Not enough charrettes are led by professionals in flannel and denim. Continue reading 'Ironing Out Wrinkles in the Proposed Urban Skate Plaza'»
At the same time as residents are being urged to accept a potential change to Pope Park or Colt Park that nobody seems to want — a Cal Ripken Sr.Foundation Youth Development Park (with artificial turf) — the finishing touches are finally being happening on a different kind of park that has had enough buy-in to warrant the creation of the Hartford Skateboard Task Force.
When something sits unused long enough, people find other uses for it. In this case, the underutilized New Ross, County Wexford Park was unofficially reestablished — at least by those who regularly visited it — as Heaven, a space for skateboarding, parkour, and art. Continue reading 'Heaven’s Final Design'»
Having grown up in Hartford when there was an arcade on Main Street across from what is now the Capital Prep Magnet School, a man explained that areas north of downtown experienced divestment beginning in the late 1960′s. “They called it civil uprising,” he said of the trigger for this loss. “We called it riots.” Continue reading 'Albany-Homestead Corridor: Whatever sticks'»
NINA received funding from CL&P that would assist with the rehabilitation of a building in the Asylum Hill neighborhood. Sheldon Oak Central, a non-profit housing developer, has recently been given money by the same company to fix up the Horace Bushnell Apartments on Vine Street. The money was given under the Housing Tax Credit Contribution Program of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
The nine three-story brick buildings were created as workforce housing in the 1920′s. Continue reading 'More Money from CL&P to Revitalize Buildings'»
The interior of the second and third floors have already gone through demolition and the first floor’s exterior façade is in process of being spruced up. Thanks to $500,000 given by CL&P toward the rehab project, the three-story, blond-brick building at the corner of Ashley and Garden Street (207-213 Garden) is now moving closer to completion.
The rehab project, sponsored by the Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, INC. (NINA), was acquired in 2010 from what NINA is calling an “absentee investor.” Except for a pizza shop and package store on the first floor, the entire building (11,000 square feet) was vacant.
Moving forward, the plan is to maintain retail on the ground floor, while creating apartments on the second, and commercial space on the third. David Corrigan, the Program Manager for NINA, says the organization anticipates construction on the apartments will begin early in 2013. He says the apartments should be available to rent in early 2014. Rental rates will be determined closer to the date of completion. Continue reading 'Zunner Building in Asylum Hill Receives Funding'»
In late August there was an adjudicated regulatory hearing at the Connecticut Department of Transportation headquarters to decide whether or not Flower Street could be closed to any and all traffic, on a permanent basis.
The ruling is in: Flower Street should remain open for cyclist and pedestrian use both during and after construction of the New Britain-to-Hartford busway, now known as CTfastrak. Continue reading 'Pedestrians and Cyclists to Retain Right to Use Flower Street'»
Dissent from Neighborhood
Not a single Hartford resident or business owner attending Monday’s special meeting of the Frog Hollow NRZ spoke in favor of the closure of Flower Street. Though the Connecticut Department of Transportation is required to hold a public hearing (August 23) regarding this street closure, the DOT spokesmen (the sole female never spoke) made it clear that they were uninterested in engaging the community in discussing the unilateral decision to further cut off Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill from one another. The viaduct began that job; the busway appears to be finishing it.
The meeting began with a presentation on the planned closure of Flower Street, though the DOT actually gave more overview of other parts of the project along with the planned construction on Broad Street, which they said could begin as early as next week. They explained, in detail not afforded to the Flower Street portion of the project, how the Broad-Asylum-Farmington intersection would be reconfigured. This segment showed serious detail to repainting lanes differently, but did not incorporate lessons from past failures with reconfigured turning lanes, as resident Jennifer Cassidy noted. This could be a metaphor for the DOT’s method of planning: be detail-oriented about one aspect while not investigating other angles whatsoever.
In their presentation, the DOT spokesmen (8-10 employees with the Department were present at the meeting, but only three spoke at any length) boasted that the Flower Street closure had been endorsed by the FRA/FTA administrations, though they did not say when this occurred.
They also said that they had traffic concerns regarding this area, yet the most recent traffic study completed for Flower Street was done by CRCOG — in 2006.
Cary Wheaton, the executive director of Billings Forge Community Works, along with David Corrigan, of the Frog Hollow NRZ, demanded a new traffic study be completed as there have been major changes in the neighborhood since 2006. The Firebox, a major draw, opened in 2007. The Kitchen at Billings Forge opened its doors only a few years ago. In that area, there have also been classes and events at the Studio, along with a farmers’ market — none of which were happening at the time of the CRCOG study. The Dunkin Donuts, formerly at the gas station on Broad and Capitol, moved into a space on Lawrence and Capitol. Continue reading 'Deflowering Without Consent'»
Right now those blinding electronic billboards can be no closer than 650 feet from the next one, but that may change. The Planning and Zoning Commission will be considering a change to this regulation by allowing signs to be closer if they are converted from already existing static billboards:
Text Amendment to Section 1007(7)h. in the City of Hartford Zoning Regulations to allow the
conversion of existing static outdoor advertising signs to changeable electronic outdoor advertising signs at a distance of no less than 500 feet from other static or changeable electronic outdoor advertising signs when the current permitted minimum distance is 650 feet. Applicant-Independent Outdoor III, LLC.
The Planning and Zoning Commission meeting begins at 5pm on July 24th in the conference room at plaza level at 260 Constitution Plaza. There are two other items on the public hearing agenda including a liquor license application for 1093 Albany Avenue and proposed zoning change for 1400 Main Street and 16 Ely Street.
The downpour had stopped only moments before. What were the odds that the VIPs, in their suits and heels, would step out onto a possibly slippery and definitely damp rooftop?
In a swankier city the festivities would have ended after the green ribbon was cut, indoors, by a pair of shears wielded by the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. But this is Hartford and that kind of pretension is thankfully absent.
Yesterday afternoon, David McHale had the honor of symbolically opening the Connecticut Science Center’s rooftop garden for the 2012 season, for which Northeast Utilities with its $25,000 gift is its sponsor.
The garden has come a long way since the building opened three years ago. Like most gardens, it has transformed from being sparse and haphazard, to more robust and organized. Elements like the frog and turtle sculptures, along with “Pickles” — a compost bin designed to look like a pig — have made the garden more appealing to children. Michaela’s Garden is another part of the transformation. This addition is partly a living memorial and partly a project to encourage girls to pursue careers in science. Continue reading 'Changes for Rooftop Garden’s Next Season'»