“Bullish, Bubble, or Bust” Reportback

Tonight the Hartford Public Library provided a venue for a large audience who would witness a range of opinions regarding the city’s revitalization. The audience, though not all white, clearly did not fairly represent the ethnic diversity of Hartford. The panel, even less diverse in terms of race, had some distinct ideological differences.

The atmosphere was insular, with an undertone of sucking up (to whom, I’m not sure). It was not cozy so much as exclusive-feeling. Either you were following their conversation for years and on a first name basis with everyone, or you couldn’t get a microphone to ask a damn question for over an hour.

Rather than go subject-by-subject, I’d like to pull out a few gems from what individual panelists said. I’ll begin with comments from Chuck Coursey, who is the spokesman for Northland Investment Corporation, “downtown Hartford’s largest private property owner,” which happens to own Hartford 21. Spoiler: the cliche, “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it” fits well here.

Coursey remarked early on that Hartford 21 is “already” over 1/3 leased out, which means that Hartford 21 is ahead of their schedule. In explaining his adaptation of Reaganomics, Coursey mentioned how in the future, he’d like to see the developments that began in downtown to move “south toward Hartford Hospital,” and then later toward the north. He acknowledged the problems created by the physical barrier of I-84, and even began to sound progressive by suggesting that some parking lots downtown be razed and made into “entry level housing.” Too bad the clientèle for that entry level housing is an afterthought in all this, coming in behind the nouveau riche who now get to “tower above the rest.” (more…)

Today: Gentrification in the 21st Century

Hartford’s Next Generation of Development:Bullish, Bubble, or Bust?

The road to Hartford’s current revitalization has been marked by many successes as well
as many challenges. From the era of the “Bishops” and Constitution Plaza, to the Six
Pillars, including Adriaen’s Landing and other major projects, to the current Hartford
2010 planning process, development in Hartford has often depended on key events,
relationships, and lessons learned. And what is on the horizon in the next five, ten, or
twenty years? This program will include a discussion of these important issues with
business, community, and government leaders.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Light Refreshments 5:30 pm
Program 6:00 – 7:30pm

Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street

Moderator:
John Motley, Partner, MotleyBeup Group, LLC
Panelists:
Oz Griebel, MetroHartford Alliance
Chuck Coursey, Northland Investment Corporation
John O’Connell, Former Hartford City Councilman
Yolanda Rivera, Hartford Construction Jobs Initiative
Marilyn E. Rossetti, Hartford Areas Rally Together
For more information or to register please call or email Richard Frieder, 860-695-6365,
rfrieder@hplct.org

The discussion is free and open to the public. Anyone who questions the “if we build it, they will come” mentality that is prevailing in the city right now, it wouldn’t hurt to come by and openly challenge that idea. Having seen people displaced for the latest incarnation of revitalization (read: YMCA closing and conversion of Colt artists’ studios to Colt “upscale living”), I have my doubts about any long-term positive effects.

Pro-Life My Ass!

At a recent Hartford City Council meeting:

Lost and Stolen Guns – The Council referred, to its Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee, an ordinance requiring Hartford gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the Hartford Police Department within 48 hours of finding that the gun is missing.  The ordinance also allows the Hartford Corporation Counsel to sue a resident of any town in Connecticut whose gun was used in a felony in Hartford and who did not report the gun lost or stolen to their local Police Department or Connecticut State Police.  A public hearing will be held on this ordinance on Monday, April 16, 2007. (Item #22)

But 48 hours seems like too much time.  I understand that in some cases, a person might not even know he has had property stolen from him, but the rules must change when there is weaponry involved. Even if the gun is used for target shooting or deer hunting, it remains a weapon. Any argument against that show delusions about the nature of guns.

With gun ownership comes responsibility. That means knowing exactly where the device that can (and often does) take away life is.

Hartford's Third Annual Earth Day Fair

Contact: Linda A. Bayer, Chair, Earth Day Committee

860-509-3710 or Htfd2000@aol.com

Hartford’s 3rd annual Earth Day Fair will be held on Thursday, April 19, 2007, from 11 AM to 3 PM, at Hartford City Hall and the Hartford Public Library, 500-550 Main Street.  The Fair is sponsored by the Hartford Neighborhood Environmental Partnership (HNEP), a coalition of nonprofits and governmental organizations working together for an environmentally friendly Hartford.

