Downtown North Redevelopment is back on the agenda for tonight’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. This document has been prepared for the meeting:
Downtown North Redevelopment PZ 090914 V2 FINAL
Since City officials announced plans to build a stadium last June, more questions have been raised than answered. Among those questions:
- Do all parcels hold considerable market, retail, residential, and mixed-use development potential?
- Have all of these parcels been completely surveyed and do topographical maps exist for all parcels? How are developers able to do a proper feasibility study without designs overlaying the topo? Can that be done without site or land surveys?
- Did the City have a recent market appraisal done for all of the parcels?
- Are there environmental reports on all of these parcels? Are there any underground storage tanks/sewer lines at these parcels that will need to be moved? How much will it cost for asbestos remediation at 150 Windsor Street? What is the magnitude of these potential environmental issues? Who pays for environmental remediation costs?
- How much will it cost for the street realignment of Trumbull and Pleasant, along with the abandonment of Windsor? Who pays? How will this impact the flow of traffic with several nearby schools and colleges?
- Are there unpaid taxes on any of these properties? What is the City doing to collect?
- Is there a reason that the commercial developer is able to have these properties gifted? Isn’t the norm for the commercial developer to purchase the parcels they plan to develop? Is there a reason that the developers are not being asked to pay full fair market value for this land? Continue reading 'Questions Remain on Downtown North Revelopment'»
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'»
Alexander Williams interned at Built It Green! NYC while at Fordham, working on both the abstract, office end of its compost program, along with the physical collection and maintenance of food scraps. From there, he spent a few months as the compost coordinator for GrowNYC. Both non-profits taught Williams about the logistics of turning waste into a usefulness substance.
Experience alone does not pay the bills, so Williams headed out of the big city and back to his hometown of West Hartford. With his degree in Environmental Studies, Economics, and Urban Planning, he was looking for work aligned with this background. He found Blue Earth Compost. Susannah Castle, its founder, wanted to move on. Right place, right time, right background. Williams stepped in as the new owner this past spring.
Blue Earth Compost is small, with three residential clients in Hartford and 35 in West Hartford. There are a few businesses that participate, including the Kitchen at Billings Forge and reSET. Continue reading 'Scrappy Small Business Spotlights Sustainable, Local Economy'»
With so much talk of how the City has been spending money and plans to use bonding in relation to the proposed stadium, it’s time to take a look at how Hartford is using Capital Improvement Project funds elsewhere.
The recently re-opened George Day Park is one of those items. With new playground equipment, basketball court, garden area, and water features, this Parkville spot cost $870,000 to renovate.
In neighboring Frog Hollow, the Pope Park North/Baby Pope playground has been under construction for months. The underutilized tennis courts, broken chain link fencing, and dated playground equipment were ripped out, along with a concrete spray pool. Neighborhood kids have been, in the meantime, playing basketball and football on the first block of Putnam Street, in the roadway. Here, the City has said that the spray pool and playground construction would be completed by May, but a sign at the site says July. There is some playground equipment and picnic tables in place, but work remains to be done for the $570,000 price tag.
The Goodwin Park spray pool construction is scheduled to be completed in August: $190,000.
The carousel in Bushnell Park opened for the season at the end of June, approximately two months later than it normally does. That it has been open for more than only two days this season is an improvement over what was expected — one day in June, one day in September. The necessity of some of these renovations has been debated, but ultimately, the funds were approved. A document produced by the City lists the CIP funds for this at $900,000, yet the City Council approved $1M for it. Construction should complete in late November. Continue reading 'Speed of Capital Improvement Projects'»
A total of four baby skunks were spotted on the Trinity College campus this weekend; two were camera-shy.
If members of City Council have been checking their email and reading social media since the rumors of the stadium began last week, the major opposition to the project vocalized during Monday’s public hearing should have come as no surprise to elected officials.
Seventeen people spoke strongly against the stadium. There were three — two of whom are politicians — on the fence, and one business owner who seemed generally cautious. There were a total of five in favor, two of whom are politicians. Of those supporters, only three were what could be called strong supporters.
Although Segarra talked a good game at last week’s rushed press conference, we have learned that most members of the City Council only found out about this “done deal” at the same time or after the general public did last Monday.
Councilwoman Jennings said something needed to happen for Hartford’s economy to improve, but she had many questions that she wanted answers for. Monday, she asked to have her name removed from the list of those sponsoring the land transfer item.
In another interesting turn, Shawn Wooden, who spoke in favor of the stadium in the capacity as Council President at that press conference on Wednesday has revealed that his firm (Day Pitney) represents the seller of that land: Rensselaer. Monday night, he recused himself from voting on the land transfer item. Continue reading 'City Hall Dominated by Voices Against Stadium'»
The City Forester will be holding a public hearing on June 16 at 6pm in Conference Room A at DPW headquarters, 50 Jennings Road.
If you feel one way or another about the plan to remove over a dozen shade trees from Bushnell Park, show up to speak.
A number of trees have been marked for removal along the north side of Bushnell Park. Three in the area near the playground by Jewell Street are slated to come down, along with three in the space where Trinity Street splits behind the arch, three from the park entrance across from High Street, and seven near the entrance across from Pearl Street. Continue reading '15+ Trees Tagged for Removal from Bushnell Park'»