Editorial: Stewart: Help Support our Local Merchants

Happy October and thank you to the New Britain Herald for allowing me to bring you this new monthly, mayor’s column.

I hope that this column helps you to better understand my role as mayor and how your local government is working to better serve you.

To help our downtown thrive once again, we need your help. There isn’t enough that can be said about the positive impact of supporting a local business. Looking for some tasty, unique cuisine? We have many. Toys? Clothes? Art? Entertainment? Organic produce? We have all of that and more.

Taking pride in our community means not only being good neighbors and respecting our surroundings, but it also means being good neighbors to our local business owners.

Just like there is a growing movement out there to eat local and support local farmers, we should remember that our local businesses need our support as well.

Need a refresher? Check out visitNBCT.com or pick up a copy of our newly updated New Britain Visitor’s Guide, which has a vast listing of businesses, restaurants, and entertainment options.

To put it simply, as a community we should put our money where our mouth is.

Supporting a local merchant has many benefits. Owners and/or employees live right here in New Britain, so the money that you spend goes right back into our local economy.

These local businesses are often the first to step up and volunteer a raffle prize or donation for a local cause, such as a sports fundraiser. The customer service you’ll get is also better than Amazon.

Citywide development update

Phase 4 of our Complete Streets Masterplan work (Columbus Boulevard and Bank Street), will be wrapping up shortly. These improvements will help to create a more walkable, livable downtown, particularly when Columbus Commons-a new mixed-use housing development-opens at the site of the former police department. New developments, like the arrival of hundreds of new workers from CMHA, who will be calling the Plaza building home, will also create new opportunities for growth.

Decades ago, when residents lived in close proximity to the where they worked (likely at one of our many former factories), New Britain had a bustling downtown with crowded sidewalks and thriving storefronts.

We are adapting with the times and making the necessary infrastructure changes to help reverse the negative effects of Urban Revitalization and the splitting of our downtown with the introduction of Route 72.

The Beehive Bridge will be the connector to make that happen. As you may have seen, construction is moving along. When the project is complete, you can use your feet and shop from New Brite Plaza to Main Street.

Remember, the next time you need to go shopping, don’t forget about the local businesses we have right here in New Britain, especially in our downtown corridor. When you do, you are helping to bring about a positive change for New Britain. It’s a small gesture, but it speaks volumes about the pride you have for the people, businesses, and institutions that make up the fabric of our community.

Don’t forget that fall leaf pick up begins Oct. 29. You can visit newbritainct.gov to find out more information about when we will be in your neighborhood.

As always, we welcome your feedback at , Room 204 of City Hall, or by phone at 860-826-3302.

-Mayor Erin Stewart

This article originally appeared in the New Britain Herald.