The need for community-based transportation was first discussed during community focus group meetings in the summer of 2005 as part of the Enfield Senior Center Strategic planning sessions and again in the spring of 2006 as part of the Enfield Department of Social Services Strategic Plan process. Improved access to affordable transportation for seniors and disabled individuals was the number one concern expressed by community members, other social service providers, and Strategic Planning Committee members.
In 2006, Pamela Brown initiated discussions in North Central Connecticut in response to senior requests for a more responsive transportation program. An introductory planning meeting to discuss a proposed transportation project was held at the Enfield Senior Center on June 2, 2006. Five towns were represented and five other towns expressed interest in joining a partnership. All the towns recognized the need for affordable transportation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as critical to the seniors in their communities. At the meeting, two area non-profits, Allied Rehabilitation Centers, Inc., and the Enfield Housing Authority agreed to be collaborating partners, offering expertise in establishing a program.
In October 2006, the State of Connecticut awarded a $50,000 start-up grant to establish a transportation program in North Central Connecticut. The State of Connecticut required a $25,000 community match for the grant. Discussions were underway to become an affiliate of ITNAmerica. Fundraising efforts began, as well as community outreach to publicize the program.
The first official board meeting was held in January 2007; by March 2007 the $25,000 state match was met with donations from The Hartford Foundation, Senior Citizen Bus Committee of Enfield, United Way of North Central Connecticut, as well as generous business and community donations. By late summer of 2007 a total of $70,000 was raised in addition to the $50,000 grant.
In September 2007 Katherine Freund visited North Central Connecticut to raise awareness. Community forums were held in three of the towns to be served, as well as a dinner with Board members and a presentation to the Enfield Rotary Club. Residents of North Central Connecticut were becoming aware and getting excited about the upcoming program. ITNNorthCentralConnecticut signed their affiliate agreement with ITNAmerica in September 2007.
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