NEW BRITAIN – After announcing he would step down from his position, Gerry Amodio reflected on his time working to revitalize the Downtown District and how New Britain has evolved in the last 12 years.
Amodio is stepping down from his role as executive director of the New Britain Downtown District at the end of February. In his time, Amodio has run the city’s Business Improvement District (BID), served by being on the CCND and City Plan Commissions, the Mattabassett Wastewater Treatment Center board, the Central CT Regional Tourism Board and being a Justice of the Peace and Notary Public where he helped property owners.
In an interview with the Herald, Amodio said both personally and professionally he felt it was the right time to end his time with the Downtown District.
Amodio said he is proud of the work he has done, but the introduction of the covid pandemic made him consider other opportunities. He said while he is considering other consulting jobs in the future, right now he wants to take some time to decompress. Amodio said immediately after he leaves his role he wants to spend time with his family.
“I really want to just step back. I want to absorb the last 12 years,” Amodio said. “This job allowed me to do so many different things.”
In the past 12 years, Amodio believes there were three aspects of collaboration at a macro-level that could be attributed to the Downtown District’s success. He said there was a group of people that saw a vision for what New Britain could be. Amodio said the city’s decision to work with Jasko Development was an important first step and eventually attracted other developers to work with the city. When CTFastrak stations were built in the city it opened the door for funding related to transit-oriented development. Amodio said the funding provided the resources that allowed the city to invest in the downtown area and the city. He also attributed much of the success to Mayor Erin Stewart.
“[Stewart] saw that and put together a team who went out and got the money, that transit-oriented development money, and put it into the downtown,” Amodio said.
Amongst the number of downtown developmental successes, Amodio pointed to obtaining the status as a Historical District for the downtown, the new Police Station on Chestnut Street, The Brit at 222 on Main, the Rao and the Raphael Building and Andrew’s Building adaptive re-use projects as significant milestones in the city’s history. With the addition of new restaurants, housing developments and aesthetic changes throughout the city, he believes public perception of New Britain is changing. Amodio said vibrant cities have vibrant downtowns.
“You’re going to see a vibrance and rebirth in coffee shops, art galleries, performing arts centers…,” Amdio said. “As a resident what that means is people are going to look and say, ‘I want to go there.’”
Amodio said the city is in a transitional time where he expects to see much growth downtown within three to five years . He expects to see another 500 to 700 people living in the downtown area and up to 2,000 additional people working in the city. Amodio believes another person can dedicate time and resources to the next cycle of growth within the area.
“It's really about facilitating relationships with others. I think that a new person can come in and do that function and all these good things can happen,” Amodio said.