Category: access

Speed of Capital Improvement Projects

By , September 8, 2014 9:57 pm

In July we took the City’s temperature on how Capital Improvement Project funds were being used. Two months later, we are taking another look.

Recreation

Previously, it was said that the Pope Park pond restoration work would begin in September. The latest information is that the plan now is only to dredge it and to go with the lowest bid. Still waiting on official word regarding the status of the restoration of ponds at Goodwin Park and Bushnell Park, but we hear that work on the latter should begin later this month. It’s suspected that the problem with the Bushnell Park pond is related to piping and its lining.

Goodwin Park

Work seems to have stalled, then resumed, and then slowed at Pope Park North (Baby Pope) over the summer. One City source said that the spray pool and playground construction would be completed by May, and a sign at the site said July. At the beginning of July, some playground equipment, picnic tables, and benches were in place, but the spray pool was never on during the school summer vacation. The border fence remains to be installed. Grass seed was spread, but never appeared to be watered. The only signs of movement on the site have been some work to the sidewalk surrounding. With children back in school, the $570,000 renovations remains unfinished. Continue reading 'Speed of Capital Improvement Projects'»

Tracking and Expanding Hartford’s Orchard

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By , August 28, 2014 7:55 pm

This picture was taken in South Glastonbury. It could have, should have been taken in Hartford.

Imagine if you could pick apples or pears without having to schlep the entire family to South Glastonbury.

For some Hartford residents, this is already possible. Everyone else, you’ll have your chance soon.

The West End Community Orchard, as its name suggests, begins in that neighborhood but does not have to end there said Tiffany Glanville, one of the volunteers behind this project. Erin Sheehan, another West End resident, is the other half of the team.

In its infancy, the West End Community Orchard is asking residents of any neighborhoods who would like to participate to register fruit and nut trees already on their properties. Partnering with KNOX, the trees will be rated for health and then indexed so that the organization has an idea of who is growing what where. Those locations will not be publicized, so nobody needs to worry about premeditated raids on their trees.

Glanville was inspired when she saw just how many apples from her own yard went to waste last year — approximately two-thirds of them. She knew about City Fruit, a non-profit from Seattle and thought it possible to “do a harvest” of excess fruits here. The produce could be given to area food pantries, she said. Continue reading 'Tracking and Expanding Hartford’s Orchard'»

Tangiers Opens in West End

By , August 20, 2014 8:16 pm

Patio decor at Tangiers in Hartford

When it was announced last March that the old strip mall across the city line was going to be razed to make way for a new Walgreens, there was some premature mourning for the loss of Tangiers. Wednesday night, the market featuring Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and other international foods held its grand opening at 550 Farmington Avenue, a space most recently used by Central Supermarket.

Tangiers quietly opened earlier this month. The Latif family has a few decades of experience doing what they do, so it was no surprise to see the constant flow of customers Wednesday night.

Tangiers is selling familiar goods, from falafel and baklava to tea and dried fruit. They are also selling fresh fruits and vegetables, along with breads. Besides the counter and tables indoors, there is an outdoor patio now.

They are open Monday through Saturday, 10am-8pm, and Sunday, 10am-6pm. Continue reading 'Tangiers Opens in West End'»

Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective Accepting Dental Clients

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By , August 4, 2014 11:18 am
The dental program at the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective is now accepting new clients. Services are open to those of any sexual identity, including straight.

 

There is a dentist and a dental hygienist on staff. The HGLHC also partners with the Tunxis Community College Dental Hygiene Program to have student dental hygienists work under supervision of college faculty and the HGLHC program manager.

 

Medicaid, cash, checks, and many types of insurance are accepted. Call Patricia Miller, the program coordinator, at (860) 278-4163 extension 23 to set up an appointment or get more information. The main office is located at 1841 Broad Street in Hartford.

Alienated Public Demands a Voice in City Hall

By , July 23, 2014 8:06 am

from 21 July 2014 march

From the moment Mayor Segarra stood in front of City Hall to announce his plan to relocate the New Britain Rock Cats to Hartford on the public dime, there have been unanswered questions:

How exactly would this (fully or partially) publicly-funded private business provide true economic development for the city?  How many full time, living wage jobs would this create for residents of Hartford? Why were Hartford voters and residents excluded from the conversation until this was declared a “done deal” by the mayor? Why build in this location instead of at the existing Dillon Stadium near Colt Park? Why were key stakeholders in this area omitted from the secret dealings, finding out only after word of the deal reached the media? Why was a stadium not included in the Downtown North Plan and why is this able to displace the types of developments, like mixed-use residential, that had been discussed with residents for months? What kind of environmental studies have been done and how would the expected increase in traffic of this area impact Hartford’s already high asthma rates? Why did the mayor in his press release announcing that he wanted the stadium relocation agreement item withdrawn from the City Council agenda, fail to indicate that he would be making no effort to withdraw the related resolution for City purchase of 271 and 273 Windsor Street, a 2.08 acre vacant parcel considered necessary for the stadium development, a parcel that would cost the City of Hartford $1.7M? 

Mary Sanders of Hartford

The meetings of people in opposition to the so-called “done deal” began back in June, with various groups gathering across Hartford. These smaller discussions merged after the first round of meetings happening over one weekend. Residents went from private living rooms to a centrally-located cultural space. Meetings went on during World Cup games, during the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, during a time of year when many are away on vacation. Those who are baseball fans have said they do not appreciate games being played when it comes to politics and tax dollars. Continue reading 'Alienated Public Demands a Voice in City Hall'»

Discussion of New Location for Frog Hollow Library Branch

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By , July 22, 2014 9:28 am

Imagine that you are looking to buy or build a home. You tell the realtor all of your dreams. You want a circular driveway, a heated pool, a turret, a moat, radiant heating, solar panels, and stone chimneys. Some visitors might have trouble with stairs, so you will want an elevator and at least one entrance with a ramp. This will have to be a secure building or else nobody will want to visit. Parking for visitors is a must. Inside, you will want the latest technology, modern furniture, and lots of light. Your realtor jots this all down, but then asks what you can afford to pay. Furious, you demand to know why she does not believe you deserve a place to live.

