NAUGATUCK — Scores of volunteers armed with trash bags, flowers, shovels, rakes, and other tools flooded North Main Street and the surrounding Union City community Saturday as they set about revamping the blighted area through trash cleanup and light landscaping.
The Union City Revitalization Subcommittee organized the volunteer cleanup day. Second Deputy Mayor Mike Ciacciarella, who chairs the subcommittee, said the event helped “create an awareness of Union City and its history.”
More than 125 volunteers were drawn to the event by the prospect of beautifying the district—if they weren’t enticed by the free refreshments donated by the local Coca-Cola branch and YoFarm Yogurt, in addition to local businesses and organizations like Rachel’s Bistro and Catering, The Dog Shack, the Naugatuck Merchants’ Association, Reynolds Café, the Prospect Street School PSA, and Girl Scout Troop 64525. Volunteers also had the opportunity to win door prizes from local businesses.
Terry Raimo of Flowers Plus on Rubber Avenue donated almost four dozen mums, and Jimmy Warren of Capital Heavy Hauling donated a truckload of fresh mulch for new plantings throughout the neighborhood.
“The donations from these two businesses were the crowning touch to our cleanup efforts,” said Anne Ciacciarella, who also commended participating members of the Naugatuck Garden Club and the Blight and Beautification Committee.
The Naugatuck Recycling Center provided bags, rubber gloves, litter sticks and traffic cones for the event, and the Naugatuck Police Department was on hand all day to make sure the volunteers stayed safe.
By the end of the day, some 300 bags of litter were collected, and planters along North Main Street and around Linden Park and Prospect Street School were full of new, freshly-planted flowers.
“What a fantastic day filled with work, community spirit and pride in our neighborhood” said Mike Ciacciarella. “It was a true effort of teamwork and together, we took the first step to making Union City come alive.”
Ciacciarella also said he spoke to several people who expressed interest in opening businesses in the nearly-vacant building on North Main Street.
“People were curious, now that we’ve beautified the area, why there aren’t many businesses in Union City … and what better place to open a business than Union City?” asked Ciacciarella, adding that he has been dealing with the owner of the building about its future.
Ciacciarella said there will be a subcommittee meeting in November to discuss the progress made so far. Attorney Kevin McSherry, pro bono legal counsel to the committee, has been preparing an ordinance establishing Union City as a Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ) that Ciacciarella hopes can be presented to the Board of Mayor and Burgesses by the end of the year. NRZ status is important to attracting and securing grant funding for municipal beautification and economic development projects.
Just last week, the Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved a bid of about $95,000 to D&P Construction of Trumbull for sidewalk replacements in Union City. Ciacciarella said the walks from the Old Corner Café all the way down to St. Mary’s Church will be replaced.
For more information on the Union City Revitalization project or to get involved, contact Mike Ciacciarella at 729-8886 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.unioncityct.com.