By Ann-Marie Adams
HARTFORD — The West Indian community is quickly reacting to news that the city council last night rejected the idea of having a Keith Carr Corner– with no debate.
After considering the resolution since March, the Hartford City Council at a special meeting voted to reject the naming of the corner of Albany Ave. and Main Street as Keith L. Carr Sr. Corner.
Council Veronica Airey-Wilson sponsored the resolution and is now circulating the phone numbers of two council members for residents to call and voice their concerns.
But tAirey-Wilson’s timing was off, says Luis Cotto, who abstained from last night’s vote. Cotto said he abstained because there was a compromise between two communities, Clay Arsenal and North Main Street. Cotto said the Clay Arsenal area is the birth of the Puerto Rican community. And he questioned “why that corner.”
In a July 14 e-mail to Airey-Wilson Cotto expressed his concern.
“I thought I would hear rationale that spoke to Mr. Carr’s link to that specific site. Instead I now understand that this represents a compromise between two communities, the communities in the upper Albany area (1.2 miles away from the proposed site) and communities in the North Main street area (1.3 miles away from the proposed site.) It is because of this that I must respectfully NOT support this item. That Tunnel section of the city is inextricably connected to the birth of the Puerto Rican community in this city,” he said in his letter to council members.
Of the nine-member council, Cotto was one of five present last night. Kenneth Kennedy, RJo Winch and Calixto Torres were abent. Airey-Wilson, Pedro Segarra, Matt Ritter and James Boucher. Cotto abstained. Larry Deutsch, who voted yes in committee, voted no at the meeting.
This apparently caught some residents off guard.
Hartford resident Reggie Hales stated in an e-mail that he was surprised by the news.
“Wow. I was there at the non meeting and they ok’ed it,” he stated in an email to Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson.
Airey-Wilson said she would re-introduce the bill to the city council at the August 14 meeting and asked her supporters to voice their concern at that meeting. But this would be after the West Indian Week celebrations, which begins Aug. 1 and ends Aug. 8. The goal of introducing it at the special meeting last night was to have it in time for the celebrations, some say.
Calls to the office of Councilman Larry Deutsch were made today. We are waiting for a response.