blight

Cemetery Improvements on Horizon

Photo taken July 19, 2014

Those who regularly visit Zion Hill Cemetery see that gravestones there are routinely toppled and destroyed. Unlike Cedar Hill Cemetery, where visitors are frequent and staff are visible, Zion Hill does not get nearly that level of care and attention throughout the year, despite being a fraction of Cedar Hill’s size and having a police substation opposite one corner. Gates remain open after hours.

What is thought of as one cemetery between Zion, Ward, Affleck, and Allen is actually a patchwork of various cemeteries. The City of Hartford maintains some of this; the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford’s Association of Jewish Cemeteries maintains the

Photo taken July 19, 2014

various other cemeteries found here. (more…)

Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2015

Best Low-Expense Improvements Award

Best New Dining: Little River Restoratives, 405 Capitol Avenue

PARK(ing) Day: Forget, for a moment, that these improvements were temporary. Pavement, usually reserved for parked cars, was covered with sod for a few hours. These tiny parks were populated with musicians, improv performers, and artists. In some cases, these were simply places to sit. The appearance of these spots changed the mood of passersby on their lunch breaks. No need to construct stadiums or monuments. A few square feet of green can be enough to make a difference, if not financial, at least emotional.

Reducing the thing people seem to believe there is not enough of actually boosted the quality of street life in downtown Hartford for part of one work day.

Sweetest Under-the-Radar Event Award

This is a tie between Cranksgiving and Sharing the Warmth.

The former is the local edition of a widespread event that is basically a scavenger hunt and food drive combined. It engages children and cyclists of all levels, and the benefits go right back to a food pantry in our community. Given its start at Trinity College, it also acts as a way of encouraging positive interaction between students and the community.

Sharing the Warmth was a one-day clothing drive and giveaway, but done in a way that allowed those in need to gather up what they need while maintaining dignity. Coats, gloves, hats, and scarves were brought to where those who’d benefit from having them could be found. (more…)

Leadership in Transition

Carlos Hernandez Chavez reads his prepared remarks at the Youth Engagement Town Hall on Saturday // Photo courtesy of Allison Holst-Grubbe

Mayor-Elect Luke Bronin recently announced that he would forgo the glitz and expense of an inaugural ball, favoring a reception only, following the swearing-in of all other elected officials in early January. In past administrations, there have been both the light refreshments and meet and greet in City Hall, and the evening wear on display in a much larger facility. The plan is for Bronin to be sworn into office following the midnight First Night fireworks.

This weekend Bronin held a Youth Engagement Town Hall at Wilson-Gray YMCA, where Hartford’s strengths, such as already existing youth services programs, were touted. Here, a resident urged others to get involved with the dozens of municipal boards and commissions, and to support the incoming mayor and provide him with ideas of what we need, saying that if we don’t advocate for ourselves, we can’t get mad at the leader for not knowing what needs attention. The takeaway from this meeting was that many residents felt that City and community resources are disconnected from each other.

A few weeks ago, Bronin created several committees and policy working groups. Essentially, these perform as ways to add oversight and transparency, along with provide more opportunity for comment from members of the public. (more…)

In Your Neighborhood: Behind the Rocks

Rocky Ridge Park creates one of this neighborhood’s boundaries. From the street, the park looks kind of boring — a strip of grass with some ball fields, a playground, and a building made more interesting with a few murals. The wooded area, if you step through the trees, reveals how the park and neighborhood were named.

(more…)

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