March 31 Forum will bring together Park site representatives and municipalities

The Thames River Heritage Park Transition Team will be holding an informational forum for key partners to discuss the new Heritage Park, the function of the Heritage Park Foundation, and how historic sites and municipalities can potentially benefit from the coordination and linkages that the new designation will provide.

The event, which is co-sponsored by the New London Day and Atlantic Broadband, will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. March 31 in the Oasis Room at the Garde Arts center in New London, and will feature Alan Plattus, director of the Yale Urban Design Workshop, who will present his blueprint for the park, and talk about the benefits of tying the various attraction together with a common theme, signage and programming.

Officials from the state departments of Energy and Environmental Protection, Transportation and Economic and Community Development have also been invited.

This Forum is a chance for representatives of the principal history/heritage organizations in the area as well as the staff and leadership of Groton Town, Groton City and New London, to become more aware of the program opportunities, current vision and progress as we establish together the Thames River Heritage Park.

As we expect that the Water Taxi will be in operation this summer, we believe the future growth and development of the Park will depend on the interests of its visitors, the programs and capacity of our area presenting institutions, and on the way we service our local and visiting audiences. Questions and answers will emerge; new ideas will come to light; some organizations will find new ways to attract larger audiences: we expect the Park will take several years to mature into a dynamic visitor experience.

We are confident that our collection of historical resources is excellent, and with the eventual addition of the Nautilus Museum and the Coast Guard Museum to the water shuttle service, and other likely additions, we are eager for our first year of operation.

Future forums and meetings with individual sites, arts and cultural organizations, and local businesses will follow throughout the coming months. It’s the goal of the Transition Team to have the Heritage Park be a collaborative effort with input and participation from all organizations and groups within the borderless park to help promote and encourage tourism, commerce, and preservation of the natural and historic resource that is the Thames River area.

The Yale Urban Design Study, by Alan Plattus, can be found here.

“This will be a chance to reacquaint people with the park and for them to hear from they who did the plan,” notes Transition Team Chair Chris Cox. “This will allow a wide variety of people to see this as an emerging, but real project; that we want their participation; and hope for imagination and strong partners going forward.”