NEWINGTON –For the first time in history, the annual State of the Town will take place on a virtual platform.
The Newington Chamber of Commerce and Newington Community Television are joining forces to present the event live on May 20, on NCTV.
In past years, Newington residents, Chamber members and town officials have gathered at Newington High School for the annual State of the Town. It typically began with a breakfast, followed by addresses from the town manager and mayor as well as the chamber director.
The decision to move the event from its traditional March occurrence to May was made at the start of 2020, well before the pandemic.
“We planned the May time period because it gives Town Manager Keith Chapman and Mayor Beth DelBuono some traction in their roles and brings us right up to when the town’s budget is passed,” Chamber Director Peter Forcellina explained.
With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing large gatherings of any type this spring, organizers are taking a different approach to the event’s format. While consideration was given to postponing the program until later this year, everything is still very uncertain.
“It’s especially important for residents of Newington to hear from their local leadership right now,” Forcellina pointed out. “They’re doing some very good things and we need to bring that information out to the public. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to continue to have this.”
Depending on the state of the nation, world and Connecticut in regards to the pandemic, leaders may even wish to provide another update six months from now, he added.
Chapman has fond memories of in-person State of the Town gatherings when he previously served as town manager in the 1990s, but is looking forward to a new approach in 2020.
“The topic of the ‘State of the Town’ will take a different spin this year, as the COVID-19 crisis has brought virtually all economic development efforts to a halt, and everyone is in a quandary as to the duration and financial impacts we all will be experiencing,” Chapman said. “Therefore, our focus will be taking a look back, discussing the current situation and making assumptions of the future as the COVID-19 crisis diminishes.”
Residents can tune in live to Newington’s 2020 State of the Town May 20 at 9 a.m. on Newington Community Television. Anyone, anywhere can watch it streaming live online or at their own convenience at NCTV.org.
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.