Category: tax money in action

Sparks from the Stadium: Six Months In

By , December 9, 2014 11:30 am

Street Closure

Monday night, City Council adopted three resolutions that would change three streets in Hartford, entirely to accommodate the planned baseball stadium. Councilperson Deutsch and MacDonald were the only to vote “no” on all three of these items.

What does this mean for Downtown North?

The width of Pleasant Street will be reduced by five feet for a stretch of 850 feet.

The section of Trumbull Street between Market and Main will be moved 85 feet south.

Windsor Street, between Trumbull and Pleasant, will be closed off. That’s not just during construction — that’s permanent. Seen as one of the safer north-south routes for cyclists, this closure will create some inconvenience for bicycle commuters and other street users.

Nearby Ann Uccello Street became a cul-de-sac in 2013, as did Flower Street (Asylum Hill and Frog Hollow) last year. The latter was closed for reasons related to the CTfastrak; the former, apparently, happened with little fanfare. The closed segment of Ann Uccello Street is in the general Downtown North area. Continue reading 'Sparks from the Stadium: Six Months In'»

Concern About Registrars, Years After Previous Complaints

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By , November 5, 2014 4:29 pm

Though Mayor Segarra did not return comment about why the Registrars’ of Voters errors during past elections had not caused deep concern within City Hall, his public relations contact issued a statement today on behalf of both the mayor and Councilperson Wooden, announcing that the duo have “co-sponsored one resolution that will launch an investigation into yesterday’s voting issues and a second that will restructure the office of the Hartford Registrars of Voters.”

Last year voters had the opportunity to weigh in on the Registrars, but as we reported, there was little effort to translate the ballot questions into language accessible to the average resident.

The call for an investigation seems to replicate what is already expected to occur as a complaint is being filed with the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

DoNo How to Behave

By , November 3, 2014 7:57 am

There’s no need to opine over the name of a candidate’s watercraft or the illicit affairs that an elected official may or may not be having. Those may all be indicative of someone’s character, but one truly need look only at how a person is performing in the public space to reach the same conclusions.

Regardless of what the Rock Cats’ stadium may or may not do for Hartford’s economic state, this process has shined a harsh light on the character of those who are supposed to be serving the residents of Hartford. Continue reading 'DoNo How to Behave'»

What is Allowed in Downtown North?

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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?'»

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'»

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'»

Speed of Capital Improvement Projects

By , July 7, 2014 8:51 am

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.

Recreation

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'»

City Officials Blow Opportunity to Inform Public, Answer Questions

By , July 3, 2014 1:35 pm

Councilperson Deutsch holds a level

Councilperson Larry Deutsch held a Stanley level to demonstrate the need to keep politicians “on the level.” Then, he showed a brass union to call attention to how union jobs are a good fit for the city.

The frequently outspoken elected official said he had been promised five minutes to speak before the crowd of nearly 300, but was later told he would have to sign up and take a one- or three-minute spot like everyone who was not Mayor Segarra or Thom Deller.

Deutsch arrived prepared with hardware props and a list of seven questions:

  • what, exactly, will be the full-time union or living-wage jobs for Hartford residents?
  • will the mayor’s administration and team owners commit to a signed community benefits agreement regarding a fund for school and park improvements, blight remediation, community centers, and more?
  • can there be a binding and secure guarantee for residents and taxpayers for full repayment of all City expenses — from consultants to construction to publicity — if the owners decide to relocate the Rock Cats before the lease is up?
  • how will there be compensation for workers and small businesses that depend on the stadium games if the team leaves before the contract is up?
  • who exactly will pay for police overtime and Department of Public Works sanitation?
  • why haven’t Hartford taxpayers and City Council been asked what they want for downtown and he rest of the city before spending money to plan and put out proposals for a stadium?
  • how will workers losing jobs in New Britain be treated?

Neither Segarra nor Deller had answers to his questions.

Few answers were provided for anyone’s questions. Continue reading 'City Officials Blow Opportunity to Inform Public, Answer Questions'»

Stadium Lease Agreement

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By , June 11, 2014 2:29 pm

Here’s what’s been drafted as a lease agreement between City of Hartford and Connecticut Double Play, LLC.

City of Hartford / Connecticut Double Play Lease Agreement

There’s a bit to read.

At the press conference one week ago, Segarra said he did not anticipate additional parking. This document states that there would be “ballpark dedicated parking.”

City Hall Dominated by Voices Against Stadium

By , June 10, 2014 12:59 am

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'»

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