NEW BRITAIN – After a contentious week of allegations that officials are ignoring blight in the North and Oak Streets neighborhood, city Common Council Pro Tem Eva Magnuszewski and newly elected council member Iris Sanchez will go with residents on a “walk-through” Saturday morning to document problems.
“We are doing this so we could be solution oriented to find what can be done to improve the quality of life of the people who live there,” said Magnuszewski who was re-elected to the council in November after taking two years off from politics.
The walk-through was prompted by calls for help from Oak Street area resident Annette Velez who challenged North Oak Neighborhood Revitalization Zone members Monday night to seek more city input to correct problems such as blight and crime. Velez’s campaign to get city officials to move quicker to address problems took an explosive turn Wednesday when she revealed Chamber of Commerce President Tim Stewart said on social media that “inmates are running the neighborhood” during a Facebook exchange with her.
Velez and Democrats called for Stewart’s resignation but the Board of Directors of the Chamber instead opted to keep the former mayor on. Ron Davis, President of the New Britain Chapter of the NAACP also called for Stewart’s resignation Friday. In a pointed press release, Davis also asked Mayor Erin Stewart, Tim’s daughter, to secure monies to open and maintain small, minority-owned businesses in the North Oak neighborhood.
“We further demand the city of New Britain follow up with the complaints noted but its residents regarding the deplorable conditions that have a negative impact on their quality of life,” Davis said. “We consider it a high priority that these conditions be attended to and fixed immediately.”
The walk-through will kick off at 10 a.m. from the HRA Center at 35 Oak St. Saturday.