PROSPECT — Mayor Robert Chatfield is an early riser.
Chatfield leaves his house at about 4 a.m. and heads to Dunkin’ Donuts on New Haven Road where he gets a newspaper from with his longtime friend, Joe Thompson. He reads the newspaper in his car and stays at Dunkin’ Donuts until about 5:15 a.m. when he heads into his office in Town Hall. At 5:30 a.m., Chatfield gives his wife a wakeup call and gets to work before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.
Chatfield follows this morning routine Monday through Saturday. On Saturdays, though, he only spends about an hour in Town Hall before heading to the Prospect Volunteer Fire Department, where he’s been a member for over 50 years and serves as day commander.
It’s a routine that Chatfield will continue for at least another term. The 76-year-old Republican and Prospect native is running unopposed for his 22nd straight term as mayor.
After graduating from Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury, Chatfield served in the U.S. Air Force from 1961 to 1965, including three years in Germany. When he returned to Prospect, he worked various jobs, including at Sikorsky, plowing roads in the winter, and in school bus operations.
Chatfield was elected to the Town Council in 1973 and served about a year and a half. Four years later, he ran for mayor and has held the office since.
When asked why he continues to run after all these years, Chatfield replied, “People. I know it sounds corny, but the love of the town.”
Chatfield added he still has energy and there are more things he wants to accomplish. The top of his to-do list includes buying the last property on Center Street that isn’t owned by the town, making plans to dispose of the Grange and how to use the site in the future, and completing a minor addition to the Prospect Senior Center.
Chatfield considers Center Street, where the town amenities like the Town Green, senior center, Prospect Public Library and Prospect Community Center are, the center of town. The town owns all the properties along Center Street, except for the house across from the police department.
Chatfield wants to work toward securing the final property to preserve the center of town and prevent a potential commercial business from opening up on Center Street in the future.
The Grange building is also on Center Street. The town closed the building after the Prospect Community Center — the former Community School — opened in early 2017. The Grange isn’t in use and has fallen into disrepair. Chatfield said it needs to be demolished and officials need to discuss what to do with the land after the building is gone.
Chatfield credited his decades-long run as mayor, in part, to being visible and active around town.
“I guess I’d say I’m Prospect’s biggest cheerleader,” he said.
Chatfield said his success can also be attributed to the people he works with, particularly his fellow Republicans in office. Republicans have held a majority on the Town Council for years.
“They have been part of the reason I’ve been so successful, surrounding myself with good people whether it be elected officials or employees,” he said.