NEW BRITAIN - Arrangements, security and last minute details related to Sunday’s much anticipated visit by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and his spouse, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, to the Hardware City are in the final stages.
The U.S. Secret Service attended a meeting with city police and other law enforcement authorities on Thursday to discuss logistics and safety concerns for both Duda and the thousands of locals expected to turn out to greet the foreign head of state.
According to the latest information available on Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, Mayor Erin Stewart and other local and state officials as well as Honorary Polish Consul Darek Barcikowski will be welcoming Duda to the city. It is Barcikowski who was instrumental in arranging the president’s visit.
The president and his wife will attend a Mass at Holy Cross Church at 1 p.m. They will then to travel to Central Connecticut State University to view the Polish-American archive and book collection. The university has a Polish Studies Department established in 1974 and endowed chair as part of the university’s commitment to the Polish community in the city. CCSU President Zulma Toro will be in attendance for the school visit and remainder of Duda’s trip.
Following the visit to CCSU -which is also not open to the public - and if time permits, Duda will also be stopping by Sacred Heart Cemetery in a private event, where there is a memorial for the Katyn Forest Massacre honoring the more than 11,000 Polish soldiers who were executed during World War II.
He will then head to Walnut Hill Park for the 3 p.m. meet-and-greet which is open to all who have registered to attend by visiting www.presidentdudact.com .
It is unclear if the president will visit any of the shops or businesses in Little Poland. But, most businesses in the area plan to keep regular Sunday hours.
New Britain police announced street closures and security requirements for the meet-and-greet at Walnut Hill Park.
For those attending the event in the park, the following items will not be allowed inside: lawn furniture, signs with any type of affixed stick or handle, handbags, book bags, backpacks, purses, alcohol, weapons, knives, firearms, bicycles, scooters, dogs and drones.
There will be a separation between Duda and attendees during the event, and any personal handshaking with the dignitary throughout the entire day will not likely be possible, if at all, police said.
For those driving around the city on Sunday, there will be road closures enforced by city police with help from State police and the Hartford police Traffic Division. Duda will be travelling in a motorcade, which will be managed by members of the polish equivalent of the U.S. Secret Service.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the following closures will be in place:
n Farmington Avenue between Allen Street and Commonwealth Avenue (North bound traffic will be diverted east on to Allen Street and south bound traffic will be diverted east on to Commonwealth Avenue.)
n Biruta Street between Farmington Avenue and Burritt Street
n High Street between Brown Street and Biruta Street (North bound traffic will be diverted west on to Brown Street.)
n Burritt Street between Brown Street and Osgood Avenue (North bound traffic will be diverted east on to Brown Street.)
n Osgood Avenue between Corbin Avenue and Farmington Avenue (There will be no travel east or west on this section of Osgood Avenue.)
From between 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
n All entrances and exits to Walnut Hill Park will be closed.
n No vehicles will be allowed in the park for the duration of this event.
n Grant Street will have a soft closure at Camp Street.
n The Hospital of Central Connecticut will be fully accessible - Emergency Department, main entrance and parking garage.
n There will be signage indicating how to gain access.
n Grand Street will be closed from Linwood Street to Walnut Hill Park Road.
Police also released parking information:
n On street parking is available on all adjacent streets to Walnut Hill Park. Check signage for restricted parking. Blocking driveways and double parking is prohibited. Violators are subject to fines and towing.
n Parking is available at all city parking garages which includes the New Britain Szczesny Garage at 35 Bank St., Badolato Parking Garage at 25 Washington St., the Courthouse Garage or Linda Blogoslawski Garage at 14 Franklin Square. Residents are strongly encourages to park here and walk to the park for the meet and greet and event.
The Hospital of Central Connecticut announced its normal operations will not be interrupted by the visit. However, patients and visitors will see increased security on Sunday.