Waterbury’s Long-Term Community Recovery planning effort is ready for residents to have their say about project ideas and what moves forward. More than a dozen proposals will be presented at the Waterbury Community Recovery Fair Thursday, February 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Thatcher Brook Primary School gym.

Local residents, town officials, volunteers and others have worked for more than two months brainstorming long-term projects for the community as it works to recover from flooding from Tropical Storm Irene. “The idea was to look to the future and think about what we envision for our community,” said Rebecca Ellis, who chairs the Waterbury Select Board and has organized this exercise in forward-thinking. “We’re calling this our ‘Passport to the Future.’”

Those who took part were asked to “think big” about the community’s long-term needs both as a result of the flood and in general. A team of more than a dozen Federal Emergency Management Agency staff helped guide the process.

Committees formed and each committee brainstormed ideas and has crafted several detailed project proposals for the public to review.

Ideas include a community center and municipal complex; studies on the arts, human services and economic development; expanding affordable housing and recreation facilities; improvements to transportation and energy efficiency networks and flood-proofing key municipal infrastructure.

Local residents are invited to examine the proposals at the fair where they will receive a “passport” ballot to vote for the projects they like best. Everyone who attends – young and old – may vote. Selections will be tallied and results reported to the community later this month. The FEMA team will then suggest possible public and private funding sources for the top-ranked projects. It will be up to the community to follow through to make the projects happen.