NEW BRITAIN - During the 35th annual meeting of the New Britain Downtown District Tuesday at the New Britain Police Department, it was announced that the organization will double the funds to be used for the façade improvement program in the 2019-2020 budget, which will be effective on July 1.
The program, which helps property owners or businesses with funding for signage, external cameras and lighting, is for improving the visual appearance of downtown New Britain. Last year, $10,000 was allocated for qualifying businesses who applied for the program. This year, the organization has doubled the amount to $20,000.
The annual meeting also highlighted achievements and projects that are in the works in downtown.
Gerry Amodio, the executive director of the Downtown District, opened the meeting by remembering Donald Courtemanche, who died last week and who had served as the executive director of the Downtown District for nine years before Amodio came on board.
Mayor Erin Stewart also spoke at the meeting about projects in downtown including the construction of Columbus Commons and the renovation of the Andrews Building.
“There is a lot of activity and also a lot of interest that is coming to the downtown area,” Stewart said. “That means feet on the street. That means the Downtown District has the ability to grow. That means that there’s going to be people living in downtown to support the businesses that are here. These are all investments that are happening because of the work that we are doing here.”
State Sen. Gennaro Bizzarro said at the meeting that although he is not a member of the Downtown District, he feels a special connection to the organization. Bizzarro said he has a commitment to making things easier for businesses to thrive and survive in the community and he understands what it means to be a business owner in this area since his law firm is located just outside the boundary of the Downtown District, he said.
Avner Krohn, CEO of Jasko Development, told the attendees about the renovation of the Andrews Building, which has the goal of meeting the demand for more apartments in downtown.
In addition, Kyle Kummer, the interim president of the Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce provided an update on the efforts to find a new permanent president. According to Kummer, the committee has gone through 104 resumes that have been narrowed down to nine individuals who were selected for interviews.
From the interviews, three final candidates will be selected and those will have to do a presentation or proposal to the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce. Kummer said they hope to name someone by mid-June.
To learn more about the New Britain Downtown District, call 860-229-0878 or visit www.newbritaindd.com .
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.