New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Arch Street Community Gets Together to Build a Better Block


Various businesses and community groups got together Saturday holding a vendor fair to get the Arch Street community together to highlight the positive qualities of the neighborhood.

“This is the first year. We are partnering with New Britain Neighborhood Housing Services and St. John’s Lutheran Church,” Elaine Lechowicz from the Arch Street NRZ. “ It’s just a beginning.”

Vendors from New Hope at Calvary, Queen Nzinga Center, New Britain NHS, Arch Area NRZ, Hartford Healthcare Center for Healthy Aging, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, the National Guard and more were on hand. Free food, musical entertainment, children’s activities took place at the Stephen Carey Park.

“It’s a great event. A lot of organizations showed up. A lot of people and free food which is always great. It has been a wonderful time,” said Carmelo Rodriguez of The New Britain Latino Coalition. “We are looking forward to getting the community and people to come down and get to know Barrio Latino North Street.”

Vendors passed out information, a face painting for children took place, cultural dancing occurred and other events were held indoors at St. John’s Evangical Lutheran Church as well.

“We are showing people information on home ownership. We have free workshops. We’ve offer counseling,” said. Latisha Jones of New Britain NHS. “We can determine your readiness. If you are not quite ready they will determine a workplan. We can access your financial fitness and put you on the right path.”

Even the executive director of the New Britain Neighborhood Housing Services John Kukiuka took part as he grilled hamburgs and hot dogs for attendees.

“We do this because we are part of the Arch street NRZ and we very much support them. We just want to help,” Kukulka said. “I’m the grillmaster.”

Alan Totire, a pastor at New Hope Cavalry Church said they wanted to reach out to the community to share the love of Jesus and network with others.

Mayor Erin Stewart said she was glad to be a part of the event as she spoke to the crowd.

“I am very proud of the Arch Street NRZ for being able to put this event together. It is really important to bring all areas of our community together to have a fun and safe family day,” said Mayor Stewart. “If all of our neighborhoods did this, we would be in good shape. Little Poland started off with people who lived in the neighborhood and were stakeholders. The neighborhood wanted to take back their neighborhood with small events like and look what it turned into – 120 small businesses and a tourist destination.”

Overall organizers said they were happy with the event and turnout on a hot and humid day.

“It’s gone really good. We have been planning this event since February,” said Erin Marceno of the Arch Street Area NRZ. “It’s been a real group effort to bring so many groups in the community together. The businesses and school helped for art projects. We wanted to make it family focused. This park is underutilized.”

Upcoming events for the group can be found at their Facebook group – Arch Area Neighborhood Revitalization Zone – NRZ.