Stratford Historic District Finally Gets Its Sign

Sign is an investment in economic development, says Historic District Commission chairman.

The new sign near the corner of Main and Church streets. Credit: Jason Bagley
The new sign near the corner of Main and Church streets. Credit: Jason Bagley
A fundraising effort that started more than 10 years ago has finally yielded a new sign marking the entrance to the Stratford Historic District.

“This is a good day for the Historic District and a good day for Stratford,” Historic District Commission (HDC) Chairman Thomas Yemm said Wednesday.

“We now rejoin all the surrounding towns, whose Historic Districts are identified with welcome signs,” Yemm said.

The new classical-style sign is up at the corner of Main Street and Church Street, where the last one was before being removed due to wear and tear some five years ago.

“The HDC members advanced the money for the sign, as individual members, and graciously accepted a substantial contribution from OSNA, whose members had collected funds literally years ago for this specific purpose,” Yemm said.

OSNA is the Old Stratford Neighborhood Association, a not-for-profit social organization founded in 1979. Yemm said the group began fundraising for the sign more than 10 years ago.

In 2011, Yemm had appealed for funds from the Stratford Town Council for three signs, though at the time he said he’d settle for enough money for one, which he estimated at about $500. The commission’s annual budget was only $1,000.

Though nothing came from those requests, Yemm said he’s hopeful that the new sign, funded privately by commission members and the OSNA, might spur the town to invest in more signs at other entrances to the Historic District.

“(Former HDC Chairman) Paul Reslink used to trumpet the fact that Stratford has more historic homes than all but one other town in the state of Connecticut,” Yemm said.

“It's difficult for me to imagine how a few hundred dollars could be better spent, by way of economic development, than to erect another sign announcing the Stratford Historic District.”
melissa fahey January 17, 2014 at 09:04 AM
Looks great - being a new resident it's sad to hear it took so long .
Tom January 17, 2014 at 03:21 PM
Here is the text of my statement accompanying the sign: This is a good day for the Historic District, and a good day for Stratford. We now rejoin all the surrounding towns, whose Historic Districts are identified with welcome signs. Our new sign replaces one that formerly marked the beginning of the District, at Main and Church Streets. Thanks are due to both my colleagues on the Historic District Commission and to the Old Stratford Neighborhood Association (OSNA), whose members began collecting funds for the sign a decade ago. I also wish to express my appreciation to A Sign Depot, in Newtown, which fabricated the sign to our specifications, to graphic artist Whitney Mercurio, who assisted on the design and lettering, and to Brian Carey and the team from Public Works who have helped install the sign, in consultation with Gary Lorentson of Zoning. The Historic District Commission voted on this design, funded it (privately), and is proud to present it to the Town of Stratford. It is our hope that others—the Town Council, the Office of Economic Development and the Chamber of Commerce, for example—will now consider matching this sign with others, at other gateways to the Historic District. And finally, I hope that all the residents and property owners in the much larger Federal Historic District, extending down to the end of Elm Street, as well as residents in other, potential Historic Districts, such as in Putney, will consider voting to join in with this Stratford Center Historic District, thus gaining further well-deserved recognition for all of Stratford, and securing cultural and economic protection for their own homes and buildings.
OpportunistWatch January 17, 2014 at 03:52 PM
I agree, a sign for the historic district is long overdue. Why did they have to consult the "GOOD OL BOY" Gary Lorentson of zoning? Was the sign violating zoning rules? I think its pretty sad to see how much it costs for a sign, Wonder how many days of consultation with zoning it took. Talk about milking the job to the last drop but expected.
Goodie Bassett January 21, 2014 at 07:38 AM
So let me get this straight? It took you 10 years to raise $1,000? You're the same group of people that think the Shakespeare Theater can succeed and you can't raise more than $100 a year?! LOL. With Tom Yemm and gang in charge of fundraising it will take 300,000 years to raise the money to open the theater, no wonder you want the taxpayers to pay for it!
OpportunistWatch January 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM
@Goodie Bassett - The reason why it took so long is they had to consult with the "Good Ol Boy" Gary Lorentson who knows how to milk a job very well. He is well known to go against anyone he and his inner circle of "good ol boys" dislike. Get rid of this guy already and vote in some honest people in Zoning. He is the reason why no businesses want to come to Startford. I spoke yesterday to a multi-million dollar business owner who was going to set-up his manufacturing business off of Honeyspot road and he instead picked Monroe because of the bad reputation Stratford has due to Gary Lorentson's shady Zoning operation.


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