“I want New Britain to thrive, not just survive. We need to capitalize on our strengths and engage our diverse communities to build a better New Britain.”
Building the City’s Tax Base
Under the Stewart administration the grand list grew by less than 1%, the slowest in the state. New Britain is 97% built, so growth will not come from new businesses locating on vacant land. Instead the focus must be on reuse of existing structures and environmental clean-up of contaminated areas so that they can be redeveloped. Converting old factories into small business incubators is one way to promote new business development.
Our public schools are one of our most important assets, and yet the perception of them is one of our greatest liabilities. We must do more to involve families and ensure that our students are getting an engaging and rigorous education. New Britain High School’s Heath and Finance academies are great examples of this. We need to build on this approach which combines classroom learning with internships and summer jobs at local businesses to introduce students to careers.
People judge a city by its downtown. To make downtown vibrant like Main St in Middletown or Chapel Street in New Haven, we need a combination of people living downtown as well as businesses and restaurants that are open in the evening. We should promote live music events, arts and theater to create a night life that is both safe and fun. People should want to live in a downtown apartment complex because downtown is the place to be. This all starts with creating a long-term economic development plan that intentionally builds a strong downtown.
The areas around New Britain’s three FasTrack stations are prime locations for transit oriented development. We must be intentional about this to avoid missing opportunities the way West Hartford did when they allowed a gas station to take prime land across the street from the Kane street FasTrack station.
Strengthen Neighborhood Commercial Areas
In New Britain, Arch and Broad street represent the vibrant communities of our Latino and Polish peoples. Both streets should be filled with family owned businesses by people from those respective communities. New Britain is a melting pot of people and we should be celebrating and building on it.