On Friday, Mayor Segarra announced that what he calls an “independent task force” has been created to review the fire department. This task force includes former fire chiefs — Charles Teale, John Stewart, Nelson Carter, and Edward Casares — and current police chief, James Rovella.
Segarra’s spokesperson said the task force exists “to examine the department’s command structure, its resources, firefighter training and recruitment” and will “review state, federal and board inquiries into the death of Firefighter Kevin Bell.” Recommendations that emerge from this will be made to Segarra and Hartford Fire Department’s Chief Huertas.
The creation of this task force follows a number of HFD problems, from the death of Kevin Bell to the accidental discharge of a firearm to lieutenants brawling at a site, and more. Lots, lots more.
The most serious of those — a firefighter’s loss of life while on the job — occurred in October. Continue reading 'Investigations All Around'»
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'»
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.
As expected, the deal was voted through, with no nay votes but three abstentions: Larry Deutsch (Working Families), David MacDonald (Democrat), and Raúl De Jesús, Jr. (Democrat).
Before casting his vote, De Jesús said the serenity prayer in Spanish, then English. Continue reading 'Downtown North Plan Approved'»
As the controversial Downtown North proposal goes to vote on Tuesday, there are still dozens of questions remaining unanswered, not to mention an outstanding FOIA request placed initially to Thomas Deller and Wayne Benjamin, and now to Maribel La Luz. Two camps seem to have emerged on this issue, and it’s not pro-stadium/anti-stadium. It’s those who find it reasonable to ask questions and expect thorough, detailed answers, and those who find critical thinking cringe-worthy.
We have been compiling reader questions since June. Here is what people still want to know about this project. Some reader questions were edited to add clarity:
- What details exist on the retail space and potential tenants?
- The City would be contributing land for the the construction of a brewery. Is it acceptable to use public funds to facilitate the production, distribution, and consumption of alcohol?
- What would the rent be for the housing? Would this fulfill the demand for the type of housing that exists in Hartford?
- How exactly would a stadium drive development? Give details. How has this occurred in cities that are comparable to Hartford in terms of population and wealth?
- Why isn’t there a proposal without a stadium?
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?'»
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
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'»
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.
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'»