construction

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…)

Suggestion Box: Plan Outside the Conference Room Box

Ample space for a bike lane and other street improvements on Bartholomew Avenue

Ample space for a bike lane and other street improvements on Bartholomew Avenue. Pics in this article were all taken in the middle of a regular workday.

 

If you’ve been to one planning workshop, you’ve been to nearly them all. Typically, these are held in a meeting room with no windows. To an extent, we get why this happens. We live in a sedentary society that bristles at even temporary discomfort. That, and everyone always wants to use Powerpoint.

But is this the best way to solicit input from those who are using the streets, parks, and buildings under discussion for redesign? Barring weather extremes where participants might get heat stroke or frostbite, could we reconsider at least some of these venues? (more…)

Streetscape Improvements in the Future for Bartholomew Avenue

Around this time next year, expect to see some streetscape improvements under construction along Bartholomew Avenue in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood.

The Bartholomew Avenue Streetscape and stormwater improvement project is primarily funded by a State of Connecticut OPM TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) and Responsible Growth Incentive Fund grant of $2 million, and $1.6 million from MDC for streetscape design and construction combined with stormwater-sanitary infrastructure. The City of Hartford has kicked in $25,000 for CDM Smith — consultants with an office in East Hartford — to get the project going.

On Wednesday, the first public workshop was held at the Parkville NRZ’s monthly meeting. There were a few residents in attendance, but most participants represented nearby businesses and organizations. CDM Smith did not come in with designs, but set up the meeting to gain insight about what ideas might be desired by locals as they turn their attention to sidewalk enhancements on Hamilton Street near the signalized crossing, lighting improvements under the “Parkville” bridge, and various other changes along Bartholomew Avenue between Park Street and Hamilton Street. (more…)

Signs of a New Year

A number of new signs have been popping up in and around downtown.

The one above is mounted on the I-91 pedestrian/cyclist bridge that connects Riverside Park with the northern section of Downtown. The vibrant signs (yes, more than one) invite passersby to use the bridge, which has come off as intimidating to some. The signs’ creator has worked on murals throughout the city; you can see some of her other work on the back of the Goodyear building. (more…)

January 2017 Events in Hartford

This monthly event listing includes arts and entertainment, civic engagement, academic, cultural, wellness, and other types of activities happening in Hartford during January. There is no intent to include all events — it’s curated, with preference given to what the widest range of Hartford residents can afford (free or low cost) and what sounds most interesting to us. If we think an event sounds convoluted, disorganized, or offensive, we are not going to list it.

January 1

  • The Half Door (270 Sisson Ave.) is serving brunch from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. today.
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

January 2

  • BiCi Co. Winter Gear Share: Drop off donations to BiCi Co. (95 Park Street) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. They say: “We have some riders (and community members) [who] may not have all the winter gear they need. Bring clean, lightly used or new gear, and we’ll find a home with another winter rider or Center for Latino Progress program participant. Gloves, hats, jackets, scarves, baselayers, cold weather jerseys, and outerwear.”
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Hartford Jazz Orchestra performs at Arch Street Tavern at 8 p.m. Free.

January 3

  • BiCi Co. Winter Gear Share: Drop off donations to BiCi Co. (95 Park Street) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. They say: “We have some riders (and community members) [who] may not have all the winter gear they need. Bring clean, lightly used or new gear, and we’ll find a home with another winter rider or Center for Latino Progress program participant. Gloves, hats, jackets, scarves, baselayers, cold weather jerseys, and outerwear.”
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Natural Hair Networking Meetup: This event is at M Lounge (942 Main St.) from 6-8 p.m. They say: “Come mix, mingle and learn with the Brown Skin Women (BSW) Network full of beautiful natural living women and professional service & product providers, while having a wonderful time! At this event we feature our signature express networking that allows you to connect with ALL guest before the night is up. If you own a business or offer a product or service, don’t forget to bring your business cards. If you are attending solely to enjoy the amazing energy and natural hair & beauty inspiration this event offers, you too are in for a treat. We will offer raffles from our sponsors and partners with our partners. Warning: Our events are known to build lasting friendships, unity and love.” This is free for BSW members and $5 for non-members.
  • Game Night: Real Art Ways (56 Arbor St.) is hosting a free community game night, 6-10 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.

January 4

  • BiCi Co. Winter Gear Share: Drop off donations to BiCi Co. (95 Park Street) from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. They say: “We have some riders (and community members) [who] may not have all the winter gear they need. Bring clean, lightly used or new gear, and we’ll find a home with another winter rider or Center for Latino Progress program participant. Gloves, hats, jackets, scarves, baselayers, cold weather jerseys, and outerwear.”
  • Free ice skating and skate rentals in Bushnell Park, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Get HYPEd: free and casual networking event for young entrepreneurs and professionals. Bring your business cards. This month’s event is at Ted’s Montana Grill (35 Front Street), 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  • MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell: check out MakeHartford (30 Arbor St. #B7), speak to makers, show what you’re doing, 6:30-9 p.m. Free.
  • Loving: Cinestudio screens this film at 7:30 p.m. They say: “Like many landmark choices that opened a door to freedom, the Supreme Court decision to legalize interracial marriages in every state began with ordinary people who wanted the protection of the Constitution to apply to them, too. In 1967, those people were Richard and Mildred Loving, a Virginia couple who were arrested for the crime of ‘miscegenation.’ Without much education, connections or money, they started a case that would change their lives, and so many more. A subtle film that allows for complexity while holding out hope for humanity.” General admission: $10.

(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…)

Tiple Construction at Trinity College

For the second time, William Cumpiano is leading a Puerto Rican Tiple construction workshop at Trinity College.

This class of about a dozen students kicked off on Monday and will be finishing their small stringed-instruments this weekend. No prior woodworking knowledge or experience was required of participants who have been using both hand and power tools to make their instruments.

The Center for Urban and Global Studies at Trinity and Center Church are sponsors of this week-long workshop. (more…)