Something to Chew On.|
On Monday I attended a great discussion on the proposed Gateway food incubator. It was a presentation and dialogue on the future of food industry growth in New Haven.
Under consideration is the use of the commercial kitchen, classrooms and offices at Gateway Long Wharf campus for shared space where food manufacturers, entrepreneurs, caterers, food truck operators, and many others can come together to improve their products, create jobs, and grow small business. You can find the presentation on the incubator idea here.
The city has 30 food products companies in New Haven with over 700 people working in the industry. New Haven County has over 1,800 harvested acres which include a strong shellfish industry. Yet we lack the infrastructure in the region to help support early stage food business. This got me thinking about opportunities.
Considering that the closest shared commercial kitchen space is New York and Providence there is the potential for opportunity right here in our backyard. There is this growing need for commercial kitchen space to help fuel some of these smaller businesses. With the help of the Food Policy Council and others, I believe that the City is able to help bring folks together and foster something to help grow a budding industry within the community.
This is where an incubator could help. An incubator would offer shared commercial kitchen space which helps to subsidize rents while it allows access to equipment, hot and cold storage space, staff members' expertise, and office space. Thereby helping to provide that much needed infrastructure to new business and fostering the potential for new jobs, wealth creation and economic growth.
For right now the food incubator is just a concept, but a concept with a lot of possibility. Lets explore this possibility with an eye towards the future and helping small food businesses grow. It's definitely something to chew on.
Community Policing Goes to School
Last week, we announced a new Police Department initiative that brings officers into our elementary schools on a weekly basis to build relationships with students. We want our young people to see their neighborhood police officer as a role model, a mentor and a friend. By having officers visit schools on a regular basis, students get to know the officer on a more personal level. So the next time they run into the officer in their neighborhood, they can say 'hello' and make an important connection.
For example, when second-grade students at Hill Central School met Officer Robert Clark in the library last Wednesday, they had all kinds of questions for him. Some of the students said they were nervous to meet a police officer. By the end of the visit, the same students said Officer Clark was very nice and they wanted to get to know him more.
That is exactly the kind of reaction we want for the kids. The new initiative is part of an ongoing plan to cultivate and nurture positive relationships between police officers and students at schools throughout the city. In the summer, the New Haven Police Department committed to visiting every school on opening day. This latest partnership strengthens community policing efforts and compliments the district's newly expanded community and parent engagement efforts. I view it as a way to enhance community-police relations and a strategy for reducing crime in the city.
The city currently has 10 Community-Based Officers in neighborhoods throughout the city. As the new initiative rolls out, each of the 10 officers will visit elementary and middle schools located in their district once a week, and meet with the principal, walk around the school and become acquainted with staff and students.
Just as we want to build trust between students and police, we want to nurture positive relationships between schools, parents and the community. This year, the school district is reaching out to parents and the community more than ever before. I joined the hundreds of volunteers who came out for our community canvasses and knocked on doors throughout the city to talk to parents about New Haven Promise, Boost! support services and Parent University. We had more than 250 parents and 100 volunteers attend our inaugural Parent University event at Gateway Community College.
New Haven Public Schools will continue reaching out to parents and the community with new ways for people to get involved and be a part of the city's mission of improving all of its schools.
Boards & Commissions
The City of New Haven has 45 different Boards and Commissions, and over 300 New Haven citizens from all walks of life volunteer countless hours to serve the city. These posts range from such highly visible assignments as the Board of Education, the Housing Authority of New Haven, and the Police Board to many less visible, but equally vital posts such as the Commission on Disabilities, and the Historic District Commission.
If you are interested in serving please fill out the the application form found on the City website or contact Patricia Lawlor at firstname.lastname@example.org .