Category: community

Hartford Demonstrates Against Use of Force

By , September 13, 2014 9:42 am

Photo by Christopher Brown

At 6:00 sharp on Wednesday, August 27, a crowd of about 60 filled the sidewalk at the corner of Albany Avenue and Main Street as organizers waited for a few more expected people to arrive for a protest against the the recent tasing and arrest of Hartford teen Luis Anglero, Jr. Within the next few minutes, the demonstrators grew to about 75 and some Hartford Police personnel had joined them. Chief James C. Rovella, flanked by uniformed officers, approached the group and spoke with organizers, indicating that they intended to walk with the group. When organizers replied that they would prefer not to have the chief and the officers in their midst, he acknowledged hearing their wishes, but stated that he was going to walk along with the group anyway.

The demonstrators walked north along the Main Street sidewalk, chanting in call-and-response style, “He posed no threat-” “-they tased him!” “Drop the charges-” “-now! now!” They crossed main street near the Clay Arsenal fire station and walked south across Albany Avenue as HPD officers held up traffic for them. They continued south on High Street to the Public Safety Complex and filed into the lobby. Continue reading 'Hartford Demonstrates Against Use of Force'»

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'»

College Students Spend Day Volunteering Around Hartford

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By , September 6, 2014 5:02 pm

Members of Trinity’s Chapel Council at the Ebony Horsewomen site

Trinity College students, faculty, and alumni volunteered at various sites throughout Hartford on Saturday as part of the 16th annual “Do It Day.”

Members of Trinity’s Chapel Council got an early start to the day by adding some fresh paint at the Ebony Horsewomen site on Vine Street, next to Keney Park. Two other groups from the college worked alongside the Blue Hills Civic Association and Friends of Keney Park to clean up areas of Keney Park. Continue reading 'College Students Spend Day Volunteering Around Hartford'»

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'»

Thursday: Community Forum on Violence Prevention

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By , August 19, 2014 10:51 am
Thursday’s No More Fear! forum is designed to unite the community against violence and seek solutions. Panelists are expected to discuss the causes and effects of violence, from non-fatal shootings to homicides. Various organizations will be on hand to connect residents with resources in the community.

Lew Brown and Anthony Griffin with be co-moderating the event. Speakers will include Henrietta Beckman from Mothers United Against Violence; Stephen Palmer of Good Soil Entertainment Ministry; Kevin Outar, who does community outreach for Father Works with the Village for Families and Children; Damaris Reyes-Goodman from Project Longevity; and Sergeant Steve Austin of the Hartford Police Department. Each will speak for a few minutes, then the public will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Continue reading 'Thursday: Community Forum on Violence Prevention'»

Weekend of Cultural Events

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By , August 18, 2014 8:36 am

Family Day in Keney Park was among the many things happening this past weekend in Hartford. The free event provided dancing and musical entertainment, along with information from community organizations and free health screenings. There were food, book, and clothing vendors on the lawn near the Woodland Street entrance. Continue reading 'Weekend of Cultural Events'»

Land Purchases Approved for Downtown North Area

By , August 12, 2014 1:57 pm

Exactly one person spoke favorably about the stadium deal during Monday’s public hearing, yet members of City Council went ahead and approved the three Downtown North land purchases anyway, two of which are directly connected — either in print or geographically — to the proposed stadium.

Raquel, the one voice overtly supporting the stadium, said that “Hartford is a dead city” and that if people are out of work, it is nobody’s fault but their own. It’s not the City’s responsibility to get people to work, she said. That was the message in between her continued support for the stadium. No statistics, no research. The City is here to provide entertainment, she implied, but not jobs.

Ten individuals — eight residents, one former resident, and one individual moving into Hartford soon — spoke against the stadium plan. One woman did not speak directly about the stadium, but said that the “city looks like crap” and that it is a “dead land.” Continue reading 'Land Purchases Approved for Downtown North Area'»

Month of the Caribbean

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By , July 31, 2014 9:53 pm

Master Carnival costume maker Q Delpeche, with 2013 Junior Queen costume; Mas Camp Summer Youth Employment Program organized by CICCA and ICR and funded by the City of Hartford Jobs grant.         Photo courtesy of Lynne Williamson/ICR

Riverfront

The Taste of the Caribbean and Jerk Festival returns to the Riverfront on August 2nd, 1-10pm. Musical entertainment and more. No admission fee.

Wadsworth Atheneum (600 Main)

Caribbean Block Party on August 7th, 5-9pm. Music, dance, dominoes, and more. Admission $5; free for members. Wearing yellow will gain you free admission.

Main & Capen to Bushnell Park

The West Indian Independence Parade starts at Main and Capen around 11am on August 9th. It proceeds along Main Street to Trumbull, and then into Bushnell Park where musical entertainment will be provided until 8pm.

Institute for Community Research (2 Hartford Square West, 146 Wyllys St)

Opening reception for Mas: Costumes from Hartford’s West Indian Community on August 21st from 5-7pm. Event features costumes like those worn in Trinidad Carnivals. This is also the graduation of twenty teens from the costume-making program; these costumes will be displayed at the Taste of the Caribbean & Jerk Festival and at the West Indian Independence Parade. Free.

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'»

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