Letter: PZC secretary remembers late Southington activist

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To the editor:

Last week, Southington lost a great citizen. For those of you who ever attended any town meeting in the past decade or more, you know who Art Cyr was. Of course he accomplished much more and served many other roles, but this was the facet in which I knew him.

My first encounter with him was at a Town Council meeting 8-plus years ago where he came up to the podium and spoke…and spoke…and I thought, wow he is really concerned about this. A few months later when I joined our Planning and Zoning commission, there he was in the audience again.

The first several meetings I noticed each time he spoke for a very lengthy amount of time about various topics. It was then that I then began to wonder, doesn’t this man have anything better to do with his time than attend all of these town meetings and comment on each topic? Well, over the years it became very apparent to me that actually, no, he didn’t. Attending the town meetings and keeping us in line was his agenda, and he was committed.

Whether I agreed with him or not, I had to respect the fact that he knew more about what was happening at any given meeting than any person in that room. That was his priority. At no point in time did he ever apologize for his stance on any topic because, he, unlike many people actually took the time (a lot of time) out of his day to attend EVERY meeting this town scheduled. He took notes, very detailed notes, and knew every site, every proposal, everything. It was truly remarkable to witness.

Later, It came time for me to run my own committee, our 2016 POCD. As expected, Art was there for every meeting. I felt humbled by his presence because he brought extensive knowledge to our plan. I was humbled even more when he came to me at its conclusion and whispered, “This is a great plan.” He approved, and that meant a lot.

Recently, towards the end, he could no longer attend our meetings due to his illness, and I noticed the empty seat in the back each time. It deeply saddened me that our one true audience member would soon leave this earth and never know how appreciated he was.

I sure know I did appreciate him, and that seat in the back will always be empty to me because there will be no one with his level of commitment to fill it.

Jennifer Clock, Secretary of the Southington Planning and Zoning Commission

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