Situated in the Willimantic River Valley between almost parallel ranges of hills, the Town of Stafford is located in the northern portion of Tolland County, Connecticut. Stafford is a rural-suburban community with a population of approximately 12,000 residents covering 58 square miles. As the third largest town (land area) in the state, Stafford is distinguished by a developed downtown, commercial corridor, a growing residential community, numerous villages and hamlets, unique industrial resources, farmland, and large tracts of forested, undeveloped land. With rich historical heritage Stafford is a blend of old and new and is as unique as it diverse.
With rich historical heritage Stafford is a blend of old and new, and is as unique as it diverse. The community is host to all residential types (from single-family homes to work-live dwellings), independent businesses, a 92-bed hospital (with a level 3 trauma center and just under 700 employees), multiple comprehensive resident care centers, five schools enrolling approximately 1,545 students, a very active railroad with approximately 16 miles of rail, vast recreational amenities, and numerous manufacturing faculties that produce everything from aerospace products to textiles. While Stafford ranks in the bottom third for population density, numerous campgrounds are responsible for an approximate 2,000 seasonal-residents per year and Stafford Motor Speedway – a NASCAR facility which hosts both touring divisions and large events – draws approximately 125,000 spectators each year. Additionally, active youth and adult athletic programs, public concerts, large-scale annual events, multi-use trails, two Connecticut State Forests (the Shenipsit State Forest and the Nipmuck State Forest), and numerous lakes with public beaches attracts an ever-fluctuating tourism base.
The Town of Stafford presents an ideal location for families and companies looking for a destination. Stafford is a rural/suburban mixed community with direct and rapid access to all major Northeast cities, especially New York and Boston. Our highly trained workforce, ample clean water supply and cooperative financial institutions all contribute to a positive business climate.
Stafford has a rich historical heritage. Early on, Iron bogs and mineral springs drew indigenous peoples and settlers to the area. Incorporated in 1719, Stafford became a resort town as growing numbers of people, including President John Adams, sought out the waters’ curative powers. In the late 1800s, as the springs’ popularity declined, textile mills, a button factory, and other enterprises formed Stafford’s industrial hub. Today, with its lakes, streams, farmlands, and Shenipsit State Forest, Stafford retains its rural character.
When initially incorporated, most of the population of Stafford was concentrated in 6-7 agricultural villages. In the early 1800s, the availability of water power from the tributaries of the Willimantic River led to Stafford's industrialization and caused population shifts. By the mid-1800's, the Railroad connected Stafford to markets all across New England. Before the State Highway projects of the 1920's & 1930, there was even a Trolley connection to Rockville.
Stafford is governed by a three-member Board of Selectmen, elected by voters in odd-numbered years for two-year terms. The Town has no charter but is governed under the general statutes of the State of Connecticut, and under ordinances specific to the Town which have been adopted by popular vote at town meetings.
Stafford is served by the Connecticut State Police through the Resident State Trooper program. The town has both CSP Uniformed troopers, as well as Stafford uniformed officers . The barracks of Troop C of the State Police are located nearby, just off Interstate Highway 84 in Tolland. Full-time and part-time constables also serve with resident troopers.
Two volunteer fire departments cover Stafford, the West Stafford Fire Department and Stafford Fire Department #1. The Stafford Fire Department has two locations, one in the Staffordville district (Station 145) and the second in the Stafford Springs District (Station 245). The Town also has a volunteer ambulance organization which serves the area.
The Stafford Public Library continually offers public service programs and special events for the community. A modern sewer plant, constructed in 1972, serves about a third of the Town; the commercial and industrial areas of the Town lie largely in the Service District. Curbside pick-up of municipal refuse and recyclable materials is available within the Stafford Springs Service District.