Fighting blight in downtown New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — A broken bureau, an old mattress, and children’s toys litter the back of the former Salvation Army Thrift Store.

It’s been more than a year since the Bank Street store has been closed, yet people continue to drop their old items out back.

“A good portion of these things were not here last week,” said Kenyon Haye who is New London’s Blight Enforcement Officer.

downtown new london blight 5 Fighting blight in downtown New London
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

He can issue citations and fines, but he’d rather work with property owners willing to cooperate like the Salvation Army which still owns the now vacant building.

“I’ll call Salvation Army,” said Haye. “They’ll send someone down to pick it up and when they do someone else comes by and dumps some more stuff here. This is all new and this is frustrating as well.”

Coastal Digestive also on Bank Street is in need of repair.

downtown new london blight 2 Fighting blight in downtown New London
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“I sent letters and I”m trying to track down who the owners are,” said Haye.

In this blight fight, Haye is working with members of the City Center District like The Hygienic which installed the final glass panel on Tuesday on the amphitheater covering its Art Park.

Related Content: Branford blight demolished to make way for new development

“These ones collect water to water the trees to the ground,” said Jason Holtzman who owns Holtzman Design with his wife Tu Qian.

This is a sustainable, modern design which many hope will add to the revitalization of this downtown area.

“The important thing is a year ago there’s a new blight ordinance with teeth so to speak and with that things are actually getting done now,” said Tony Sylvestri who built New London Harbour Tower condominiums.

A tattered awning on a storefront at the corner of Bank and State Streets has been removed. Sylvestri is a downtown developer and believes blight is bad for business.

hygienic art park amphitheater 1 Fighting blight in downtown New London
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“Let’s face it,” said Sylvestre. “You know the first appearance of any town it kind of speaks for itself.”

The blight enforcement officer says people can bring unwanted items to the transfer station on Lewis Street in New London. Items like the old mattress are free to drop off there.


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