Destruction of Turf?

By , September 20, 2012 12:26 pm

One might ask whose turf is allegedly being destroyed by the casual Ultimate Frisbee and soccer games that are being held in Bushnell Park.

Though this is not the first time the City has cracked down on such usage — over five years ago I witnessed individuals merely kicking a ball around, without cleats or a net, get threatened with arrest there — the pressure seems to have interesting timing.

In nine days, EnvisionFest will descend upon Downtown, including Bushnell Park. Several tents and stages, large and small, are slated to be erected in Bushnell Park. Beyond the impact of the tents and stages themselves, there will no doubt be trucks driven all over the lawn, as happens every time there is an event held in the park.

Partial map of EnvisionFest, 9/29/12

In October, the tents and stages set up for the Hartford Marathon will do similar damage to the lawn that the Department of Public Works is presumably trying to preserve.

It is not uncommon for the Hartford police to ride horses through the park — an activity which impacts the grass, though the horses at least have the decency to fertilize the lawn. More routinely, the State Capitol Police drive their vehicles over the edges of the sidewalks, sometimes leaving the hard surface entirely. Police vehicles have been spotted parked on Bushnell Park’s lawn. None of these activities have been personally witnessed when the police have been actively in pursuit of a criminal.

Just as regularly, vehicles from the Department of Public Works leave the sidewalk, also wearing down and leaving ruts in the lawn. Likewise, vehicles associated with the carousel are parked on an area where grass no longer grows due to inappropriate usage.

What has not been mentioned in all the fuss over the apparent ban on fun active recreation in Bushnell Park is that the iQuilt Plan — embraced by many — has been pushing for this all along. In its Greenwalk Master Plan/Bushnell Park Master Plan, “passive recreation” is being esteemed over all else. Active recreation is only encouraged when it is tied to creating revenue.

The iQuilt Plan Pocket Guide (Jan 2012) presents a visual of its intentions for the end of the park where most casual, pickup games are held:

Is destruction of turf the issue, or is it only one when not tied to creation of revenue or the programming envisioned by the iQuilt Plan?

10 Responses to “Destruction of Turf?”

  1. Josh LaPorte says:

    This is the kind of thing that makes me glad I don’t live downtown… I walk my dogs through the park and witness the pleasures of watching a cricket match in progress and the horrors of being almost run down by police vehicles inexplicably driving down pedestrian pathways. Anyone travelling through the park can see the terrible ruts on either side of the pathways caused by cars and trucks driven in and out of the park for various events. I see no real damage from various games played on the East lawn.

    I’m at a loss regarding iQuilt. Why does a lovely park need to be so substantially reworked? I finally see a lot of people using the park, which is wonderful. It makes the park feel safer and gives a feel of urbanity to downtown. Now we want to restrict and re-engineer that usage?

    • You nailed it: fixing what is not broken.
      Then, ignoring what needs to be fixed, like the sea of surface parking along Capitol Avenue.

      When asked why they could not open the restroom in the Pump House to the public (instead of forcing all to use disgusting sanicans) I was told this was way too expensive. More expensive than making a fake river? More expensive than putting bike lanes on a road that does not need bike lanes?

      • Josh LaPorte says:

        The fake river is particularly stupid. Why? Why, and more why?

        Similarly, if opening the pump house restrooms is too expensive, where will they find the $35,000 per year to operate an outdoor library at the park? Particularly silly considering that the main library is one block away. I do realize that Bryant Park is just behind the NYPL but I think that downtown Hartford is really not comparable to midtown Manhattan.

  2. Chris says:

    It seems like the “Visionaries” not only want control over the space, but over the very movements of the people. Their plans overstep mere suggestions (on their own part) to the point of micromanagement. Their ostensibly open workshop sessions have repeatedly ignored input (on the public’s part) to the point of arrogance.

  3. Brendan says:

    I say we organize a few football games in the park for EnvisionFest.

    • Richard says:

      Who are these people? Along the same line as the bus way jerks? Coming in and shoving down the throats of people what they think will make this city great. Well in all the years I have lived here I have seen their plans after plans fail.

      EnvisionFest just another tool of the ruling class to smooth over folks. You know give them art, music, food and they will do anything we want. And the Mayor, what a wack job. A permit to play in the park.

      I agree with Brendan. I don’t know how to play football but can cheerleader with the best. I plan on going to EnvisionFest and use my big mouth as a weapon and let those who play this “father ruling class game” (artists included) know what I think. If they are as arrogant as Chris says isn’t it time to overturn a few tables?

    • Chris says:

      Eff football, lets play Jarts! Who wants to envision a Jarts tournament with me?

  4. [...] attempt to micromanage usage of the park. After unflattering coverage of the City shutting down pickup games of soccer and Ultimate Frisbee, Mayor Segarra has assured park users that a compromise was possible on those games; meanwhile, [...]

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