Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Is Rockville friendly to family businesses today?

By Carl Slicer
December 29, 2006
Journal Inquirer

I had a great time recently at the Rockville Public Library reading through "Rockville Journal" issues covering July to December 1961. What a wonderful resource this library has been entrusted with, more than 45 years of this one newspaper on microfilm.

The keyword is "entrusted."

I was born and raised in Vernon but I never realized how many businesses were once in Rockville. The Rockville Journal was a popular newspaper, with many Rockville businesses mentioned in every issue.

For example, WH Preuss had a store at 17 Village St. and it belonged to the "Tolland County Television Service Association, Inc." The association consisted of seven members, with storefronts on 13 Market St., 68 Union St., 36 West St., 44 Windsor Ave., 116½ Grove St., and Longview Street in Ellington.

Every week First National Stores at 71 Windsor Ave. and Hartmann's at 42 Windsor Ave. had ads competing for your business.

There was Fitzgerald Ford, 73 Brooklyn St.; Herman Motors, 55 Windsor Ave.; Mickey's Motor Sales on West Road; and Scranton Motors, 166 Union St., where a new Ford or Chevy cost $1,800.

Gottier Furniture, 48 Windsor Ave., was a place where one could purchase any major appliance. Farmoil, 11 Windermere Ave., would sell you outdoor furniture and a customer could get double "S&H green stamps" on a purchase. Just about every local business offered S&H green stamps as part of their added service.

Bill's Cleaning Service specialized in window cleaning and Friday nights were good for Clams at the Cottage Street Tavern. WG Glenney's & Liebe's carried special brands of paints for the "do-it-yourself" customer. Sporting goods could be bought at the Sport Center on the corner of Prospect and East Main streets

Should this same approach be considered for the future of Rockville?

All of these were owned by families living, working, and committed to Rockville.

But it took cooperation among government and local associations too. Is Rockville "family friendly" to business owners today?

Taxes are the lifeblood of any community. Business needs to be invited back to Rockville and become a partner again.

We have vacant buildings on Windsor Avenue and going right up Union Street into Rockville Center. Very little business operates on the side streets around the center of Rockville anymore. Years ago the side streets were full of doctors and dentists alike.

George Risley built quality homes and office buildings.

Risley did so, leaving his mark as a caring person with good ideas who gave back to the community. When Risley built, he employed tradespeople, laborers, lawyers, and bankers. The customers bought homes and the town received taxes for the goods built.

Rockville General Hospital is an endowed gift entrusted to the town of Rockville. Townspeople can walk to the emergency room.

But with diabetes on the rise, why doesn't RGH offer the diabetes management program?

The diabetes management program listed at the ECHN Web site offers this program at Rockville General.

But upon calling, interested residents discover that it is only offered a Manchester Hospital. So those without a car must make what could be a 20-minute round trip - and there are three classes.

There are less than 25 physicians within a 1-mile radius of Rockville General Hospital today, while Manchester Memorial Hospital has approximately 100 physicians within a 1-mile radius.

Rockville citizens, you must engage.

Talk with your religious leaders and ask them to speak out. Call your Chamber of Commerce and the Rockville Downtown Association and ask what their plans are and why Rockville is not moving forward.

Ask your town leaders what it will take to have "small business" on the agenda again.

The writer is an Ellington resident. His family has had a business in Vernon for more than 40 years.

©Journal Inquirer 2006