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
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…)
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance provides free tax help at Jumoke Academy’s middle school (339 Blue Hills Ave.), 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for people who earned less than $54,000 in 2016. Book an appointment through 211.
Free First Saturday at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street). Free admission to all museum galleries, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There will be “traditional Finnish kid-friendly crafts” from 10-1.
Spring Greenhouse Sale: Purchase plants from the greenhouse at Elizabeth Park, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cash or check only. Bring your own trays to carry out your purchases.
Qigong and Tea Ceremony: The qigong starts at 9:30 a.m.; tea and conversation at 10:30. They say: “Qigong is a 2,000-year-old practice from China which helps your body to heal itself naturally. Qigong can provide relief from anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. It can also improve balance and endurance. The practice involves gentle movement, breathing techniques, and focused intention. According to Chinese medicine, tea clears the mind and circulates the energy of the body. Scientists have found that tea strengthens the immune system.” Deron Drumm will be the instructor for this. They say that he, “has reshaped his life by incorporating intentional living practices. After years of struggling, he found peace and health when he stopped seeing himself as a victim and started to take ownership of his past and present actions. Qigong, yoga, meditation, healthy relationships, positive habits, and nutritious foods have allowed him to live his life free of the destructive behaviors he once engaged in.” This is at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue). There is a suggested $5 donation. Nobody is turned away for lack of funds.
Next to Normal: If you are a student with a valid ID, get free admission today to the 2:30 p.m. performance at TheaterWorks (233 Pearl St.). They describe this play as: “The dad’s an architect; Mom rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal; their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens. The Goodmans appear to be a typical American family, yet their lives are anything but normal. This brave and breathtaking contemporary musical takes an unflinching look at a family’s struggle with mental illness. Winner of three Tony Awards including Best Musical Score.” Call the box office to secure your seat!
Rally to Support Trans Youth: Gather at the Connecticut Supreme Court (231 Capitol Avenue) for this youth-led effort to protect and support transgender, gender-nonconforming, and queer youth. There are a number of organizations serving as host for this event: ACLU-CT, CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, GLSEN Connecticut, New Haven Pride Center, Norwich Free Academy GSA, OutCT, PFLAG Hartford, Triangle Community Center, and True Colors, Inc. This is from 2:30-4 p.m. If you have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Fools Fall in Love: A Musical Cabaret in Support of Nightfall 2017 — If you were wondering how to do a fundraiser, this is it. One performance after another, featuring: Greg & Julia Ludovici Pistell, Lindsey Fyfe, Keila Myles, Chion Wolf, John Gale, Tangsauce, Joey Batts, Daryl Sullivan, Kate Callahan, Mac Cherny, Gabrielle Witt & The Grace Girls, Greg Garcia, Robin Zaleski, and Matt Fleury. Tickets start at $40. This is at Christ Church Cathedral (45 Church Street), 7:30-10 p.m.
April Fools Day Massacre Show: Hanging Hills (150 Ledyard St.) will host The Island of Doubt and The Miths. $5 at the door. 8-11 p.m.
About five dozen people rallied at Hartford’s State House Square on Saturday afternoon before marching to the Connecticut State Capitol. Participants carried signs promoting love, justice, animal welfare, and environmentalism. The peaceful march and rally did not result in any arrests. (more…)
Eating that news for breakfast, it felt like the opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK — The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, could not arrive soon enough as a temporary escape. (more…)
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…)
Connecticut Poetry Circuit Student Reading: Magge Nigro, Jonathan Esty, Kelia Ingraham, Ian Mentus, and Yao Ong of Trinity College, Yale University, University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, and Wesleyan University, respectively, will be honored at this reading. 4:30 p.m. at Trinity College in the Admissions and Career Development Center‘s Grand Room. Free and open to the public.
Butch Lewis Community Conversation: Join Jamal Joseph at the Hartford Public Library for a screening and discussion of 13TH, a film exploring the history of mass incarceration in the United States. Refreshments at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 5:45. This is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
Get HYPEd: This monthly casual networking event for young professionals will be held at Sidewalk Cafe (236 South Street). This is a free event. No registration required. Bring business cards! This spot is a five-minute walk from the bus stop on Franklin Avenue.
How to Start Your Own Small Business: Start to put your ideas into action! The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center offers a number of free workshops throughout the year, all of which are open to the general public. You do have to register. This session is from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Entrepreneurial Center (1265 Asylum Avenue).
Lovewhip at The Half Door (270 Sisson Ave.), 9:30 p.m. $2 at the door. $21+ only (unless accompanied by parent/guardian).
Started in 2013, Saturday’s event marked five years of people coming to Elizabeth Park to slide their creations down the hill, knowing often that their hard work would unravel mid-slope. Competitors of all ages strapped on helmets (sometimes) and tried their luck (more…)
Origami Presentation: Paper sculptor artist Benjamin Parker will give a demonstration at the giant bench inside of Hartford Public Library. This is located near the new books on the library’s main floor. Free. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Get HYPEd, the monthly casual networking event for young professionals and entrepreneurs, will be at Black-Eyed Sally’s (350 Asylum St.), 5:30-8:30 p.m. Free event. Bring your business cards!
MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell – check out the space, speak to makers, show what you’re doing – 6:30-9 p.m. at 30 Arbor Street, B7.