Category: Frog Hollow

Discussion of New Location for Frog Hollow Library Branch

Imagine that you are looking to buy or build a home. You tell the realtor all of your dreams. You want a circular driveway, a heated pool, a turret, a moat, radiant heating, solar panels, and stone chimneys. Some visitors might have trouble with stairs, so you will want an elevator and at least one entrance with a ramp. This will have to be a secure building or else nobody will want to visit. Parking for visitors is a must. Inside, you will want the latest technology, modern furniture, and lots of light. Your realtor jots this all down, but then asks what you can afford to pay. Furious, you demand to know why she does not believe you deserve a place to live.

That was more or less the gist of the meeting last week about the future of the Hartford Public Library’s Park Branch, except switch those roles. Library patrons were told to dream, but when residents asked about the budget and cost comparison of two recently discussed site possibilities, the CEO misinterpreted these softball questions as attempts to stall the project.

The meeting raised more questions than it answered, starting with what Hartford residents should expect from the head of the public library.

The questions began before Matt Poland, CEO of the Hartford Public Library, finished proverbially clearing his throat with historical information about the library system that residents lost patience with immediately; the public meeting was already starting thirty minutes late and it was held in the crowded Park Branch itself.

As expected, residents were told that the Lyric Theater at 585 Park would be the site — an announcement that is anticlimactic when discussion of moving the library into this venue has been ongoing for so many years. In 2007, reusing the historical structure at the corner of Broad and Park might have been revolutionary. In March 2010, the space most suited for reuse as a library was removed after the City-owned building suffered demolition through neglect. Instead of spending $150,000 to fix a roof, the City of Hartford opted to spend approximately $92,000 on the winning bid for partial demolition needed when the building began spitting bricks and showing signs of imminent internal collapse.

What remains of the building has been gutted and will likely require demolition with only the façade sustainable. In 2012, City Council marked $300,000 for façade improvements to the Lyric. That same year, $800,000 was allocated for renovations to the building. The Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) has said that it is willing to commit $300,000 to the façade. Two of the building’s strongest advocates — Luis Cotto and Matt Ritter — are no longer on the City Council; Cotto has moved out of state and Ritter is serving as a State Representative.

The south-facing side of the former Lyric Theater

Mayor Segarra has gone on record as favoring an Hispanic cultural center on this site. Talk of restoring the Lyric Theater began well before the current administration. In 2007, the Courant reported that a consultant was needed to raise the $10M for restoration of the structure. In 2008, there were discussions with the Frog Hollow NRZ about the possibility of El Centro Cultural at 856 Broad (Lyric site), with Broad-Park Development Corporation applying to be a tentative developer of this parcel.

In 2012, the Courant reported that the Park Branch wanted to expand to 10,000 square feet. On Thursday, Poland told residents that this new location would offer 8,000 square feet, which he said is approximately four times the current size of the Park Branch. Continue reading 'Discussion of New Location for Frog Hollow Library Branch'»

58 Firearms Collected on Saturday

This weekend’s Gun Buy Back Program at the Johnson Stewart Community Center on Martin Street resulted in getting 21 pistols, 26 revolvers, three rifles, five shotguns, two derringer pistols, and one flintlock pistol out of the community. Two of those firearms had been listed as stolen in the National Crime Information Center.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley says that this was the first of many local gun buy back events in the area. Continue reading '58 Firearms Collected on Saturday'»

Craving Civic Meetings?

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By , July 15, 2014 1:07 pm

If it’s listed here, it’s open to the public. You do not have to speak or know anything about what is going on to attend.

July 15: Frog Hollow NRZ Meeting at 5pm in The Lyceum on Lawrence Street. Agenda includes discussion of Broad Street streetscape improvements, the future of the Hartford Public Library’s Park Branch, proposal to relocate the Monument to the Puerto Rican Family, and an allegedly illegal driveway.

July 16: The Historic Commissions will meet at 4pm at 260 Constitution Plaza (plaza level conference room).

July 17: Learn about where the Hartford Public Library’s Park Branch (Park and Babcock) may be relocated and provide input to officials. The meeting will be held at the Park Branch of the library at 5pm.

July 17: The Hartford 2000 board meeting will include an update from Rex Fowler on the proposed downtown supermarket. This will occur during the 5:30-8pm meeting at CREC, 111 Charter Oak Avenue.

July 21: A public hearing will be held directly before the City Council meeting. The public hearing begins at 6pm. Arrive early to sign up to speak. This is held in Council Chambers in the municipal building/City Hall. (One of the stadium resolutions — #10 from the 6/19/14 agenda — has been withdrawn, but the other remains)

July 22: Planning and Zoning Commission meets at 5pm in the plaza level conference room at 260 Constitution Plaza.

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Window Unit

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By , July 9, 2014 4:31 pm

Vegan Dinner, Bicycles Everywhere, and Community

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By , June 8, 2014 10:43 pm

Joe Biel and Elly Blue

The Vulnerable User Bill finally got approved. There are bike racks throughout downtown and four bike lockers at Union Station. Transport Hartford — a city-specific alternate transportation group — has launched. There are multiple large organized bike rides and many informal ones.

You’d have to be sleeping to think there’s nothing happening here.

This weekend offered more evidence that there is enthusiasm for cycling, both as recreation and as transportation. Continue reading 'Vegan Dinner, Bicycles Everywhere, and Community'»

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Things That Might Grow on Trees

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By , June 5, 2014 12:31 pm

Spotted last weekend in a tree on Park Street

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Wrong Side of the Tracks

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By , June 4, 2014 8:48 am

This was formerly the “chard hate area.”

Frog Hollow on Puerto Rican Day Parade Eve

Each year on the day before the Greater Hartford Puerto Rican Day Parade, Park Street and surrounding roads in Frog Hollow and South Green become a place to show off the wheels, a practice not wildly unlike the romanticized cruising culture in American Graffiti. Continue reading 'Frog Hollow on Puerto Rican Day Parade Eve'»

Scenes from the Sidewalk: Art on Park

Found on Pelican Tattoo & Body Piercing

Gearing up for the Puerto Rican Day Parade

The parade isn’t until Sunday, but vendors are already out on Park Street.

Continue reading 'Gearing up for the Puerto Rican Day Parade'»


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