NEW BRITAIN - Arrangements, security and last minute details related to Sunday’s much anticipated visit by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and his spouse, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, to the Hardware City are in the final stages.
The U.S. Secret Service attended a meeting with city police and other law enforcement authorities on Thursday to discuss logistics and safety concerns for both Duda and the thousands of locals expected to turn out to greet the foreign head of state.
According to the latest information available Friday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, Mayor Erin Stewart and other local and state officials as well as Honorary Polish Consul Darek Barcikowski will be welcoming Duda to the city. Barcikowski was instrumental in arranging the president’s visit.
The president and his wife will attend a Mass at Holy Cross Church at 1 p.m. They will then travel to Central Connecticut State University to view the Polish-American archive and book collection.
The university has a Polish Studies Department established in 1974 and an endowed chair as part of the university’s commitment to the Polish community in the city. CCSU President Zulma Toro will be in attendance for the school visit and the remainder of Duda’s trip.
Following the visit to CCSU - which is not open to the public - and if time permits, Duda will stop by Sacred Heart Cemetery in a private event, where there is a memorial to the Katyn Forest Massacre honoring the more than 11,000 Polish soldiers who were executed during World War II.
He will then head to Walnut Hill Park for the 3 p.m. meet-and-greet which is open to all who have registered to attend by visiting www.presidentdudact.com .
It is unclear if the president will visit any of the shops or businesses in Little Poland. But most businesses in the area plan to keep regular Sunday hours.
New Britain police announced street closures and security requirements for the meet-and-greet at Walnut Hill Park.
For those attending the event in the park, the following items will not be allowed inside: lawn furniture; signs with any type of affixed stick or handle; handbags; book bags; backpacks; purses; alcohol; weapons; knives; firearms; bicycles; scooters; dogs, and drones.
There will be a separation between Duda and attendees during the event, and any personal handshaking with the dignitary throughout the entire day likely will not be possible, police said.
For those driving around the city on Sunday, there will be road closures enforced by city police with help from state police and the Hartford police Traffic Division. Duda will be traveling in a motorcade, which will be managed by members of the Polish equivalent of the U.S. Secret Service.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the following closures will be in place:
n Farmington Avenue between Allen Street and Commonwealth Avenue (Northbound traffic will be diverted east onto Allen Street and southbound traffic will be diverted east onto Commonwealth Avenue.)
n Biruta Street between Farmington Avenue and Burritt Street.
n High Street between Brown Street and Biruta Street (Northbound traffic will be diverted west onto Brown Street.)
n Burritt Street between Brown Street and Osgood Avenue. (Northbound traffic will be diverted east onto Brown Street.)
n Osgood Avenue between Corbin Avenue and Farmington Avenue (There will be no travel east or west on this section of Osgood Avenue.)
From 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
n All entrances and exits to Walnut Hill Park will be closed.
n No vehicles will be allowed in the park for the duration of this event.
n Grant Street will have a soft closure at Camp Street.
n The Hospital of Central Connecticut will be fully accessible - Emergency Department, main entrance and parking garage.
n There will be signage indicating how to gain access.
n Grand Street will be closed from Linwood Street to Walnut Hill Park Road.
Police also released parking information:
n On-street parking is available on all streets adjacent to Walnut Hill Park. Check signage for restricted parking. Blocking driveways and double parking is prohibited. Violators are subject to fines and towing.
n Parking is available at all city parking garages which includes the New Britain Szczesny Garage at 35 Bank St., Badolato Parking Garage at 25 Washington St., and the Courthouse Garage or Linda Blogoslawski Garage at 14 Franklin Square. Residents are strongly encouraged to park here and walk to the park for the meet-and-greet.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut says its normal operations will not be interrupted by the visit. However, patients and visitors will see increased security on Sunday.