NEW BRITAIN - The city has been selected to take part in an initiative that addresses economic development, employment, housing and education around streets named after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Through this broad community partnership, we have the potential to spur real change and development in the areas designated under the MLK Corridor Initiative,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “By engaging key stakeholders and developers, we can help to bring to fruition Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for a vibrant community.”
Middletown and Norwalk were also selected to take part in the program created by former Gov. Dan Malloy and the state legislature. Faith, Restoration, Empowerment and Economic Development Outreach Ministries was selected to implement the program by the Connecticut Department of Banking and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.
On Thursday, the steering committee which includes Co-Chair Mayor Erin Stewart, Co-Chair Pastor Dale Shaw of Black Ministers Alliance of New Britain and Pastor Carmelo Rodriguez of New Britain Latino Coalition took a bus ride around Martin Luther King Drive and surrounding neighborhoods to view the area with a common eye and discuss its potential to spur economic activity.
“We think that we have good bones in New Britain which creates great opportunities for investment,” said Pastor Carl Mccluster, a steering committee member. According to Mccluster, there is no prescribed amount of money to be granted.
The plans being made by the steering committee will include increased investment through community engagement, streetscape improvements, façade upgrades, signage and way-finding improvements, according to a statement from the mayor’s office. They will also factor in resources supporting small businesses, homeownership and new businesses.
“What this initiative means is that New Britain is now at the top of the list of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities for access to either existing funds and also for creating hybrid programs that will address the unique needs of urban centers in Connecticut,” said Mccluster. “We hope to model here what we can do in other urban centers in Connecticut.”
Program sponsors include Banking Commissioner Connecticut, Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Department of Housing, Connecticut Department of Labor, CEDF, KeyBank, Liberty Bank and Connecticut Fair Housing Center.
A town hall will be announced next month for the community to view the plans and give feedback.
Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or .