(Copyright 1999. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

 

October 25, 1999

Nicastro wants teens at council meetings

By MERISSA MASTROPIERO
The Tattoo

BRISTOL -- As a former truant officer for local schools,
Mayor Frank Nicastro knows what makes teens tick.

But his re-election platform includes only a few ideas to help
students even though he said government "can't do enough
for the teens of the city."

Nicastro said he would push for city support for the Miss
Bristol pageant, continue funding alcohol and drug-free
graduation parties and support the proposed downtown
transformation that includes entertainment options for young
people.

He sidestepped the question of whether there should be a
youth center, saying only that "the more that we can do to
keep our teens active in a proper setting," the better it is for
the community.

Five years ago, the city's Board of Finance shot down a
proposal backed by Nicastro to create a youth center in
Forestville. The idea hasn't come up again.

The mayor commended local students for the way they have
dealt with lengthy construction projects at both high schools.

"I really do applaud you kids for the sacrifices you've made,"
Nicastro said.

The three-term Democrat said he would also like to see more
young people involved in government. He said he wished
more teens would walk through his door.

Nicastro, who faces Republican Mike Werner in the Nov. 2
election, said his plan for city support for the pageant
"deserves courtesy and it deserves merit."

"Miss Bristol represents the city," he said. "She is our
ambassador."
 
"I believe that what the city should do is take a look at the
whole process and come up with some guidelines to see if
there is merit there," Nicastro said.

Nicastro said he "would like to see teens more involved in
government, attend council meetings, become more involved
in the process in every respect."

He added that teens should "become objective not subjective.
You get a better pulse on things."

Additionally, Nicastro said that Bristol can "improve" in its
provisions for "proper" teen entertainment.

"No matter what we do, we can't do enough for the teens of
the city. As far as I'm concerned, we can improve," Nicastro
said. 

Nicastro said he applauds students "for having the patience
for putting up with renovations because this should have been
done years ago."

He said the "Bristol school system has undergone some huge
changes," but it can always improve its programs.

The high schools aren't the only things undergoing a
transformation, the mayor said.

Besides continuing with his regular agenda, Nicastro said he
has big plans for the city that include an entire downtown
revitalization, spreading from the central downtown to the
west and the north ends.

"It would be nothing short of a major grand slam for Bristol,"
Nicastro said. 

Proposed ideas for the plan include mall reconstruction,
bringing in large retail businesses, an ice-skating rink, a hotel
with conference rooms and a parking garage, which will "be
built into the facade so that you don't even know it's a
parking garage," said Nicastro.

After the project has been approved and official plans are set,
the completion will take two years, Nicastro said.

The goal is to bring "the old flavor of downtown back, which
was lost many years ago," Nicastro said.

The mayor also plans to keep his basic current policies, such
as his "open door policy."

Nicastro said that when someone comes to him "with a
request, to turn a deaf ear is wrong."

"I think the mayor would be acting poorly if he didn't take a
good hard look at things," he said. "I have a responsibility to
look into something."
 
The "open door policy" is his reason for requesting the city
to research getting involved with the Miss Bristol pageant,
Nicastro said.

In his six years in office, Nicastro said his administration has
been proactive -- and successful.

"That's because everyone worked together as a team, no one
person does it," the mayor said.

As evidence of his success, Nicastro said that he froze
property taxes for four years in a row and then delivered a
tax cut this year to 95 percent of homeowners.

He touted his creation of the Mid-Connecticut Workforce
Development Board, which combined  20 towns to compete
effectively with big cities like Bridgeport for federal job
training money.

Before winning the mayor's office in 1993, Nicastro served as
the school system's attendance officer for 17 years. He
remains on leave from the position.

"I helped literally hundreds of children," the mayor said.

Nicastro said the mayor's position has "grown enormously"
since he took it over. He said he chairs many boards and the
job "requires dedication, it requires sacrifice, it requires the
ability to think of the future."

"A mayor must think of the future, not just for his reign, but
for future mayors so they don't get so strapped, like I did,"
Nicastro said.

"I truly enjoy serving the city of Bristol because there's no
better feeling in the world then to see projects pass and know
you had something to do with it," Nicastro said.

"If you're gonna be the mayor, be the mayor."


 


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