NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — New Haven’s mayor and other top city officials spent Friday morning walking the streets of the Elm City. They call it a Clean and Safe Sweep.
The idea is that you get a new perspective on the streets of New Haven when you’re walking them. That’s why Mayor Justin Elicker (D – New Haven) and other city officials toured the Hill neighborhood on foot to get a good look at things.
“There’s a house that maybe has a railing that’s missing a number of slats on the second floor and there could be a child that could fall through that railing,” Elicker explained. “So, the building department could get involved. We often don’t see those things when we’re driving around”
Having the police, health, livable cities and fire departments walking with him lets them spot and solve many problems. Firefighters are always on the lookout for safety issues.
“But the walkaround, the walkaround is really good,” said Chief John Alston of the New Haven Fire Department “It’s more personal, and we can answer questions.”
Which is exactly what happened on the first block they walked. a woman approached officials with concerns about her building.
In addition to the “Clean and Safe Sweep,” they are also checking out corner stores along the way. Back in March, we saw them actually shut down a store in the Fairhaven section of the city. It ends up being better for the neighborhood.
“Some of the things that we have issue is the sale of loose cigarettes, the excessive loitering,” said Assistant Chief David Zannelli of the New Haven Police Department. “Things of that nature where we get complaints from community folks where they’re afraid to go buy groceries in some of these stores.”
The idea of these programs is not to slap as many fines and tickets on people as possible. Just the opposite. It’s to start a conversation with residents and with landlords about how they can work together to make the city better.
“Most of the time when we interact with property owners, they’re willing to fix the problem,” Elicker said. “That’s what this is about, helping the city become a better place.”
But you can’t see what’s wrong with the city’s streets until you actually walk them.