Column: A view from the top of the city

On March 24, Seymour’s new Ladder 1 was placed into service.

On that day, I had a couple of chances to enjoy the view from the bucket: One via a ride to the top, the other via the long climb from ground level.

Let me share some of my week, though, before I share more.

When a meeting agenda reminds you of a CVS receipt, you know it is going to be a long meeting. At our most recent city council meeting, it was just that with several items on the agenda to be discussed.

New abatements totaling almost $20 million in investment were heard. Thank you to the companies that are growing and investing here in Seymour.

Another item discussed was the Curb Appeal Program. The account to hold the funds was created. Then we approved the program, and with one more vote, we transferred funds to support the first round of the program. More details can be found at along with the application.

Mix in a rezone for a new apartment complex and first reading of the sewer and trash rate and you have a few hours spent on a Monday night.

From a late night a slightly earlier morning comes. With one phone call and the discovery of a broken water line, we were sent hurtling toward major repairs at city hall.

We have seen an increase in maintenance costs when it comes to the mechanical side of our building, and now, we will have to get some larger heating and cooling items done sooner than the later-this-year time frame we were hoping for.

I have to give a round of applause to our crews from various departments when it comes to hitting this one head-on. Everyone jumped in and took care of what needed to be taken care of and saved us on future headaches related to water damage.

Last year, I had the chance to climb our recently retired Ladder 1 a time or two. I have to say the first trip up a 100-foot ladder truck is a little intimidating. Do I have the legs and lungs to make it to the top? Let’s be real, I am not in as good of shape as I used to be.

Then the bigger question: Will I mentally be able to keep pushing up that climb as the ground gets farther and farther away? Then the big unexpected hits you right at the end: Can I make it across to the bucket that is just a few rungs away?

Let me break out a few things on this. The physical side was no problem. Like I have discovered many times in life, our biggest issues are between our ears.

My first climb, I was most of the way up when a fireman shared that I could hold onto the gussets that each rung has to get my hand around it better and feel a little more secure. Thanks for that knowledge. It does help with that battle in my head.

Even with that information, you still realize the truck is now out of sight without looking down and the view is really getting much better because it is less obstructed than before. OK great, I am making my way up each section and pretty comfortable with it.

Then you get just a few rungs from the top and realize you will have to transfer from the ladder to the bucket over a very open section of the climb. Deep breath and a nonverbal pep talk and off you go and get to enjoy the view from the top.

Fast forward to the second trip up and it is a little easier. No, the muscles still hurt and the lungs burn about the same, but that last little piece isn’t as daunting as it was before.

Fast forward to my first climb on the new Ladder 1, which also happened to be at night. Welcome to a whole different set of thoughts for this trip up.

Thinking about if the transfer from ladder to bucket was different for better or worse. Thinking about even with the great red, white and blue rung lights if the darkness would change anything. No worries, though. I have always been a get-going type of person, and off I went for another chance to see the view from the top.

The transfer at the top is better on the new truck, and I believe the climb was possibly mentally easier for me after I cleared the truck being in my view below.

I share these thoughts today to encourage you to push forward because if H.P. Lovecraft is correct, we won’t leave much unknown by taking the next step: "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].