That was more or less the gist of the meeting last week about the future of the Hartford Public Library’s Park Branch, except switch those roles. Library patrons were told to dream, but when residents asked about the budget and cost comparison of two recently discussed site possibilities, the CEO misinterpreted these softball questions as attempts to stall the project.

The meeting raised more questions than it answered, starting with what Hartford residents should expect from the head of the public library.

The questions began before Matt Poland, CEO of the Hartford Public Library, finished proverbially clearing his throat with historical information about the library system that residents lost patience with immediately; the public meeting was already starting thirty minutes late and it was held in the crowded Park Branch itself.

As expected, residents were told that the Lyric Theater at 585 Park would be the site — an announcement that is anticlimactic when discussion of moving the library into this venue has been ongoing for so many years. In 2007, reusing the historical structure at the corner of Broad and Park might have been revolutionary. In March 2010, the space most suited for reuse as a library was removed after the City-owned building suffered demolition through neglect. Instead of spending $150,000 to fix a roof, the City of Hartford opted to spend approximately $92,000 on the winning bid for partial demolition needed when the building began spitting bricks and showing signs of imminent internal collapse.

What remains of the building has been gutted and will likely require demolition with only the façade sustainable. In 2012, City Council marked $300,000 for façade improvements to the Lyric. That same year, $800,000 was allocated for renovations to the building. The Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) has said that it is willing to commit $300,000 to the façade. Two of the building’s strongest advocates — Luis Cotto and Matt Ritter — are no longer on the City Council; Cotto has moved out of state and Ritter is serving as a State Representative.

The south-facing side of the former Lyric Theater

Mayor Segarra has gone on record as favoring an Hispanic cultural center on this site. Talk of restoring the Lyric Theater began well before the current administration. In 2007, the Courant reported that a consultant was needed to raise the $10M for restoration of the structure. In 2008, there were discussions with the Frog Hollow NRZ about the possibility of El Centro Cultural at 856 Broad (Lyric site), with Broad-Park Development Corporation applying to be a tentative developer of this parcel.

In 2012, the Courant reported that the Park Branch wanted to expand to 10,000 square feet. On Thursday, Poland told residents that this new location would offer 8,000 square feet, which he said is approximately four times the current size of the Park Branch. Continue reading 'Discussion of New Location for Frog Hollow Library Branch'»

Partial Temporary Closure of Hamilton Street Begins Monday

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By , July 9, 2014 1:02 pm

Starting at 7 a.m. on July 14, the section of Hamilton Street between Francis and Bartholomew will be closed to motor vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. The closure is expected to last for five days.

Why? CTfastrak.

Open Government: As American as Apple Pie(chart)

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By , July 7, 2014 9:19 am

One of the most (possibly unintentionally) offensive things that I have been asked on occasion about information published here: “Is that true?”.

As if I have nothing better to do than knowingly publish rumors and false information, waiting for the libel lawsuits to roll in.

For those who wonder how Real Hartford, not being a traditional media source, finds out some information, there are two upcoming free workshops that could demystify this. Continue reading 'Open Government: As American as Apple Pie(chart)'»

City Document Claims Stadium No Impact on Supermarket

By , June 21, 2014 11:58 am

Despite the Hartford Community Loan Fund’s announcement that it was not going to continue pursuing the opening of a grocery store in Downtown North because developers and other partners felt the proposed stadium changed the nature of the environment this market would be in, a document issued to City employees this week claims otherwise.

Though other developers stepping in is a possibility, the HCLF has said that the City came to them years ago with the specific Downtown North area in mind. Research was conducted to find community-oriented partners who have experience and competence in working with urban markets.

The HCLF met with the City before the release of this document and let officials know that they could not move forward in that location so long as the stadium would be there.

BallPark June18 REV


This document also includes a hand-picked selection of news articles and opinion pieces that promote the stadium; articles containing serious questions about funding have not been included.

There have been concerns voiced by some in the community that “misinformation” about the stadium has been floating around. Real Hartford could not get questions answered at the press conference, nor were questions answered by later attempts to reach Segarra or Deller.

 

I-84 Hartford Project Asks for Public Involvement

By , June 18, 2014 9:51 am

Underside of an elevated I-84 ramp near Broad and Capitol. Photo taken 17 June 2014.

The I-84 Hartford Project held a public information meeting on Tuesday to inform about State Project No. 63-644 and to get people involved in what the CT DOT calls the early planning process.

“We’re here really kicking off public involvement,” Richard Armstrong of the CT DOT said. On Tuesday, they were not “rolling out” any “design solutions.”

Building the Case for Rethinking the Elevated Highway

The section of I-84 being analyzed is between Flatbush Avenue and the I-91 interchange, including the Sisson Avenue, Sigourney Street, and Asylum Street/Capitol Avenue/Broad Street ramps. Of that 2.5 mile corridor, the raised highway (“Aetna Viaduct”) is considered to be most important. In actuality, there are 4.5 miles of bridges when the highway ramps are included. Armstrong said “it’s safe to drive on,” but “periodic repairs are expensive.”

Mike Morehouse, a senior project manager with Fitzgerald & Halliday, said that $60 million has been spent on repairing bridges in the last decade. Another $50 million in repairs are expected in the next three years. Continue reading 'I-84 Hartford Project Asks for Public Involvement'»

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