East Hartford residents sit down for 'Lunch with the Mayor'

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Mar. 25, 2011
Mayor Marci Leclerc spoke to residents March 24 during her monthly "Lunch with the Mayor" meeting.
Mayor Marci Leclerc spoke to residents March 24 during her monthly "Lunch with the Mayor" meeting.

Several East Hartford residents came to town hall March 24 for an informal talk with Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc over a brown bag lunch with coffee and cake. In the free-wheeling discussion, residents talked about everything from problems with trash pickup to plans for development on Silver Lane.

Carol Smith, a Blackstone Lane resident, has been a regular at these monthly meetings. “I think it’s a way of taking ownership for our community, to get involved and to ask questions,’’ Smith said.

Her attendance at the meetings helped get a neighbor issue resolved, she said. “Sometimes drivers leaving the school would drive very fast through the neighborhood. I brought that up at a lunch meeting, and it was handled with the school. It was a quality of life issue, and this was an ideal way to handle it.’’

Shirley Finney, who works for St. John’s Episcopal Church, said she is also a regular. “We’re here on Main Street, and so we’re very interested in the plans the town has for Main Street,’’ she said.

Leclerc was accompanied by Mark Bassos, director of East Hartford Youth Services and Roger C. Moss, director of Parks, Recreation and Senior services. In response to questions from previous meetings about loitering and crime by unsupervised youth, Bassos told the group about a program that will transition youth who have been in detention back into the school system.

“They will have a counselor who works them every step of the way as they make a successful return to school setting,’’ Bassos said.

Moss announced “Bridge to Bridge" cleanup day May 14 for Main Street. The project began under former Mayor Melody Currey, with the intention of improving and revitalizing Main Street.

Moss said the focus of the day would be to pick up all trash, clean out the flower barrels and sweep up sand and debris for pick up by the Parks Department garbage truck. “We had about 30 volunteers the first year, and we anticipate more this year,'' Moss said. “We have a commitment from the high school to have students help as part of their volunteer hours toward graduation.''

Leclerc announced a $75,000 initiative to place more trash receptacles on Main Street and to create a uniform look on the street with purple flower pots and pink and white flowers . “The idea is to create a look of conformity, cleanliness , continuity and vibrancy on Main Street,'' she said. "Additional lighting has also been added,'' she said.

Leclerc told residents that conversations with the Silver Lane commercial owners were underway to develop the area that now includes the defunct Showcase Cinemas and an empty shopping center.

“The town is very aware of the situation, and plans to develop that areas that have been affected by the economy," she said.

“Its been 12 weeks for me to fill the shoes of Melody Currey, and there are lots of things going on,'' Leclerc said. “There are significant plans for development, and I am asking for your support on this.''

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