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First Selectman Messages

Town of Canton >> Boards and Commissions >> Board of Selectmen >> First Selectman >> First Selectman Messages

5/5/2023 - 05/05/2023

Dear Residents,

Cinco De Julius
Today is Cinco de Mayo all over Mexico and the USA. But in Canton, particularly Collinsville, May 5 is Cinco de Julius in honor of our friend, co-conspirator, inspiration, star realtor, former selectman and much more – Julius Fialkiewicz.  

We honor J.R. today for many reasons, many involving a party enlivened by tequila, and the memory that May 5 was his last two years ago. Much as we might linger on his loss, I prefer to remember Julius as Canton’s most improbable hero.
A cancer victim in his early adult years, Julius became the pre-eminent realtor in the Farmington Valley, helping to raise property values and professionalism in the real estate profession. Most every realtor trained there and joined in his memories of times gone by, robust debate, and always camaraderie. “Cheers” was certainly an institution on national television. On Main Street in Collinsville, “Cheers” was JR’s office. 

The West Mountain Sycamore Tree – One More Time!
Canton’s Tree Warden took down the dread removal notice from the sycamore tree on April 12 after 200 plus residents objected to removing the tree. Lans Perry hired Scott Hesketh, a traffic engineer, to assess and report on safety at this intersection. His report recommended against removing the tree. 

As promised at the April 12 meeting, town officials met with Mr. Hesketh and later on with state traffic officials about safety improvements at the intersection that could preserve the tree. These meetings were productive, resulting in a plan that accomplishes this goal.  

The Connecticut DOT repaving project underway on Cherry Brook Road will result in a narrowing of roadway lanes from 12 feet to 11 This allows the yellow center and white shoulder lines on Cherry Brook Road to be moved over, giving drivers an additional 1½ to 2 feet more to see around the tree. 

The Town will work with Connecticut DOT to repaint the stop line and lane boundaries at the intersection as part of the Cherry Brook repaving project. Additional markings in the road are under consideration to protect the tree.

The bottom line: the tree stays, no ARPA money will be spent on a safety study, and the public process worked. Let me review this last point:

By law, the tree warden is the only town official who can decide whether a town tree stays or goes. If the tree warden decides that a tree must come down, he will post a notice on the tree and wait for public comment for 30 days. If one or more people object to the tree warden’s decision, he must hold a public hearing to discuss the matter. The tree warden will then render his final decision which can be appealed in superior court.

The emails and phone calls certainly met the threshold of one or more people objecting to the tree warden’s decision. Thanks to this effort, town officials found a way to resolve the issue. This is how the process is supposed to work. 

Repaving Cherry Brook Road
Connecticut DOT will begin its milling and resurfacing project on Cherry Brook Road (Route 179) on Monday June 5 with completion expected on Friday, June 16. The work will take place on a 4.76 mile segment of Route 179, starting at Route 44 and ending at Route 309. 

Motorists can expect delays and one lane alternating Traffic while the work is underway. The regular work schedule for this project is 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Monday through Friday).

Be well,
Bob Bessel




Kevin Witkos
First Selectman
Phone: (860) 693-7847

Office Hours:
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Canton Town Hall
P.O. Box 168
4 Market Street
Collinsville, CT 06022