The theme of the Fair is climate change and 30 exhibitors will present information and hands-on activities that help children, youth, and adults understand global warming and learn what they can do to help solve this environmental problem.  Exhibitors include the CT Science Center, Knox Parks Foundation, the Hartford Botanical Garden’s CT Creative Store, Inner City Outings, the Hartford Food System, and Alchemy Juice Bar.  Adults, families, and youth groups are welcome.

Those who attend are encouraged to bring old sneakers, batteries, and cell phones to recycle.  The first 100 recyclers will receive a small gift.

Special events during the Fair are:

Recycling Magic Show at the Library                  11:30AM to 12:15PM

Native Animal Show at the Library                  12:30 to 1:15PM

Stilt walker and drums on Burr Mall               1:20 to 1:40PM and 2:25 to 2:45 PM

A complete list of all of the activities is available at www.hartford.gov www.healthyhartford.org or www.hplct.org or call (860) 509-3710 for more information

 

 

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday in Hartford’s South End, volunteers cleaned the litter off of lots along Franklin Avenue, including near the D&D market.

A regular crew maintains the Downtown area, but other parts of Hartford rely on individuals, independent groups, and the annual effort to clean certain areas.

First Quarter Crime Down

The Hartford Police Department reports:

Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts today released the first quarter crime statistics for the city of Hartford.  Compared over the same period in 2006, Part 1 crime for 2007 year to date is down by 23.7%.

Hopefully Mayor Perez won’t try to capitalize on this to promote his campaign.

I’ve observed that there are a number of people who are convinced that Hartford is dangerous in a Wild West lawlessness way. Generally, those people do not live in Hartford. To that, I say– if you read a report of someone being robbed on Asylum Street, then you have to ask how many other people managed to walk down that same block without being robbed.  The media distort reality.

When Privilege and Lack of Creativity Meet…

…you get more underage kids with fake i.d.’s busted in a bar.

If they get the reprimand that the kids from Temptation got, they will not have learned anything. Writing an essay about alcohol abuse? If they had fake i.d.’s, what’s to stop them from yanking a pret-a-porter essay off the internet and passing it in as their own?

Hard time is not the answer, but more of an intervention should be attempted. Just reading materials about alcohol abuse is not going to have any power over them, since most students either don’t bother to read, or have insufficient comprehension.

News?

In a totally predictable fashion, Mayor Eddie Perez announced his campaign. And just as predictably, the Courant runs its usual laudatory crap that lacks an ounce of critical thinking.

Sure, they mention his opponents, but then totally detract from any issues by instead picking up on mudslinging and allowing for a repeating a a certain phrase. During recent presidential campaigns, the media used terms like “flip-flopper” to erode a candidate’s credibility. So, the word this season seems to be “negativity.”

Lest you think Mayor Perez is all sunshine and flowers, ask someone who lives here. There’s cronyism and enormous wastes of taxpayer money instead.

Holding Democrats Accountable

on April 20th, people will be practicing their First Amendment rights by protesting outside of the Connecticut Convention Center at 100 Columbus Boulevard when Democrats converge for the Jefferson Jackson Bailey Dinner.

One press release on the planned action states:

The Democratic Party has managed to successfully ride the wave of opposition to the policies of the Bush administration. And yet, all they can offer us is a non-binding resolution to express their disapproval for an EXPANSION of this inhuman, deadly, unprovoked conflict. The monstrosity of Guantanamo Bay continues unchallenged; innocent civilians, citizen and undocumented alike, are still being indefinitely detained; and after four years they’re still telling us the troops will be pulled out “next year.”

Nancy Pelosi, will be the guest speaker at the dinner.

One of the planned protests involves a march from Bushnell Park to the convention center, beginning at 4:30 at the east side of the park. The action has been planned as a peaceful protest.

Analysis of Hartford’s Renewal

In the Hartford Undercurrent journal expected to get to press this month, local writers will investigate Hartford’s urban renewal–then and now. Additionally, the journal will include a comparison chart for many of the new rental units, luxury and otherwise. Additionally, there is expected to be a look at the new publications that have been appearing in Hartford lately, all of which are thought to be catering to the population that revitalization people are attempting to attract.

Contributing writers are historians, community activists, and city residents.