New Haven asks residents how to transform city

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven’s Beecher School served as an impromptu polling place Tuesday night, where residents cast their votes on what they think is the top priority the city should focus on moving forward.

Some, particularly those with small children, had very pointed priorities.

“Education is number one,” said Patrice Antoine, who is a mother of three small children. “Neighborhood safety is right up there.”

Others had goals and a vision of New Haven that’s more abstract.

“For all us to come together and make this city a great city,” said Rosa White, a retired Yale worker who has lived in New Haven for 60 years. “All live in harmony and peace.”

Those views are what city officials hoped for. The cafeteria walls were lined with topics of discussion, everything from issues of crime in certain neighborhoods of the city, to transportation goals that focused on reducing commute times to other cities on the East Coast.

“(We) want to hear from residents on what’s most important and where to start, or things that we want to do that they think are not that important,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

Officials say this will help them set goals, then come up with programs to move the city forward. It also lets city residents provide feedback in the process.

“In New Haven, we have great resources and organizations, but we don’t talk to each other sometimes,” said Nitza Diaz.

Mayor Harp has her own priority list, which she says includes public safety, public education, and jobs.

“What we want to do is take it to the next step and begin to fill out a plan to transform our city,” Harp said.

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