Wednesday
Oct152014

New Britain named one of the top places to retire

NEW BRITAIN — Hard-Hittin’ New Britain may become “Soft-Sittin’” New Britain to seniors searching for a retirement community.

That’s the opinion of the magazine, “Where to Retire,” which named the former Hardware City one of eight “Towns of Tradition” for retirees. The feature appears in the November/December issue on newsstands today. New Britain found itself ranked along with Sunbelt cities Tarpons Springs, Fla., and Lafayette, La.

“We focused on eight cities that have a strong culture from overseas in their midst,” said Where to Retire Editor Annette Fuller. “But, the city also had to be a winner in terms of beauty and livability.

Although everyone thinks of the Northeast as quite expensive, the median home price we found in New Britain — $123,000 — was quite affordable. We also tried to choose cities that represent a geographic mix around the country.”

Not surprisingly, Little Poland was New Britain’s strong suit with Polonia Business Association President Adrian Baron its articulate spokesman. The magazine featured Broad Street, with its homemade kielbasa, also the dancing, music and crafts during the Little Poland Festival in April.

“When you’re on the street, it’s almost like you’re visiting a European city,” Baron told Fuller.

If you thought certain city stalwarts would be surprised at this unexpected honor, think again.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bill DeMaio told the Herald “New Britain deserves recognition. For seniors, the services are unbelievable. We have one of the best park systems in New England, including three stadiums at Willowbrook Park. We have a fabulous senior citizen center with all kinds of transportation and programs available to retirees.” But the piece de resistance could be Stanley Municipal Golf Course with its 27 championship holes and heated driving range.

In other words, the benefits are endless.

Broker/Realtor Nina Jankowski of The Real Estate Exchange seconds DeMaio.

“If you want a break from the Florida heat, we have plenty of affordable ranch homes near great parks and golf, shopping and superior healthcare facilities,” Jankowski says. “New Britain has a soul like no other place; [ours is] a richly layered community.” Gerry Amodio, downtown district executive director, points out that New Britain offers large city attractions within a small town atmosphere. “From a world class museum, to theater, sporting events, higher education and top- shelf medical care, New Britain lets people ‘come back home’ for an easy retirement life.” Amodio says New Britain is less expensive than the surrounding towns, while offering “a brand new mass transit. Retirees can be in Hartford, New Haven, Boston or New York for short day trips, or weekends.”

But why be in Hartford?

“The city’s commitment to improve is one of the reasons we moved our law office here from Hartford,” says Baron. “For retirees, Little Poland is ideal. Within the span of a few blocks you can stroll to grocery stores, bakeries, hair salons, banks, law firms, a church, a pharmacy and even a post office. It’s Main Street USA with a little Polish flare.” Baron was not alone in his praise of the city.

“New Britain has easy access to medical care as well as a very strong ethnic population where people can be welcomed and feel like they are part of the community,” said Tim Stewart, president of the Greater New Britain-Berlin Chamber of Commerce. “The cost of housing is relatively inexpensive compared to other communities, all reasons that make New Britain a desirable place to retire.” “New Britain is a great place to retire,” state Sen. Terry Gerratana said. “We‘re a close community of diverse neighborhoods. New Britain is centrally located; major highways are completely accessible and we are finally establishing a public transportation system that links us to other transportation hubs.” “We have always been impressed with the sense of pride the people of New Britain take in their community and their strong traditions,” said Arlene Palmer, long-time co-owner of Leaves & Pages bookstore. “It has been our second home since the mid-1970’s. We may sleep in Burlington but Dan and I live in New Britain.”

Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 319 or swhipple@centralctcommunications.com.

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