To the Editor:
2019 was a year of amazing transformation and successes for our community.
Over the last year, more than a dozen new businesses opened in New Britain. A handful of others decided to expand their presence here in the City with renovations and additions. These new businesses and expansions led to our Grand List growing for the fifth consecutive year in a row…that’s something to cheer about!
Did I mention this year’s budget contained no tax increase?
Some businesses, like Security Uniforms, celebrated major milestones, having been in operation for 100 years!
At our Police Department, Chief James Wardwell retired, leading to the promotions of Christopher Chute to Chief and Jeanette Portalatin to Deputy Chief-making her the highest ranking female in New Britain Police Department history.
At CCSU, my alma mater, many new changes came to the campus, including the opening of a new Liberal Arts and Social sciences building, along with the dedication of a building in honor of the college’s first African American graduate: Ebenezer Bassett. We also added a plaque downtown to mark the site of the Connecticut State Normal School, the institution that grew into CCSU.
Throughout 2019, we worked hard to make City Hall more accessible and transparent with the continuation of my Facebook series 40 Live, along with our Mobile Mayor’s Office, which was held at various locations all across the City. In January, we also held a water summit to highlight all that our Water Department does for the community.
Bees took flight all across the community with the launch of Bees Across New Britain, a public art project we undertook in partnership with the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance.
In our parks and in our downtown, we saw a whole host of new developments and buildings undergoing renovations. AW. Stanley Park got a brand new pool. There were also renovations at Chesley Park, on Eddy Glover Boulevard, and at Stanley Quarter Park.
The first phase of Columbus Commons, at the site of the former PD, is nearly complete. The former Hatch insurance building on Washington Street is getting a historic makeover. Hospital for Special Care broke ground on a new addition and Polamer Precision purchased the remaining 27 acres in the Pinnacle Business Park, an expansion project that will bring 600 new employees.
Several blighted buildings around town have been torn down, bringing new life to our neighborhoods. Children in the North Oak area attended a brand new school this fall, following the renovation of Smalley Elementary School.
The Beehive Bridge opened in September, marking the start of a new era for New Britain. This project was the culmination of many years of planning and community input; the response from residents and visitors has been positive!
The first phase of the $1 billion Energy and Innovation Park is underway. This one of a kind project will help to establish New Britain as a leader in in clean energy technology, as we prepare to become host to the world’s largest indoor-fuel cell-powered data center.
We continued our work in being a compassionate community. We ended chronic family homelessness, started a new task force to battle the opioid epidemic, and held a golf tournament that raised more than $30,000 for local charities. I was also fortunate to receive an Ebenezer Bassett Humanitarian award from CCSU, in recognition of the efforts we made as a city to recognize this trailblazing educator.
It was a lively year in other areas, too. Senator Gennaro Bizzarro was elected during a special election; the President of Poland and his wife visited in September; and on November 5, voters elected me to a fourth term as your Mayor!
I’m so proud of all the amazing work we have accomplished over the last year. I know that 2020 will be even bigger. Here’s to 2020!
Mayor of New Britain