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Monday, September 9, 2002

Sunday, June 9, 2002 - Henry J. Fisher Sends A Letter To The Greenwich Time Editor

To the editor:

The proposal to build a labyrinth was a good idea before Sept. 11, and it got better after. It is supported by a diverse group of citizens and town employees, including members of all three emergency services, at least two garden clubs, the YWCA and the Junior League. To date, it has been opposed by essentially one group of citizens.

First, I am not a member of the committee shepherding this proposal through the town approval process, although they kindly informed me of it in the fall. In fact, this is the only proposed recognition of the events of Sept. 11 on which I have been consulted. As I saw the opposition mount, I decided to go public with my support.

Many residents were hit very hard by the events of Sept. 11, many more than those of us who lost a relative. However, the issue of stress in our town goes way beyond that tragedy. The quiet little town I thought I grew up in is no longer -- and may never have been. However, the feelings evoked by that concept need to be nurtured by something as simple as a labyrinth.

There are precious few places to go in Greenwich to find solace; most are invaded by crowds and noise. Greenwich Point, in particular its western end, is a special place to find a quiet spot. I believe it is an excellent choice for a labyrinth.

As for access, it is not the problem it is made out to be. If one were to say that every public facility required convenient access, they all would be built in the center of town. There are no legal barriers to access at Greenwich Point; the courts took care of that. As for physical access to the site, the road needs minor repairs at the bottom of the hill; once those are made, a car can carry a handicapped person up to gain full access to the site.

It is important to note that this does not involve structures above the present landscape. It simply involves laying flat stones into the ground to create grass paths. I find that appealing, as it will be a very minor intrusion on the landscape, certainly less than many other structures placed at the Point over the years.

It will not interfere with other activities at the site. Nor does it involve clearing a 250-foot area. Incorporated in the proposal is an offer by the committee to make modest renovations to compensate for years of neglect. These involve repairs to nearby paths and walls, cleaning up the wooded border of the site and planting indigenous plants along the edge. That will prevent people from entering the site by walking up the slope to it, as they do now. Paths created by those walkers are contributing to erosion.

Funds to install and maintain the labyrinth will come from private donations of money, materials and labor.

Alternate sites have been examined and rejected. The site at the Point is the most appropriate because of its proximity to the most accessible view of New York City. I hope some who say they like the idea but oppose the site at the Point will propose a labyrinth at the sites they favor.

The purpose of the labyrinth has been consistently presented. It is in memoriam, not a memorial. It is recognition of the event, not of the people lost. There may come a time when the town decides to erect a memorial. Those are usually erected many years after the events that justify them. The purpose of this proposal is to facilitate healing from our wounds, whatever the source. The associated plaque will read: Dedicated as a sacred, meditative place for healing, solace and contemplation, in remembrance of September 11, 2001.

I ask all who support this proposal to call your Representative Town Meeting delegates. They are listed on the Web site: http://www.greenwichct.org/

RTM

Henry J. Fisher

Greenwich

Sunday, June 9, 2002 - Claudia "Dolly" Powers Letter To The Editors Of The Greenwich Time

To the editor:

So many people volunteer for and support TAG and the Bruce Museum as very special assets to our community that I would like to assure the residents of Greenwich that our entire state legislative delegation in Hartford works together when it comes to securing state grants and gaining approval for projects that benefit our town.

Last Friday's approval by Gov. John G. and the State Bond Commission of grants totaling $40,000 for the Transportation Association of Greenwich and $175,000 for the Bruce Museum was just the latest example of your team in action.

myself, state Reps. Livvy Floren and Lile Gibbons and state Sen. William Nickerson -- wrote letters and intervened personally with Gov. Rowland and Marc Ryan, secretary of the state's Office of Policy and Management, to secure the grants that were approved last week. (I like to send the governor hand-written notes to catch his eye.)

When state grants and projects are approved, they usually are the culmination of weeks and even months of effort on our part. That was especially true this year. With revenues significantly lower than expected, Gov. Rowland, OPM and the bond commission are more cautious than ever when it comes to supporting grants that will add to the state's bonded indebtedness. Greenwich's legislative team had to demonstrate that the projects for which we were seeking grants met all the state's criteria for funding in competition with three other towns for a share of only $810,000 in Urban Act funding.

Working together, we helped make the town's case for two grants: one that will enable TAG to purchase a new van to provide transportation services to seniors, disabled people and special education students and the other to fund an architectural study to determine the Bruce Museum's long-term needs.

Greenwich's state legislators are successful in securing state grants that benefit our community because we work as a team. Not all Connecticut towns can say that, nor are all of them so fortunate.

Claudia "Dolly" Powers

State Representative

151st Assembly District

Greenwich

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