.
Continued progress on Old Farms Road. This is kind of an easy one since the headlines the last few weeks have noted progress on this front along with a land-use study. But we need to keep our foot on the gas on this one. There aren't many ways to get into town and providing an alternative to the heavily congested Route 4 scene would be quite helpful.
A renewed focus on business development. One business leaving town does not make a trend, but there have been signs that Avon is having to compete more to have businesses stay in town. After all, highway access isn't that easy. Businesses in town, bring more foot traffic to local businesses -- whether for lunches, gas, banks, etc.
The town's leadership may be helping to attract it, but the website, for example, doesn't note the benefits to working in town. Indeed, the first link is to the Avon Chamber of Commerce. That organization serves a valuable purpose but we shouldn't oursource this work entirely to others. Contrast that with, say West Hartford's site, which has a much more welcoming message.
Avon remains a great place to work. It's time we start to spread that message to businesses and people in other towns because other towns (like Southington, Rocky Hill, Windsor, Simsbury) are being much more vocal.
A new town website. And Facebook page. The website needs a refresh. It's hard to find things, the search function is haphazard, and it just looks tired. But more importantly, the town needs to be where the majority of residents are -- on Facebook. My guess is that a town Facebook page would attract much more traffic and notice than the website but could help pass the word on.
Yes, our e-mail bulletin board is nice but quaint. And already my inbox is full of items from a community tag sale to a fundraising dinner. Facebook allows the information to be posted in one place without multiple e-mails. As the town looks at its capital budget, a few dollars for a technology upgrade should be considered.
Full Day Kindergarten - It's too late for us, but surrounding towns have all been moving to full-day kindergarten. As people look to move, this is becoming a driver of families. Avon is now considering it at little added cost. The benefits are measurable. It's time for Avon to do so.