Updated Friday 1:30 p.m.
The town plowed a parking lot on the Shakespeare Theatre grounds before plowing some town roads in order to clear a space for abandoned cars and excess snow, says a Stratford Councilman and Stratford Police Department employee.
"The parking lot on Elm Street behind the Nicoll Benjamin House (aka the White House) is used as a staging area, for abandoned cars and excess snow in extreme weather events," Councilman Matt Catalano (R-3) wrote in the comments below.
"The lot was plowed to provide a place to put all the cars that were abandoned during the storm," a SPD employee emailed Stratford Patch after reading the letter.
"Numerous cars were left in the middle of intersections and roads blocking plows and disabling other vehicles including 18 wheelers. The tow companies did not have enough room to accommodate so many vehicles so PW gave them a place to put them, the parking lot behind the 'White' house," the employee continued. "If these cars were not removed the roads could not be plowed."
But one resident, whose home apparently overlooks the parking lot in question, wrote in the comments below that "not one abandoned vehicle or any extra snow" was dropped in the lot.
The original letter to the editor follow.
By Beth Daponte
Snowstorms have a way of showing how well prepared municipalities actually are for emergencies.
The blizzard paralyzed Stratford.
It also revealed the communications skills of our leadership, its priorities, and its planning abilities. I have one question, which I posed to the mayor’s office last Sunday.
On the Sunday after the blizzard, my daughter and I put on my snowshoes to trek to my mother’s condominium, about a mile from my house in the Historic District.
At that point, while state roads had been cleared, with the exception of private plows that had cleared the Saint James parking lot and a small part of Broad Street, no plow had entered the 16-block area bounded by Main Street, Stratford Ave, Ferry Boulevard, and East Broadway.
Snowshoes prevented us from sinking irrecoverably into the snow as we made our way up Academy Hill. Coming down the hill on Elm Street, we could see that Elm Street, south of Stratford Ave, had been plowed. After we crossed Stratford Ave., we walked down Elm a little and turned to our left, alarmed at the sound of large plows.
The town was clearing the parking lot behind the Shakespeare Theater white house! Large trucks worked hard on assuring that all snow was cleared! Was a show going to happen on Sunday night? Who was playing? Was this a joke being played on the folks behind the initiative to re-open the theater, many of whom live in the Historic District?
From my mother’s home, I called the mayor’s office to ask why my street hadn’t been plowed yet, and the nice woman responded with the reason such as an unprecendented storm, yada, yada, yada.
I asked “but why are they plowing the Shakespeare Theater parking lot?” She seemed as dumbfounded as I.
So, I ask this question. Why, when many in the town were still snowbound, was the parking lot of an unfortunately defunct theater being plowed? I have walked by there since, and haven’t seen any activity happening in the parking lot.
[To submit a letter to the editor, email Stratford Patch editor Jason Bagley at firstname.lastname@example.org.]