Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ansonia residents talk snow, security at Mayor’s Night Out

Ansonia Mayor David S. Cassetti, left, listens as resident Ed Norman, Neighborhood Block Watch founder, addresses the crowd Tuesday at a 'Mayor's Night Out' event at Ansonia Rescue Medical Services headquarters. 

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ANSONIA >> Residents at Mayor David S. Cassetti’s first Mayor’s Night Out Tuesday voiced concerns ranging from snow-covered sidewalks to neighbors who keep trash cans at the curb for days.
Cassetti shared the spotlight with Ed Norman, a resident of the 4th Ward who founded the Neighborhood Block Watch in 2009.
More than 75 people attended the event at the Ansonia Rescue Medical Services’ building on West Main Street.

Norman and police Officer Rick Esposito discussed ongoing block watch issues.
Norman said the block watch was founded as “a community effort to get to know your neighbors.”
“Our motto is, ‘if you see it, report it.’” he said. Residents can be anonymous when they call the police department, he added.
Norman said the city is seeking a Valley Community Foundation grant to purchase more block watch signs. “They work,” he said.”People see that and go somewhere else to do their crime.”
“Be the best witnesses you can be,” Esposito said. “We’re not asking for any heroics out there. Nothing is too big or too small to report.”

Police Chief Kevin Hale said the community runs a block watch and the police “just assist.”
He said when a resident is part of block watch, they call (the police department) not just as an individual but as a block watch member. “Great communication is the key,” he said.

As for snow complaints, Hale said homeowners are responsible for clearing snow from the sidewalks six hours after a storm has ended, or the next morning if a storm ends during the night. “We have been getting more aggressive,” he said, in enforcing the city code.

Resident Frank Pergola asked the definition of a sidewalk. He was told a sidewalk is paved or concrete, not just a footpath.
Norman brought up the issue of trash being left out at the curb for days.
Hale said officers are aware of the problem. “We try to be the trash police as well,” he said. “We have issued summons in the past.”

Several residents told new Public Works Director Doug Novak they were pleased with how well the streets were cleared of snow this winter.
Novak introduced himself, saying he has “35-plus years in highway maintenance” with the state Department of Transportation.
A man who said he lives on one-way North State Street told Hale a neighbor is parking out in the middle of the road because the parking space is not cleared.
Hales said cars cannot block traffic. People who park in the street “are subject to enforcement and a tow at their expense,” he said.

Cassetti said he plans to hold similar events on a quarterly basis.

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