Mayor, City Finally Make the Right Move On Aquinas Property
The former Saint Thomas Aquinas High School at East and Kelsey streets has been an eye sore and a public safety hazard for years. Sold by the Archdiocese after it became vacant, absentee, out-of-state owners neglected the property and the building’s deterioration made the for lease/sale sign a cruel joke to the neighbors and the many alumni who share memories of the parochial school.
In past years the Stewart Administration held fruitless meetings with representatives of New York City-based Seventy Four Kelsey LLC only to see the building’s deterioration and the threat to the neighborhood grow. Mayor Stewart should get the credit for finally wresting control of the property for what should be a likely demolition once a plan for the property is developed.
A May 2007 blog commentary suggested that demolition would be appropriate, and greater efforts to secure federal community development funds an appropriate strategy if money from the limited CDBG budget could be found.
State Rep. Tim O’Brien (D-24), who has differed with the Stewart administration on blight issues, also applauded the move but reiterated that the city has not done all it can to address the problem. Stated O’Brien: “Our City Hall has, unfortunately, not been using all the legal tools it has to address chronic blighted buildings. Mayor Stewart argued against using foreclosure as a means for the city to take control of this building. But state law, for example, also allows the city to take blighted buildings by eminent domain. If the city used a strong anti-blight ordinance to aggressively levy fines and fees for all of the many, many blighted conditions on a chronic blighted property, it would not take long for these fines and fees to add up to more than the value of the property. The city would then be owed more by the property owner than the city would be required to pay in taking the property by eminent domain. So the city would then, very quickly, have control of the property and be in a position make it a part of positive change for its neighborhood and the city as a whole.”
Both the Courant and Herald have followed the blighted Aquinas issue through the years and they covered the city’s takeover action last week:
Courant coverage: http://www.courant.com/community/new-britain/hc-new-britain-aquinas-0903-20100902,0,1376076.story
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On The Calendar
Newington Democrats of the Year Dinner September 16th
The Newington Democratic Town Committee will holds its “Democrat of the Year Dinner” on Thursday, September 16th at the Hawthorne Inn, 2421 Berlin Turnpike in Berlin beginning with a 6 pm reception and 7 pm dinner.
The dinner will recognize three individuals: Tom Bowen, former Council Leader and Chair of the Open Space Committee for Democrat of the Year honors; Town chairwoman Carol Anest for the Mary Banach Woman in Leadership Award, and: Theresa Claffey for the Chairman’s Award.
Cost of the dinner is $65 pp. Information: Louise 860-667-2439.
NAACP Freedom Dinner Saturday September 25th at CCSU
The 2010 Freedom Fund Dinner of the New Britain branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) will be held Saturday, September 25th at 6 p.m. The event will be held at CCSU’s Alumni Hall.
“We need to be mindful of organizations and groups actively engaged in attempting to derail, undermine and in some instances, reverse the rights and liberties we enjoy today,” said Branch President Ron Davis. “We ask you to join us so battles that were fought long and hard by those before us will not be in vain or forgotten. We all must do our part collectively to secure a safe, fair and equitable future for ourselves and for our children.”
Tickets to the dinner are $65; $30 for children under 12. An annual membership to the 101-year-old civil rights organization is included in that admission. Contact the dinner committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-827-8322.
This is a time of difficulty for our country. And it is often in such moments that some try to stoke bitterness – to divide us based on our differences, to blind us to what we have in common. But on this day, we are reminded that at our best, we do not give in to this temptation. We stand with one another. We fight alongside one another. We do not allow ourselves to be defined by fear, but by the hopes we have for our families, for our nation, and for a brighter future. So let us grieve for those we’ve lost, honor those who have sacrificed, and do our best to live up to the values we share – on this day, and every day that follows.
President Obama from his weekly address marking the 9th anniversary of the terrorists attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.