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'Stop Being Angry' Says Shakespeare Theatre Advocate

Flooding of homes on Bowe Avenue, update on dog park also discussed during public forum.

Mayor John A. Harkins was not present at the public forum held Monday night, but residents made it clear they had a message for him about the historic and White House.

"I suggest you stop being angry and feeling unconvinced," said Henry Bruce of the historical preservation group FORStratford as he addressed Joseph Kubic and the other Town Council members present.

"You are not going to put a sports complex on that property in our neighborhood," he said, referencing in which Councilman James Connor suggested the land could be used for such a facility.

Terry Masters, Stratford resident and Democratic candidate for State Assembly, said that preserving the Shakespeare Theatre has and calls for leadership from the Town Council.

"This is a grassroots reaction," said Masters. "This is an opportunity to show some leadership."

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Others pointed out that Stratford has money bonded to fixing the dilapidated buildings and that land deeds prohibit any non-residental construction.

Aamir Kadeem, 16, attends and spoke about his theater experience and how he believes other kids will come to enjoy the theater.

"As someone who appreciates art, as someone who loves it, I wish it would just be open, it's a great place," said Kadeem.

Other notes

Other topics brought up for consideration during the forum included concerns about flooding from a creek that lies alongside Bowe Avenue. Council member Stephanie Philips said during the Town Council meeting that the town engineer plans to address this soon.

Matthew DeBernardo also gave an update on the in Roosevelt Park and announced there will be a fundraiser 5K road race in August.

MOVEStratford June 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Zero Walt ... honestly. That crap coming from Harkins and Councilman Sports Complex is subterfuge. Ask them to be honest, because they know exactly what is going on and know that the ones for the Stratford Center for the Arts success rests on philanthropy and federal and state grant money. The Stratford Center for the Arts, which is what its called, is in process of becoming a nonprofit entity that BY LAW cannot use taxpayer money for what was reported in the papers in April. Larry Ciccarelli is responsible for getting that done via 501c3 filings with the IRS. And you are totally off base as to why people marched on Town Hall last Monday and spoke at Public Forum. When was the last time 60 citizens marched for ANYTHING in this town and 125 people jammed Tonw Hall to listen to 25 people speak? This is NOT About Shakespeare Walt, its about jobs and a reason for people inside and outside this town to come downtown and spend money in the town. If you haven't noticed, there is nothing to attract business to restaurants in this town. NOTHING. No I think the footsteps you will start hearing in the coming months will be the people who need tax relief, people who need jobs and local merchants and restaurant owners who need customers asking why this administration is sitting on their hands with this asset sitting idle.
George E. Mulligan June 17, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Various CT. Festivals could easily be connected/feed each other as TOURIST things to do in CT. from Spring through Summer, into Fall Barnum Festival was # 3 in the USA for attendance behind MARDI GRAS & ROSE FESTIVAL. New Haven Festival of ARTS & IDEAS has grown, as have Oyster Festivals in Norwalk & Milford. Stratford Shakespeare Theater has history of HS/Jr. HS /College matinee, productions which could play 2 shows @ 600 students per am/pm for five weekdays times three to six week runs in spring & fall seasons during the school year. 6,000 students/week matinee can be gravy to fund raise Investment by production companies who can make good profit during Thursday, Friday, (2) Saturday. & Sunday Shows. Well planned Summer Festival surrounded by contemporary draws & tours could use some Captain Cove type summer enjoyment? On site Radio - TV - Cable can more than pay maintenance overhead. Documentaries about the Rebuilding of the Theater released to ART HOUSE and with CABLE PAY / RESIDUALS can lay foundations for Tourism, Marketing, Licensing, & other revenue streams to GENERAL FUND. -I work in marketing. Shakespeare is a precious BRAND NAME. -I make no claim to having all the answers. -However look to money made by TV, CABLE, MUSIC, MOVIES. -All need CONTENT. -Shakespeare is a foundational & inspirational source for CONTENT I agree w ROCK - I don't like ROCK. My belief is the whole thing will be skimmed by the local Nibelung.
L Davis June 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM
We absolutely need the voices of young adults like Aamir. He was one of the evening's most influential and inspirational speakers.
Joseph Pedoto June 25, 2012 at 11:58 PM
George, Can you source your statement that the Bridgeport Barnum Festival has attendance figures third behind the Portland Rose Festival (1.2 million in 2011) and New Orleans' Mardi Gras (500,000)? I find this comparison hard to accept without a reliable reference. Bridgeport had a 2010 Census figure of 144,229. What was the attendance figure for last year's Barnum Festival, George? The previous life of the Shakespeare Festival cannot be revived in 2012. The original theatre was subsidized and never generated a profit for the town. However, a non-profit group running a multi-use arts center on those grounds is an excellent idea. But please understand, while absolutely worth pursuing, this is not going to be a great economic boom for Stratford. The economic argument for an arts center will not carry the day. Do it because it will improve the quality of life in town, not the bottom line.
MOVEStratford June 27, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Joe, Can we stop talking in generalities in get specific. The only economic idea that will carry the day for that property IS the Arts Center. Have you read the CAFC study yet posted on http://culturalalliancefc.org/ There are over 130 Performing Arts members of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County and the numbers don't lie. Ask the local merchants and small business owners, especially the ones below the train station what this town is doing to draw business to this town. ZERO. The argument FOR the SCA is all of the above - quality of life, jobs, local businesses, tourism, etc. The economic argument is never an immediate impact one, but the numbers from the study don't lie. Look at what happened in Fairfield, look what happened in Westport. Both have vibrant arts centers that transformed the down town centers over time. I shop in both towns rather than here because they have shopping i want. What do we have here? Why would anyone open a restaurant or specialty shop here. This current admin and town council is the most incompetent i have ever seen when it comes to economic development. Clueless and with no viable plan for how to deal with the 100's of acres of property contaminated by Raymark and SAEP and turn things around. Absolutely clueless. The Arts Center is the only game in town right now so why not give it a try? What does everyone have to lose?

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