St. Jude: ‘After seeing the facts, it was easy to get behind this project.’

To the Editor:

What do “Spray Painted Trees” and St. Jude project have in common?

Approximately 18 months or so ago, an idea from Save Our Stepney came before Town Council. The idea was
to “spray paint trees” throughout Stepney and Monroe during the summer months. In all honesty, my
first reaction to this notion was “NO”.

Then a funny thing happened, Joel Lenneker came in and pitched the idea to Town Council. He presented all the positives, potential increased visitors, and operating details of the project. He brought the proposal to life with facts, and details.

Quite frankly, Joel crushed the presentation. So much so, I went from “NO” to “Heck Yeah.” Then Covid came
along, and the project had to be postponed. I hope this project is brought back to life soon.

Fast forward to the Special Town Meeting this past Monday whereby the St. Jude project was coming up for a vote. Again, when I originally heard about this project, I was less than enthusiastic about it.

My diminished enthusiasm for this project remained up to the point where First Selectman Ken Kellogg presented the details of the project to Town Council with the detailed explanation of the facts. Facts that included cost of the project, the various phases of the project, the potential revenue generation, the length of time between the various phases and their costs, so on, and so on.

Particularly impressive was the part of the first selectman’s presentation whereby he pointed out the
initial funds for the project were going to come from the undesignated fund balance. The first
selectman graphically laid out what the current undesignated fund balance was and how much above the reserve limits set out by Board of Finance we were, which is required emergency purposes.

Simply put, after seeing the facts, it was easy to get behind this project. Town Council agreed and passed it in a bipartisan vote to bring this proposal to a town vote.

There have been a number of voices in town asking that more undesignated fund balance money go to projects which would benefit the town, and its constituency. This is one such project, that in my opinion meets this parameter.

Like the “Spray Painted Trees”, the St. Jude project made and makes sense. I urge those in town to call up the PowerPoint presentation that the first selectman gave, and review for yourself the merits of this project.

I also urge those of you who may be less than happy with process, to become more involved with your town by contacting your DTC or RTC for ideas on how to become more involved in the process. Our town needs smart, motivated individuals in all capacities to make Monroe successful.

Thank you.

Sean O’Rourke,
Town Council member

All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.


  1. Purchasing OLD St. Jude School with structural, environmental, no septic system and who knows what else will come up is opening up Pandora’s box!
    End goal as finally admitted by Selectman when pressured by resident, expansion of Town Hall as “offices are too tight and employees need more room”
    Residents will end up with another gymnasium. I believe we already have these in our schools! MR. SELECTMAN YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY OUT! All of this should have been handled by the incoming Selectman who is going to have to deal with all the decisions you are making now. Most residents were not aware of this vote, no signs posted around town, 5 days notices in the Voices newspaper as stated in Charter. Maybe the Charter needs to be updated. How many residents get this paper? 71 people, many from town boards who knew each other, made the decision for 20,000 residents. IS THIS DEMOCRACY?????

  2. IT is wrong to buy this property. $3M will turn out to be a lot more and just to have extra office space. We will not have this project look like a social center the way Newtown has theirs… so to me it’s just another way to spend more money for town space – more employees – and more of a tax loss. Again it’s not a social center and if it trully becomes this your talking 6 to 10M$. To get it up this point. No matter how much business comes to Monroe the more we spend. Right now is not a time not to spend. It’s a time to buckle up as most homeowners are feeling the inflation on too many things.. food, electric, etc… interest rates etc..

    Why heat another building?

    Shocked at the small turn out and a rigged voter system. Then again not a lot of people in town are informed properly of all the decisions that are taking place. News are not getting to all. The Monroe sun and voices don’t cut it.. in my opinion and taking a Vote with minimal notice to all is wrong!!!

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