Funding for Nonprofits, Puerto Rican Cultural Center, and Street Takeover Crackdown

April 26, 2024

Several nonprofits in Hartford and West Hartford will receive state funds to improve their facilities. Keep scrolling to see which amazing organizations are getting a major boost to serve our community.

The city of Hartford is making progress as it works to convert a vacant church into a Puerto Rican cultural center. Please read below to learn the next steps before this center will open to the community.

The House unanimously passed a proposal cracking down on street takeovers. I'll break down how this bill will protect our community and hopefully deter this illegal activity.

These are the sections in today's email:

  • Funding for Local Nonprofits
  • Making Progress on Puerto Rican Cultural Center
  • Cracking Down on Street Takeovers
  • Passports to Connecticut Libraries
Funding for Local Nonprofits
Several nonprofits near the 6th district are getting major financial support to better serve our communities. This is part of a $35.5 million investment across Connecticut. The grants are coming from Connecticut’s Nonprofit Grant Program. The funds will support capital projects not typically reimbursed through other funding mechanisms.

The following organizations in Hartford will receive a combined $2.8 million in funding:

  • NAFI Connecticut
  • YWCA Hartford Region
  • Community Health Services
  • Community Partners in Action
  • Mercy Housing and Shelter
  • Hands on Hartford

CLICK HERE to learn how these organizations plan on putting this funding to good use!

Making Progress on Puerto Rican Cultural Center

Hartford is taking its first major steps to bring a Puerto Rican Cultural Center to the city. You may recall, the plan is to convert the boarded up Sacred Heart Church at Ely and Winthrop Streets into a hub to preserve Puerto Rican history, culture, and art.

The city hired Marvel, a national design firm led by a man who is born in Puerto Rico, to help with the project. Marvel will work with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center Advisory Board to figure out what to put inside the center and how much the project will cost. That estimate will determine fundraising goals for construction.

I am honored to join the advisory committee and to be part of the vision for the Puerto Rican Culture Center, which will serve as a safe space for Puerto Ricans to call their own. The facility will not open for at least another year.
Cracking Down on Street Takeovers

The House of Representatives took bipartisan and unanimous action in a 148-0 vote to pass House Bill 5413, which helps cities and towns control street takeovers.

They have become a local and national issue since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Hartford police arrested five people in connection with an attempted street takeover at Greenfield and Woodland Streets. Officers say there were about 100 people on ATVs driving recklessly. I want to thank the Hartford Police Department for their commitment to our safety.

Street takeovers cannot become the new normal. This dangerous activity consists of the illegal use of all-terrain and other type of vehicles. Takeovers pose a significant threat to public safety, endangering participants, innocent bystanders, and law enforcement officials.

HB 5413 seeks to provide more tools to municipalities to combat street takeovers, including:

  • Allowing cities and towns to destroy ATVs, dirt bikes, and motorcycles seized and forfeited for violating a municipal ordinance
  • Authorizing municipalities to adopt ordinances that penalize street takeovers and impose fines as well as the seizure of vehicles
  • Changing and tightening penalties for violating state law on street takeovers, including permanent driver's license revocation for a third violation of the statute

I am glad my bipartisan vote provides additional tools and increased penalties to cities and towns to help deter street takeovers, which create public safety hazards for drivers, pedestrians, and others.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

Passports to Connecticut Libraries
Stop by your local library for an awesome campaign called Passport to Connecticut Libraries, which encourages everyone to read! Begin your journey by picking up a library passport at one of 150 participating libraries. Make sure to get it stamped before visiting other libraries and doing the same thing there. Each participant will receive a small gift at each new library.

There are several locations where you can grab your passport in and around the 6th district:

  • Hartford Public Library, Ropkins Branch at 1750 Main Street
  • Hartford Public Library, Camp Field Branch at 30 Campfield Avenue
  • Hartford Public Library, Dwight Branch at 7 New Park Avenue
  • Faxon Library at 1073 New Britain Avenue in West Hartford
  • Noah Webster Library at 20 South Main Street in West Hartford
  • Bishops Corner Library at 15 Starkel Road in West Hartford

CLICK HERE for a full list of participating libraries.

The campaign runs through Tuesday, April 30. The Connecticut Library Association will offer two adults and two children a $200 Visa gift card