Mayoral Views – Alderman Mark Bernacki (R)
The New Britain City Journal is asking candidates for Mayor questions every three weeks related to the City. It is our hope this will give residents time to understand their views and make a proper choice for mayor. The question posed to candidates this week was “How would you plan to help revitalize downtown?” The following candidates responded to our question.
As Mayor, I will welcome any and all potential developers to invest in New Britain and downtown. While the economic uncertainty in Connecticut will be a great challenge in attracting private investment to New Britain I know what it takes to be successful in New Britain and have the skills, background and education in business and city government. This experience enables me to deal with people that are willing to invest in realizing the American dream of owning a successful small business or locating a major factory or business here.
During my years on the City Council I have supported a stable tax rate, balanced budgets, supported the police station being built downtown, supported the Downtown District and CCSU/ITBD in all their efforts in attracting people downtown, was the driving force in establishing the parking authority to make it easier for customers to park downtown, supported significant downtown infrastructure improvements, and have been an ardent supporter of economic development throughout the City and supported Target, Super Stop & Shop, Shop Rite (Stanley Street), Walgreens, Achieve Financial and the sale of key Broad Street parcels to Farmington Bank and the Polam Credit Union.
Eighty percent of Connecticut’s economy is driven by small businesses that employ 20 or less people. As an entrepreneur and small business owner in downtown New Britain for over 20 years it is vitally important for New Britain to maintain a stable tax rate, a vibrant downtown and provide the products and services necessary to attract people downtown. It is equally important that our high schools and college provide the curriculum necessary in making our youth employable for these businesses to hire.
I have supported and encouraged entrepreneurs like Jasko Development to purchase historic but blighted and abandoned downtown properties and restore them to their prominence. Because of this businesses like Vito’s, Leaves and Pages, Negritas, Subway and the soon to open Chinese Buffet have made significant financial investments in locating their businesses downtown.
Downtown has become a magnet for the arts and cultural activities. I have supported, both professionally and personally, Trinity on Main and the Hole in the Wall Theater. These two venues have drawn thousands of people downtown. As Mayor I will work closely with the New Britain Downtown District to assist in their marketing, development and beautification efforts in making downtown a fantastic place to own and operate a business.
Every consideration and proposal must be heard and evaluated before our elected leaders pass judgment on developers looking to invest tens of millions of dollars in our community. I have been dismayed by members of the opposite party that have been openly hostile to developers and small businesses looking to establish roots or expand in New Britain. Too many lost opportunities have hurt New Britain’s image as a business friendly community.
As Mayor I will maintain an open door policy to any and all private sector investment, will work hard to gain the trust and confidence of developers and small business owners and provide a business friendly atmosphere in City Hall to truly make New Britain the place to start and grow a business.