NAUGATUCK — After more than three decades of calling Waterbury home, the Portuguese consulate has settled into its new offices in Naugatuck.
The Portuguese consulate moved to 23 Union St. in January, and the first year in the new space has been a good one, said Bill Gouveia, the consul for Connecticut.
“Their reference in terms of recent history was the prior location, and this is a much better venue,” Gouveia said.
The offices, which handle passports, travel documents, citizenship applications and other legal interactions between the United States and Portugal, were located in Waterbury for more than 30 years, most recently on East Main Street near the Green. The large building in Waterbury was vacant except for the consular offices, had no parking, and the upper floors were not well maintained, Gouveia said.
Gouveia, who practices law full-time, bought the then-vacant Union City building from a client and fixed it up for the consulate, he said.
The consulate is the only one in Connecticut and one of 16 in the country, including the embassy in Washington, D.C. The borough offices serve about 30,000 registered Portuguese from all over the state. Gouveia said the borough was a central location to Danbury, Waterbury, and Bridgeport, the largest Portuguese population centers in the state.
“Central and accommodating the Portuguese communities was the consideration,” Gouveia said.
Gouveia, 56, lives in Monroe and came to Connecticut from Portugal with his family at age 13, he said. The government of Portugal appointed him as consul in 2002, although he said he and some other consuls are not career diplomats but rather people with good reputations and an interest in the Portuguese community.
Gouveia earns a stipend from Portugal every year and is responsible for the consulate, but two secretaries run its operations smoothly, he said.
Borough residents and others who come to the consulate have expressed happiness at the new location.
“Even though I have to travel to get to it, it needs to be in the center of Portuguese communities in Connecticut,” Gouveia said. “I think I’m serving the Portuguese community there.”