State of Middletown is strong, says mayor in state of city address

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MIDDLETOWN – “The
Middletown resurgence is here,” Mayor Joseph DeStefano proclaimed
as he delivered his annual state of the city address Tuesday night.

Last year saw growth in the city with over 1,100 housing starts approved,
started or completed.

“This is a city of people of all backgrounds and all are invited
to participate and thrive in our city,” the mayor said. “I
have had such a wonderful time experiencing the different religious groups,
ethnic groups and people that we have here.”

This year will be one of action as the $10 million state funded Downtown
Revitalization Initiative gets underway with transformation of the Woolworth
building; façade and storefront signage; creation of Erie Way Park;
branding and wayfinding signage; and parking and greenspace improvements.
A new downtown transportation center and the extension of the Heritage
Trail through the city will also take place this year, DeStefano said.

Other initiatives the mayor noted were exploration of year round alternate
side of the street parking; continued redevelopment of the former Middletown
Psychiatric Center including a campus for Fei Tian College and Fei Tian
Academy; and the Michelson Studio sound stage off Midland Avenue.

The Paramount Theatre “continues to be our downtown anchor”
with concerts, movies and other activities there. The mayor said attendance
at first-run movies is up 23 percent.

Community policing continues to be a priority in the city and DeStefano
said they would like to hire more black and Hispanic officers to the force
and Chief John Ewanciw has put together an outreach program.