Town Projects and Initiatives

Joel Barlow High School entrance
The street entrance of Joel Barlow High School showing the new paver stones and curbing installed during the summer of 2019.

There’s been a lot of discussion around town regarding a few items that Easton Democrats thought were important to address. We realize that it’s hard to get information from a town website that is fairly basic, and since we don’t have a newspaper or a local news outlet that is interested in sharing our small town updates… our residents are left in the dark about projects and initiatives around town. The Easton Democratic Town Committee (DTC) wants to change that. 

We want to lead with transparency and take a proactive approach on important items that can affect us all.

With this in mind, we’d like to highlight two items that have come to our attention in an effort to foster dialog and encourage healthy conversations, update our residents so they can make informed decisions, and work with our neighbors on finding solutions that improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Easton home.

The concerns that residents have brought to the attention of our leadership are…

1. Belgium blocks and granite curbing at Joel Barlow High School

    • Our Region 9 Board of Ed created a detailed PDF regarding the “Barlow Campus Improvement Project” which had board member and community support. Please feel free to click on the link above for more information on how the reps came to their decision, and a great resource for Region 9 parents and the community is the presentations page of the Region 9 part of the ER9 website. This is where you can find this PDF, go back to previous months meetings, and learn more about the improvements at Barlow.
    • Also, did you know that you can watch all of the Region 9 Board of Education meetings via YouTube? That’s right, they’ve been uploading them for some time now in an effort to ensure that parents and the community can stay informed on decision making and other discussions pertaining to Joel Barlow, finances, etc. You can subscribe to get updates when a new video has been added.
    • As you’ll see detailed and discussed in all of the presentations and links provided, low cost today is not always the least amount of cost over time. The advantage of a lower initial cost is negated by durability, longevity, and reusability. 

2. The Fields on Morehouse Road and interest from Sacred Heart University 

    • On 9/4/19 at our monthly Democratic Town Committee meeting Bob Lessler communicated to our members that the Board of Selectmen had just been informed about interest in the fields located on Morehouse Road adjacent to the soccer and baseball fields from Sacred Heart University. This interest was discussed at the next BOS meeting, and you’ll notice in the agenda from 9/5 that there is mention of a presentation of a proposal in item #7. And as shared in the minutes from 9/5, there are three components of the proposal (8 tennis courts, an artificial turf field hockey field, and a walking or hiking trail). 
    • After a vote, it was moved to the Planning and Zoning Commission for further discussion on 9/9, and as stated in this PDF of the minutes the commission recommended a favorable response, and determined that the proposed uses are consistent with the Easton Plan of Conservation and Development from 2018 – 2028.
    • The Easton DTC recommends a public information session to the Board of Selectmen about the proposed items, including the construction and maintenance (all would be built and maintained by SHU) so the community can be part of the conversation on the leasing of our land and the build out of this facility, and what the pros and cons are for Easton residents and our quality of life.

Do you have other questions or concerns that you’d like to share with us? Finding nonpartisan solutions is important to us, and we’ve put together this form that you can fill out to submit your feedback to share with the Easton DTC and your elected Democratic officials. Also, you can sign up for our newsletter via the form above or by using the button below too. 

Stay tuned for updates on the South Park Ave bridge construction, and a path from Helen Keller Middle School to Silverman’s Farm that may be in the works in the future. We look forward to hearing from you!

Spotlight Feature Series: Meet Tara Donnelly Gottlieb, Candidate for Board of Finance in Easton, CT

Why do you believe that you are a good fit for this role?

Everyday, I work with individuals from every walk of life to find resolutions to complex financial challenges. In Easton, I would do so by listening to our residents to ensure that our solutions echo our values. As a real estate executive, I understand what drives home values and know how to preserve and grow that value. As a CPA, I understand the need for revenue generation, and I truly believe that we can work together for the benefit of our town and to preserve its charm while tackling this issue. As a mom, I understand the importance of a high quality education. After all, my husband and I chose to raise our family in Easton because of the amazing schools. I have a vested interest in the future of Easton.

