As the City looks to continue renovating it’s streetscape plan throughout downtown, Democratic Senatorial Candidate Sharon Beloin-Saavedra took a walk with the Mayor Tuesday to see what is being done and how she can help if elected.
Mayor Erin Stewart conducted the tour, the only tour requested by a candidate or any member of the legislative delegation since the project began in 2009.
“We had Gov. (Dannel) Malloy come twice and Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner (James) Redeker twice and nobody came. It was myself and members of the City Council. This is definitely concerning because these are people we need advocating for more funding for us,” said Stewart. “We want people who know what is going on. Would I like to have a relationship with a legislator who comes and advocates with me? Yes. Would it help? Absolutely.”
Saavedra, who is running against Theresa Gerratana in a primary for the 6th District on Aug. 9 said, “There should not be any politics in how we advocate for our City’s needs.”
The Streetscape Project presently has six phases.
“One goal to make the area more accessible to pedestrians and make it so cars are forced to calm down,” said Stewart.
The tour of Phase 4 included the area around Columbus Boulevard and Bank St. It is a $4 million project with the City paying 10 percent.
Bank St. and Columbus Boulevard will become one-way streets. The CT Transit stops will be on Columbus Boulevard right next to CT Transit.
“The people who use it do not have to walk out and around to use the bus,” said Stewart. “The brick walls will be removed.”
A roundabout will be placed in the middle of the intersection. The Milewski Monument will be placed in the center of the roundabout. It will be uprooted, cleaned and may be fixed to have a water fountain.
The City is also advocating for a walkway directly from the parking garage to the CTFastrak. Presently, the walkway is quite a distance from the garage.
“It’s a lot of navigating to get on the bus,” Saavedra said. “It’s a nice walk, but what about in the winter.”
“We need to make it easier for people to use. A walkway right across would be ideal,” said Stewart. “We do a special price at the garage for people using the CTFastrak.”
A downtown clock will be in the center of the area that says Welcome to New Britain.
“It will be a London style clock,” said Stewart. “There are also spaces under the garage that we can rent out. They need some build out, but if we find a tenant we can work with them. We will build to suit.”
The next phase is the Beehive Bridge.
Although the City has received millions of dollars from the State and Federal government for the projects, more is needed.
“We keep getting more attention from the state for our ability to get a grant and finish the project in a timely manner. There are reasons we are getting grants. We are getting it and spending it and they are seeing the results,” said Mayor Stewart. “Party should not matter when you are trying to get something for the City accomplished. There is no Republican or Democratic way. We need partners here in City Hall to be advocates and not try to fight us at every turn.”
“I want to be a partner. Erin and I worked really well together on the board of education and party politics never interfered in our relationship. I think if I am lucky to get elected I would be a good partner with the Mayor,” said Saavedra. “We are playing for the same team. Not a political team, but Team New Britain.”