Hey guys: send an email to this guy!

Jim Sabshin: cruff@ci.woodbridge.ct.us

Woodbridge is putting something useful and uncharred in place of the old firehouse. They want ideas.

MINE: Coffeeshop/Casual Restaurant! Food for the hungry and spirit for the community.

Dear Mr. Sabshin,

As a senior at Amity and resident of Orange, I believe that the former firehouse would be best used as a coffee shop or casual restaurant. Doing so provides a convenience for students and residents alike, and augments Woodbridge’s sense of community.

More than ever, Amity students are “working” 12, 13 hour days. How? Our new marching band program has practices from 6–8:30–if one is in Colorguard or Drumline, these practices are 2 or 3 times a week. However, marching band students are also involved in after school activities, some of which last until 4 o’clock. I personally live 20 minutes away–to drive home to stay for barely an hour is wasteful. Not a problem–we use those hours for homework.

But we are hungry! Lunch was at 11:15. By 5:30, our bodies need refueling, and some would prefer not to buy the sugared, packaged snacks from vending machines, or risk disciplinary action to heat up food from home in the microwaves, which are available only to faculty.

Replace marching band with orchestra rehearsal, replace it with adult ed. classes; the demand is huge. We would all love to have an inviting place to have some warm soup or buy a toasted sandwich near our school, to support a small business instead of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.

For the greater Woodbridge community, however, the benefit of a conveniently located coffeeshop or restaurant is equally significant. The town center is a precious gathering of community-minded people–parents who meet at the Library, politicians who spend hours in meetinghouses: why shouldn’t we have a place to meet informally, to solidify relationships, to nurture new ideas? Parents could meet at a coffeeshop or casual restaurant after PTA meetings or Back to School nights, whether it be Beecher’s or Amity’s. The added convenience and pleasure may even increase civic involvement: wherever people bond with one another, they bond with the community as well.

I shall graduate this June, and will work even longer days at an institution of higher learning. But my heart will always be with Amity, its students, and the surrounding community, and my mind knows that a coffeeshop or restaurant will bring the greatest joy to all.

Yours Truly,