blight

IDEAS FOR 50 MILLION CARROT STICKS

This is a reader-submitted piece by Miguel Jose Matos, Hartford resident of twenty years. This fits in with our Suggestion Box series and addresses the recent pledge of $50 million over five years to the City of Hartford by Aetna, The Hartford, and Travelers.

by Miguel Jose Matos

by Miguel Jose Matos

 

Three of our local corporations have stepped up as committed partners to back Hartford to the tune of $50 million dollars over five years, if the City can get its financial house under control and come up with a workable plan for a viable future.

Funding the money hinges on the City putting forth a comprehensive and sustainable set of solutions for Hartford. The key piece of language in the corporate announcement was to be “part of” a plan, this was the clue. But based on media reports, the “when and how” have not been clearly spelled out, so it’s a great carrot but as yet no one is sure how long the stick is, and what will it take for our community to come together. A little over three million a year from each company is a great start.

“Push the corporate folk to drop their dime, while the City hammers out some fixes, use their dimes now to fund fixes; that without money remain unfixable”.

$10 million over 5 years is a good first step when having to climb out of a sinkhole fifty million dollars deep. But to get grounded we must back into the numbers, because the City is crippled with debt and limping with weak cash flow. It will be difficult to concoct a financial plan strong enough because of the City’s weak cash position, only making it harder to satisfy the conditional $50M Corporate Offer.

Corporate leaders are good community folks doing their part, protecting their investment and their workforce, but they understand risk and do not want to throw good money after bad. This narrative puts the City in a tricky position.

This point in time is a good opportunity to show the local corporations that the City has a plan that can be funded bit by bit with the corporate funds that are being offered. A project-by-project funding process based on a pay for performance system may mitigate some the upfront risk that has tied these moneys with a tough condition.

This tactic has relevance because it is not meant to only address the corporate funding offer, but to serve as the foundation for an annual Business Challenge Fund. Let’s get back to the corporations and be as corporate in approach as they are. Corner their attention by putting forth a recovery plan that is based on a return on their money and their participation. The approach is in many ways how corporations look at investing themselves. (more…)

Where to Park It (2017 Updated Edition)

WRONG: We do not park on the sidewalk, on a crosswalk, or in a manner that blocks curb cuts.

WRONG: Do not park on the sidewalk, on a crosswalk, or over curb cuts.

It’s been a minute. Time to update our parking guide.

If you are visiting Hartford or are otherwise not sure how to park when you get here, keep reading. If you’ve ever uttered the phrase “there’s nowhere to park in Hartford and nothing to do when you get there,” read our calendar after you read this.

Free-Range

There is nothing quite like answering “in the driveway at home” when someone asks where you parked your car. (more…)

Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2016

Winner of the Weirdest Award

Winner of the Weirdest Award

This has been, in countless ways, a crap year.

In terms of Hartford-specific issues, it hasn’t been so bad, but that has gotten drowned out by the presidential election, all of our crushes from the 80’s dying, and a billion other things like plane crashes, environmental racism, Muhammad AliAleppo, Orlando, and Princess Leia.

Still, our ridiculous awards must go on. If it helps, imagine us shoving a fiery dumpster down the red carpet. Because there is nothing more appropriate to round out this year. (more…)

Zunner Building Opens in Asylum Hill

L-to-R: Yvonne Matthews, Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association; Andrea Perreira, Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Luke Bronin, Mayor of Hartford; Lynda Godkin, NINA; Jack Ellovich, Hartford Community Loan Fund; Matt Ritter, State Rep.; Dannel Malloy, Governor

 

“Government sometimes gets it right,” Malloy told onlookers at the grand opening ceremony for The Zunner Building, a restoration project that has been, according to Lynda Godkin, 15 years in the making.

View of Asylum Hill from inside the Zunner Building, located at the corner of Garden and Ashley Street

In this case, the State of Connecticut was a significant source of the funding for what turned a 90-year old, much dilapidated building, into a refreshed mixed-use building with help from Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA).

Besides the State Housing Tax Credit Contribution Program, State Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program, and Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, funding for $2.4 million renovation of 207-215 Garden Street came from the City of Hartford Façade Improvement Program, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Eversource Energy, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Hartford Community Loan Fund, Travelers, Wells Fargo Bank, Connecticut Natural Gas, and ConnectiCare Insurance Company. (more…)

Suggestion Box: Patching the Budget Hole

How we got here

The City of Hartford’s economic problems did not just happen. They did not spring up when Mayor Bronin was sworn into office. They did not emerge last year or even the year before that. (more…)