Category: politics/government

What is Allowed in Downtown North?

By , September 17, 2014 12:50 pm

With another hearing on the Downtown North Redevelopment Plan tonight, residents might want to know how this fits in with One City, One Plan — Hartford’s plan of conservation and development which underwent a long process involving many public meetings of its own. Links to that document have been disappeared from the City of Hartford website in recent days, making that task impossible to those who did not have the foresight to download or obtain personal copies of the document meant to guide City development over the next ten years.

Here is the document for readers to peruse:

Downtown Development OCOP

There was also a document created in 2009 by the Perez administration. In this, the vision for the Trumbull-Main area is spelled out: residential, small offices, small-scale retail, and small service businesses. Continue reading 'What is Allowed in Downtown North?'»

Special Public Hearing on Stadium Scheduled

By , September 11, 2014 6:52 am

There will be a special public hearing held at the Parker Memorial Community Center, 2621 Main Street, on September 17 at 6:30p.m.

Special Public Hearing Notice September 17, 2014

 

Questions Remain on Downtown North Revelopment

By , September 9, 2014 12:17 pm

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'»

Salvation Army Shelter Saved…This Season

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In August it came to light that the budget for the Salvation Army’s Marshall House had been cut. Conversations on restoring that funding appeared to be going nowhere in City Hall, but once the issue was given local media attention, there was a rush to find ways to move money around. What kind of city would Hartford be if it cut the funding for one of the few shelters that serves women and families, and acts as a no-freeze shelter on especially cold days?

The promise to restore funding was made official at Monday’s City Council meeting when the transfer of $100,000 from the Sundry Account to the Department of Health & Human Services was passed.

Silence on Saving the Salvation Shelter

By , August 28, 2014 7:28 am

Keeping homeless shelters open is not a new struggle in Hartford, but this time, the some $100,000 that was expected for the Salvation Army Marshall House vanished between the recommended budget and the adopted budget. A mere five-minute walk from what will be the CTfastrak Sigourney Street Station, the Marshall House has provided shelter for single women and families since 1974.

The adopted budget for the “Senior and Community Services Program” is $2.13M, down from the $2.2M in the recommended budget. This is where budgeting for the Marshall House, which serves as a no-freeze shelter for families, can be found in the City document. The 2013-2014 budget was $2.36M and reasons for the decrease in funding have been vague; the spending difference is explained only for the Health and Human Services budget as a whole. Continue reading 'Silence on Saving the Salvation Shelter'»

September 2014 Events

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By , August 26, 2014 9:46 am

September 1

  • Shop the Park Street Farmers’ Market (161 Washington) from 9am-1pm.
  • The First Presbyterian Church (136 Capitol) will be holding its farmers’ market from 10am-1pm today.
  • Chabad Chevra is holding a Labor Day Kosher BBQ to welcome new and returning students. Free food, t-shirts, and Israeli music. They say, “stop by to get a mezuzah for your dorm room.” This event will take place at Alumni Plaza (residential side of University of Hartford campus next to University Commons. 5-6:30pm.
  • Free jazz at Black-eyed Sally’s, 350 Asylum Street. 8-11pm. There’s no cover, but don’t be stingy — if you want to hear local music, you need to keep the venues running.

September 2

  • The farmers’ market at the Old State House (800 Main) runs from 10am-1pm.
  • The West End Farmers’ Market is open on Tuesdays from 4-7pm on the Clemens Green on Farmington Avenue.
  • There is no public hearing at the Board of Education workshop meetings, but if you like to stay informed on the state of public education, it may be worth your time. This meeting will be held in the Achievement First Hartford Academy, 305 Greenfield Street, from 5-7pm.
  • For those who like to compete, tonight is Real Bored (Games) at Real Art Ways. They provide the games, but you can also bring your own. 6-10pm. Free. 56 Arbor Street. Continue reading 'September 2014 Events'»

Scrappy Small Business Spotlights Sustainable, Local Economy

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By , August 25, 2014 9:54 am

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'»

Students Create Apps for City of Hartford and Cultural Institutions

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By , August 18, 2014 2:25 pm

Audience watches as Alicia Chiang, Owusu Darko, Raykwon Kerr, and Sean McCarthy unveil the app they created for TheaterWorks

The Mobile Apps for Hartford Program, Professor Ralph Morelli said, was about “getting students to see their power when they learn to code.”

Those twenty students from across Connecticut also earned stipends this summer.

Five teams created six apps (a fancy term for program) during a six-week session at Trinity College. At the end of the program, students learned that they would be able to keep the tablets that were on loan to them during July and August.

One team created a mobile version of the TheaterWorks website, consulting with the client to figure out which information needed to be included. This app provides details on the current schedule, information on how to reserve seats, driving directions, and even recommended restaurants within six blocks of the Pearl Street venue. Freddie McInerney, the Communications Director for TheaterWorks, said she was “awesomely impressed” by the students and the process.

A team working with the Old State House developed a Hartford Area Tour app designed to help visitors learn about and find forty sites they have designated as “iconic.” The students explained that they learned a little about copyright law in the process, finding that they actually are not able to just take photographs that they find on Google. This forced them to go out to each site and take photographs so that they would have images to use. Continue reading 'Students Create Apps for City of Hartford and Cultural Institutions'»

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'»

City Council to Consider Multiple Property Acquisitons in Downtown North

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By , August 10, 2014 11:37 am

Last year when the Downtown North Plan was in development, after viewing renderings of retail and housing, some of the public questioned who would suddenly be investing in a part of the city that had been allowed to fall into disrepair for decades. In the last week, those same questions have been asked as the City of Hartford was initially reluctant to release any information about the four proposals it received, three of which were said to meet the RFP criteria. CV Properties LLC — addresses in Southport, CT and Boston — proposed a stadium, garage, and municipal building. Leyland Alliance — addresses in Middletown, CT and  Tuxedo Park, NY — proposed a stadium, municipal office space, residential units, retail including a grocery store, restaurants, and a brewery. Thomas Hooker Brewing Company of Bloomfield, CT proposed a new location for its brewery. It’s expected that a recommendation will be made to City Council in September.

But on Monday, there are three reports on Downtown North being given to City Council from its Planning and Economic Development Committee. Continue reading 'City Council to Consider Multiple Property Acquisitons in Downtown North'»

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