by Michael TorelliHerald Staff
An area foundation has donated over $10,000 toward the replacement and refurbishment of four signs located at Bartlem Park.
On July 9, Town Councilors accepted a donation of $10,500 from the John G. Martin Foundation to replace the Bartlem Park and Cheshire Community Pool, Parks and Recreation, and Yellow House signs, as well as repaint the Medal of Honor Plaza sign.
Presenting the check was Frank Loehmann Jr., who serves as president, trustee, and director of the Foundation.
Following the Council meeting, Loehmann, a Cheshire resident, said he and his wife live near Bartlem Park and identified the need for new signage in an area that sees heavy traffic by both residents and visitors from out of town.
“It’s probably something we never appreciated while living in the north end — how busy the south end is,” Loehmann said.
Loehmann added that the sign identifying Bartlem Park is the only sign installed parallel to Route 10. Others, he said, are perpendicular.
“You’re on top of it before you know you’re at Bartlem Park,” reflected Loehmann.
The Foundation, created in honor of the former president of Heublein Inc. who died in 1986, honors Martin’s legacy by contributing to the education of Connecticut’s youth by financially supporting a variety of initiatives. Currently, the Foundation is paying for work at Bushnell Park.
Loehmann, as well as other Board members, are provided with a discretionary fund to help their local communities. In the past, the Foundation has aided the expansion of the Cheshire Community Food Pantry, fencing at the Cheshire Community Dog Park, and acquisition of a playground at Bartlem Park.
“I’m blessed that way,” admitted Loehmann. “Not that many people have that ability. It’s just a great thing to do.”
Loehmann said that he first began working with former Recreation Director Dr. Josh Medeiros before meeting with Economic Development Coordinator Jerry Sitko, current Recreation Director John Gawlak, and Town Manager Sean Kimball. Other Town staff, as well as members of the Cheshire Police Department, worked with Loehmann to determine the best situation for the new signs.
“We had a great crew between the Cheshire Police Department, the zoning enforcement (officer), the Beautification Committee, …” reflected Loehmann.
Naugatuck-based company Connecticut Signcraft will be installing the new signs, according to Loehmann.
“(Signcraft) has been very, very proactive and very, very responsive,” Loehmann said.
Human Services Director Michelle Piccerillo said the Yellow House sign broke approximately one year ago, and that her Department was figuring out ways to replace it.
“It was a really nice solution and things have moved along really quickly,” explained Piccerillo. “We’re super-excited to see what the new sign is going to look like.”
Piccerillo expressed her gratitude for Loehmann stepping forward.
“We’re really grateful to the John G. Martin Foundation for their support and to Frank Loehmann for helping us coordinate this,” she said. “He’s a very benevolent guy.”
At the Council meeting, Council Chairman Rob Oris thanked Loehmann for the donation.
“You have done a lot for this community and we greatly appreciate it,” Oris said.
Oris continued by reflecting that the Town’s budget is tight due to tough economic times, and that residential contributions help to address the community’s needs.
“It’s no secret that Cheshire does very well with people like the John G. Martin Foundation, Mr. Loehmann, and so many others in this community who give back,” Oris said.