Why did you decide to run for Board of Finance and why now?

My career in finance was a well thought out path. I majored in Accounting, earned an MBA in Finance and became a CPA. As my career progressed, I fell in love with the real estate industry. So much so that I went back to school and earned a Masters in Real Estate from NYU while working full time. This part of my life has more or less made sense.

Advocacy and politics is not a path I planned to find myself on. I grew up in Bridgeport, the third generation in my family to do so, with all of my great grandparents having been born in Ireland. My parents owned an Irish family jewelry store. They were hard working, simple, and perhaps two of the kindest people I’ve ever known. In 2005, I had just graduated from Fairfield University and moved to NYC, when I received the phone call that would forever change my life. Our family store in Fairfield had been robbed. Upon arriving at Bridgeport Hospital, I would learn that during the robbery, both of my parents had been shot multiple times. Neither survived.

The years that followed were challenging – processing grief while navigating New York City on my own as a young professional. It was not an easy time. I am very grateful for wonderful family and friends that provided so much support. As the culture in our country began to change and reports of shooting deaths became more and more common, my first reaction would always be a feeling of heartbreak, understanding in a way that only a survivor can, the pain that the victim’s family would endure. I would then find myself wondering, why isn’t anyone doing anything about this? Eventually asking myself – what am I doing about this? It was not long after that I became a volunteer for Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. I became the local Survivor Member lead and eventually a National Fellow for Everytown for Gun Safety. In this role, I share my story as a gun violence survivor to ensure that others receive the emotional, financial, and legal education and resources that they need to help improve their lives and futures. My volunteer work has direct and positive impact in the lives of others. I understand the importance of giving back and I am excited to blend my extensive experience in finance and giving back to Easton, the town that I love.

In this video taken in September, I addressed the crowd at a recent Senate Recess Rally held in New Haven, to urge Congress to act on gun safety legislation.

I want to be someone whom you can have open and honest discussions, and feel comfortable having the hard conversations too. Conversations that we’ll encounter as we try to move our town forward in the months and years ahead.

We can’t find solutions to these local and national problems that we are facing, unless we are willing to meet in that place of discomfort and work together – in unity – towards our goals.

What is something that others might not know about you?

I grew up in a running family. I competed in my first 4 mile road race at the age of 8. The sport was an enormous part of my upbringing. Starting at such a young age, it became a way of life. On vacation? Explore the town on a jog. Need to chat with dad? Throw on some sneakers and head out for a run together. It was not something I thought much about doing, I just did. After running cross country in both high school and college, I tackled my first marathon while living in New York City. During training for my second marathon (San Francisco), I suffered a knee injury that would set me back, a lot. Moving on from long distance running was not a welcome change, but I had no choice. Around the same time, I met my now husband. He is an avid skier. I had skied once, ever. Learning how to ski after 30 is not the most common or ideal time to learn. I spent the better part of the first two winters terrified, lots of children zooming by me, and just trying not to fall (because getting up could take awhile). After many, many hours and lessons, there was a point that it clicked. I went from fear, to sort of enjoying it, to loving it. I’ve worked my way up to handling the slopes in Vermont as well as out west and I’m very glad I stuck with it. My favorite part now is watching my fearless, young, daughter speed down the bunny hill. I’m savoring these years, as I know it won’t be long before I can no longer keep up with her!

Thank you to my family and friends for supporting my efforts to run for the Board of Finance in Easton. I have enjoyed connecting with so many of our neighbors already, and if any of you would like to support my campaign — I need volunteers to display lawn signs in Easton! Please email Devon and I at: EastonDemsBOF@gmail.com with your name and street address and we’ll get them to you ASAP! Also, check out a sneak peek of the blue and white sign design below and if you’d like to support my campaign I’d appreciate any donations to help offset costs as well. I look forward to meeting you all and serving our great community. 

I'm a CPA, financial executive, advocate, and mother of two, and I am committed to securing a for Easton.