When President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, visits New Britain Sunday, it will be the first time a sitting Polish president has visited Connecticut.
New Britain, known for having a very large Polish population, is expecting thousands to attend.
“We are very surprised but very happy about that because we (are a) Polish community and it’s never happened before,” said Krystyna Obara, a New Britain business owner.
There are few towns in Connecticut with a richer Polish community than New Britain. Broad Street is lined with restaurants, cafes and stores, all with ties to Poland. So with the Polish president scheduled to visit, there is noticeable excitement.
“What do they say, 'Polish and proud,'” Mary Piascik said. “You never forget your heritage and where you came from. Even though I’m an American citizen, I’ll always be Polish.”
Piascik, moved from Poland to New Britain when she was five years old. She’s excited about the visit, but will miss it because she going on vacation to Poland.
“I’ll watch it on the news in Poland,” she said.
Thousands will be at Walnut Park at 3 p.m. Sunday to mark this significant event. For the city, security is a high priority.
“It’s a tremendous task,” explained Darek Barcikowski, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Connecticut. “I think in the hierarchy of tasks, it’s probably the number one task.”
Barcikowski said a security plan goes well beyond local and state police.
“It involves national security and we have folks from Poland and the president’s security detail,” he explained. “It’s a multi-level operation but I think the city is prepared.”
This is not the first time New Britain has hosted a high profile visitor. Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and even Harry Truman have visited New Britain before and Barcikowksi thinks he knows why.
“New Britain has a designation and status as an all-American city and I think that’s the short answer, we’re an All-American City,” he said
Barcikowski says he is looking forward to showing off why he and others have made New Britain home.
“To all of us here in New Britain, this is our home, this is our all-American city and this is our American dream.”
Those interested in signing up for a meet and greet with President Duda are asked to pre-register here.
The following road closures will be in effect Sunday:
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Farmington Avenue between Allen St and Commonwealth Avenue.
- North bound traffic will be diverted East on to Allen St.
- South bound traffic will be diverted east on to Commonwealth Ave.
Biruta Street between Farmington Avenue and Burritt Street.
High St. between Brown Street and Biruta Street.
- North bound traffic will be diverted west on to Brown Street.
Burritt Street between Brown Street and Osgood Avenue
- North bound traffic will be diverted east on to Brown St.
Osgood Avenue between Corbin Avenue and Farmington Avenue.
- There will be no travel east or west on this section of Osgood Ave.
10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
All entrances and exits to Walnut Hill Park will be closed.
No vehicles will be allowed in the park for the duration of this event.
Grand Street will have a soft closure at Camp Street.
- The Hospital of Central Connecticut will be fully accessible– Emergency Department, Main Entrance and Parking Garage.
- There will be signage adequate signage indicating how to gain access.
Grand Street will be closed from Linwood Street to Walnut Hill Park Rd.