Last night, in a move that is baffling, the Planning and Zoning Committee referred the sale of the Hatch Building, located on Washington Street back to the Common Council with a neutral recommendation. Who is the building being sold to and for how much? That is what is baffling. Before referring the sale back to the Common Council the resolution was amended so that both the purchaser and purchase price were blank.
For Sale for ???
How could a planning and zoning committee refer any sale agreement back to the Common Council with anything but an unfavorable recommendation when the purchase price is unknown? Especially when there have been groups right here in New Britain that have expressed a desire in purchasing that property.
By leaving the purchase price blank, if passed by the Common Council, it would allow the Mayor to virtually give the property away to anyone he desired with no oversight from the Common Council.
History of the Hatch
The Hatch building is an extremely run down building. Simply selling it to whomever is not a good idea for the city. It is going to take a good deal of investment to make sure that the building can renovated and restored. When the Historical Society of New Britain indicated they had an interest in the property they put together an extremely detailed proposal outlining the benefits the property would bring to the city as a historical center.
Is there some third party that has indicated a desire in owning the Hatch? If so, they should come before the planning and zoning committee and lay out their detailed proposal for the site. We should not simply be looking to offload the building to someone looking to make a quick buck, neither should we be giving this historical icon away to any organization.
Building for a Better New Britain
The Hatch building is in the center of downtown New Britain. Why is it that the council is looking to simply pass the building off to an unnamed party without proper oversight and public input? We have the chance to help grow the image of New Britain and to improve the quality of downtown, but only if we fill our downtown with quality destinations that will contribute to the very fabric of our community.
I hope that the Common Council does not simply allow this “blank check” to be handed to the Mayor. The taxpayers and the citizens of New Britain deserve more out of our leaders.