Shakespeare theater task force to meet Tuesday
STRATFORD — A task force charged with overseeing a community conversation about what will happen to the Shakespeare theater property is scheduled to meet for the first time Tuesday.
The Shakespeare Property Task Force will gather at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers at Town Hall, 2725 Main St.
Mayor Laura Hoydick announced the formation of the 11-member committee last month. The task force will be co-chaired by Anthony Nizzardo and Tom Dillon, and its other members will be Al Baran, Amanda Meeson, Ed Goodrich, Eric Hampton, Peter Wood, Sib Law, Scott Bartelson, Patti Sorrentino-Galello and Frank Bevacqua.
The once-iconic theater, which had been closed since 1989, burned to the ground just after midnight Jan. 13. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.
On Monday the town released audio of 17 911 calls made to emergency dispatchers by people in the area who reported the fire.
The first call was made 12:49 a.m. by a man who says “The entire theater is in flames!”
“You need to send every (expletive) available fire department to the Shakespeare theater now! It’s in the flames!” the man says. “Oh my God, please, oh my God, it’s in flames!”
At a news conference the day after the fire, Hoydick said the property was insured, but the town hasn’t yet released full details of the coverage or how much of a claim has been filed. Hearst Connecticut Media has sent the town a freedom of information request seeking any paperwork regarding a claim.
The 14-acre property was deeded to the town by the state in 2005. Among the restrictions in the deed — 20 percent must remain open space, and “the entire property shall remain accessible to the general public for their enjoyment in perpetuity.”
A consultant will be hired to work with the task force to set up charrettes and meetings for the public to share thoughts about what to do with the property.
“There are many visions about how the town should move forward with this property, and we want to make sure everyone who wants to be a part of this process can be,” the mayor said.
Hoydick said that once “formal community conversations” are finished, the task force will write a report to be reviewed by the Stratford Redevelopment Agency and given to the town council.
Those wishing to receive updates regarding the property can send their name, email and phone number to Shakespeare@TownofStratford.com to be added to an information distribution list.