Town hall-style meeting Thursday to discuss plans for MLK Drive

Published on Wednesday, 5 June 2019 21:32
Written by Michelle France


NEW BRITIAN - “Let your voice be heard” is the message being circulated regarding a town hall meeting today that will discuss local plans for the Martin Luther King Jr. Corridors Initiative.

The meeting is scheduled for at 6 p.m. today at the Center for Excellence, 57 Fern St.

Earlier this year, the city was selected to take part in the initiative that was created to respond to adverse conditions in neighborhoods with streets named after King. The program focuses on spurring economic development, education, housing and workforce development in these areas.

For New Britain, this means the city will receive funding for projects to redevelop areas on and near Martin Luther King Drive in the northeastern part of the city.

“It’s an exciting time for New Britain,” said the Rev. Carl McCluster, a steering committee member. “We have been told to come forward with the needs of the community and tell them how we can become the city that we were meant to be. Ask and let them tell us no.”

The initiative will be funded by three state organizations: the Department of Banking, the Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Department of Labor, which have set aside money from their overall budgets to fund the initiative, McCluster said.

Faith, Restoration, Empowerment and Economic Development Outreach Ministries was selected to implement the program.

According to McCluster, there is no set limit to what the city can ask for.

“Citizens need to get out and speak for themselves,” McCluster said on Tuesday. “Leaders are at the table and ready to collaborate and advocate at a state level. Our representatives need to know what we think in order to represent us well. Now is the time to show up and speak up.”

Sponsors, including Liberty Bank and KeyBank, will provide further funding for the projects.

State legislators, steering committee members including co-chairwoman Mayor Erin Stewart, co-chairman Pastor Dale Shaw of Black Ministers Alliance and Pastor Carmelo Rodriguez of the Latino Coalition are expected at the town hall.

“We are excited about being in a partnership to help better our community surrounding Martin Luther King Drive,” said Shaw. “We are trying to create more opportunities to better our neighborhoods and to give our communities some hope - so they know that there are some people thinking about them and wanting to help them do a little better.”

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Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or at

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Wednesday, 5 June 2019 21:32. Updated: Wednesday, 5 June 2019 21:34.