A group working to create a memorial park to honor the 65th Regiment from Puerto Rico, better known as the ‘Borinqueneers’ has discovered that the land the city said they could have under the former Mayor’s administration, does not belong to the city, but rather to the state.
An e-mail to those working on the project from Dan Garcia, the Executive Director of the National 65th Regiment Historical Society on Wednesday stated, “There is a lot of speculation that former Mayor Tim O’Brien and Mr. Trueworthy may have used the granting of the land as a ploy to get votes.”
Tim O’Brien lost a close race to GOP Mayor Erin Stewart in New Britain and Michael Trueworthy, is the current Mayor Pro-Tempore and served in that position under O’Brien.
“Apparently group member, New Britain Alderman Willie Pabon ( R ), was working to get the deed to the land before the meeting so fundraising could begin, when the problem was discovered,” Garcia told CTLatinoNews.com.
While there are still many questions, the National 65th Regiment Historical Society Ex. Director, Dan Garcia said the group would discuss this new development at their executive board meeting tomorrow. “We were led to believe, that it was city land. And it was never refuted by the Mayor that it was not city land. At an organizational meeting in November, before the election, O’Brien attended and stated he was glad the city could help,” Garcia said.
In response to the speculation, Alderman Trueworthy said, “At the time, we passed it, I did not know who owned it . To me, at some point, this has to be worked out. I am a liaison to the Veteran’s Commission, that’s why my name was on that particular proposal.”
He added, ” I graduated from the Marine Corp Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. I fully support the project and will do anything to make it happen. My job is not to pander, it’s to get things done. I will do whatever I can.”
According to a story in the New Britain Herald, last October, after plans to have a monument at North and Oak streets fell through, Representative Bobby Sanchez (D) New Britain approached Mayor Timothy O’Brien about locating the monument in the Beaver Street area. O’Brien agreed and the New Britain City Council voted unanimously to sign off on building the monument at the corner of Beaver, LaSalle and Washington Streets and Farmington Avenue.
The New Britain Herald story goes on to say, “while the monument will not be in place until next year, O’Brien said the corner of Beaver near LaSalle and Washington Streets and Farmington Avenue will officially be known as the 65th Infantry Regiment Park during a dedication on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.”
That Veteran’s Day dedication took place at the new site for the National Memorial Park, which will honor the 65th Infantry – a segregated military unit – that endured discrimination on many levels and was based in Puerto Rico. The 65th fought for the U.S. during World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
Garcia, who is neither a Democrat or Republican, but unaffiliated said, “This new development will draw public outrage, but we must continue to work together to set the tone for how this will be dealt with by the Latino community.” The project, he said, “has been gaining national attention and can not be sidetracked.”
CTLatinoNews.com could not reach former Mayor Tim O’Brien for comment last night.
CTLatinoNews.com has written several stories on the New Britain Borinqueneers’ Memorial Park effort and has agreed to serve as it media sponsor when they begin their fundraising efforts.