New mayor talks changes for capital city

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — In Hartford, police are investigating the city’s first homicide of the new year; a deadly stabbing.

Police found 20-year-old Jonathan Douglin on Francis Avenue with stab wounds to his chest and abdomen. It happened just minutes after Luke Bronin was sworn in as the city’s new mayor.

It follows on the heels of a violent year in Hartford, with its murder rate more than 30, at times rivaling Boston in the top spot for homicides in New England. Mayor Bronin says there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

“It means rebuilding our police force, which is down significantly. We have to build up our numbers over a period of years,” said Bronin. “It also means strengthening youth employment, youth engagement, recreation. It also means focusing on the small things; blight, litter, the things that determine how a neighborhood and city feels.”

Another change, fire chief. Over the past two years, the fire department has been mired in controversy. Firefighter Kevin Bell died in the line of duty and an OSHA investigation found numerous safety violations. Now, Bronin is looking to bring back a chief from the past, Reggie Freeman.

“He actually was Assistant Chief in Hartford a few years back. He is right now coming back to us from Lockheed Martin. He served as a fire chief in other capacities. He spent a number of years over in Iraq,” said Bronin.

Another problem the mayor inherited, the new downtown ballpark for the Yard Goats. It’s reported to be over budget by $10 million. City council says no over runs and no more money, so he is looking to get the project back on track and ready for an April opening day.

“I have been talking to the team, I have been talking to the developers and we are going to have to work very quickly to make sure that they are prepared to do what they have to do to deliver what they promised to the City of Hartford,” said Bronin.

Bronin says he has spent the past weeks assembling his team he will take forward to help him run the city.

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