RCBW approached for help in Rockville revitalization


By JESSICA CIPARELLI Staff Writer

ROCKVILLE — It’s only been around for a year, but a small group of residents are taking their pride and concern for their community and turning it into action, as part of the Rockville Community Block Watch program.
    The block watch was created last year “because there were a lot of concerns about public safety and gang activity in Rockville, particularly in the Union Street and Cottage Street areas,” said Oak Street resident Rosemarie Mezrioui, acting president and social officer for the RCBW. The group is made up of a basic core of 15 members, including 7 block captains that attend the monthly meetings. Mezrioui said there are 20-25 block watch members, in total.
    On this night, March 6, the group was visited by Vernon’s new community and economic development coordinator/ assistant town planner, Marina Rodriguez. Rodriguez has only been on the job for two months, and one of her first tasks is to work on a revitalization development plan for Rockville. — Rodriguez said she is looking for a core group of people to represent Rockville (i.e., those who live, or do business in Rockville, etc.) to meet and be the neighborhood group to focus on revitalization. She hopes to create a plan and profile of the neighborhood.
    “A lot has already been done in terms of plans and studies,” Rodriguez said. “We need to really get a group that can start working on where we go from here and what’s the next step.”
    But some group members wondered if yet another group needed to be formed. There are too many groups concentrating on the same effort, they said.
    “Some groups have the volunteers, some have the proper level of funding, some have the creative abilities, some have the organization, some have the physical capabilities, some have the enforcement capabilities. But no one group has all. What we need to do is to have them come together to fix Rockville’s problems,” said Bryan Flint, Communications Officer for RCBW.
    Attracting good, interactive tenants who are going to be involved in town government is also important to Rockville’s revitalization, the members said.
    “You want people who are going to live there, shop there, and help the businesses,” said Officer Charles Hicking, Community Police Officer.
    The RCBW also discussed relevant issues including unshoveled sidewalks, which Officer Hicking said carries a fine of $20 a day, up to a maximum $50, if not done. Hicking proposes an ordinance change that would place a lien on properties, if the sidewalks were not cleared and the town had to clear them. Hicking noted he would need to see if this was something that DPW could support.
    The RCBW meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7 p.m. in Community Room of Florence Mill Apartments, 121 West Main Street, Rockville. For more information, visit www.RockvilleCT.com, and click on the link for the block watch. The Rockville public is invited to attend. The next meeting is April 3.

Guest speaker. (l-r) Ginger McLean, Florence Mill block captain, Betty Heim of Florence Mill and Renee Depastino of St. Bernard’s Terrace listen to Marina Rodriguez talk about working together in the Rockville revitalization effort. Photo by Jessica Ciparelli.

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