ERIN STEWART: Bright future lies ahead for the City of New Britain

Published on Friday, 19 November 2021 13:43

New Britain Mayor

The excitement of the election is now behind us, my sleeves are rolled up, and my team is already hard at work making the City of New Britain a thriving destination for people to live, work and play.

Improving the quality of life for all New Britain residents is at the core of every decision I make as your mayor. I certainly did not need any additional incentive to make this community a better place, but nothing motivates me more than the thought of my daughter being able to grow up in the very same city that has given me everything. I want her, and all of the children in our city, to have every opportunity for the most successful and fulfilling lives possible right here in New Britain.

It just takes a glance outside to see the incredible progress we have made together since I first took office. Where there once was blight, there are now businesses and buildings. Areas that used to be a haven for crime are now places for farmers’ markets, outdoor events and community gatherings. New Britain used to be referred to as a city in decline, but is now one of the most shining examples of a city on the rise.

Almost nothing we do will have a greater impact on the future of our residents than our efforts to bring our school facilities into the 21st century. We have finished complete renovations at Gaffney and Smalley schools and we are doing the same at Chamberlain as we speak. Once that is done, we will turn our attention to Holmes.

But we have seen that no amount of first-class bricks, first-class desks or first-class technology can guarantee a first-class education. The sad truth is that while there is so much greatness happening in our city, our school system continues to underperform when compared to the rest of the state.

The recent election results gave both this city government and the board of education a mandate to do everything within our respective powers to turnaround our schools, and that means having some difficult conversations and accepting the reality that throwing more money at the problem is not enough.

We need a comprehensive plan that fundamentally changes the way that education is delivered in New Britain. I want to be part of shaping that plan. There isn’t a single “good town” out there that doesn’t have “good schools.” New Britain is a great city, so greatness in our school system is absolutely achievable with the proper commitments and willingness to change from all parties involved.

Thankfully, the residents of this city share in our collective desire to bring brighter days back to the Beehive. There is a shared belief in bipartisan, results-driven government that gives everyone from every neighborhood a seat at the table. Together we have, and will continue to, accomplish great things for New Britain.

These next two years should be a triumph of collaboration between the most diverse group of leaders this city has ever seen. Just because we are through another election cycle does not mean we change course, the work shall continue.

By working together, we can solve any problem and we can continue to set this city on a path to prosperity that will be felt in all our neighborhoods in every corner of this town for years to come.

Erin Stewart is the mayor of New Britain

Posted in New Britain Herald, Columns, New Britain on Friday, 19 November 2021 13:43. Updated: Friday, 19 November 2021 13:46.