play400
culture more vibrant

 
 
 
 
 
 

what we could become if we enhanced our centers, connected our assets, and told our story: a vibrant, historic, and cultural magnet​

play400: culture more vibrant
We have exceptional assets and strengths in arts and culture, reflecting the richness of our growing diversity. Our sports stadiums, art museums, music halls, and neighborhood cultural attractions are pulling in visitors from across the Northeast; downtown is emerging as a vibrant urban and residential hub. We should aspire to become the most accessible and vibrant cultural capital in New England. We must tell the complex stories of Hartford’s unique past, from pre-history to the Native American era to the past four centuries. And we must connect people across four seasons through sports, parks, arts, history, and nightlife. A vibrant cultural setting and diverse lifestyles are also essential to attracting and retaining talent and investment.

Areas of Focus: Arts/Culture, Lifestyle/Livability, Tourism/Sports

play400 Projects

Proposed

Albany & Woodland

Considering one of Hartford’s Ten Transformative Projects, a gateway vacant lot is being developed as a neighborhood anchor. A four-story, mixed-use development planned for this

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In Progress

Bushnell Park Renovations

Bushnell Park is getting a face lift. Work will include updates to drainage, lighting and pathways, designed to better accommodate the demands of larger events

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Opened

Community First School

Community First School (CFS) will begin classes on August 31, 2020 to serve children in grades K-1 in North Hartford’s federally designated Promise Zone neighborhoods,

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Opened

Dillon Stadium

Now completed is the rehabilitation and upgrades to historic Dillon Stadium. Hartford Athletic soccer is the anchor sports team, with the being used for community

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In Progress

Downtown North

A new neighborhood is slated for construction north of I-84, centered on Main Street. This project entails the mixed-use redevelopment of parking lots surrounding Dunkin’

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In Progress

GastroPark

West Hartford’s food truck court is opening, located near the Elmwood Fastrak station. The location is populated with vendors, with hours and information available on

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Opened

Montgomery Mill

A major housing development has been completed in Windsor Locks in their downtown along the CTRail line. 160 mixed-income apartments were created in the conversion

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In Progress

Park and Main

The gateway properties to Park Street are slated for housing construction. 126 apartments are to be developed on the two lots anchoring Park Street. 20%

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In Progress

Park Street Library

The Hartford Public Library is building a new Park Street branch on the site of the former Lyric Theater. The new 13,000 sq. ft. library

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Opened

Parkville Market

A food hall, like those seen in major cities, is now in Hartford on Park Street, which opened in late May 2020. This historic preservation

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In Progress

Pratt Street Redevelopment

Several downtown developers are coming together to elevate the profile of this cultural corridor. Updates and rehabilitation to numerous Shelbourne properties along Pratt & Temple

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Idea

River Road

River Road is a proposed idea for Hartford’s downtown riverfront area. The idea for highway relocation was first proposed by Congressman Larson, and by analyzing

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In Progress

Riverfront North Expansion

The Riverfront North expansion will extend the Riverwalk along the Connecticut River from Hartford to Windsor. Construction will be completed in two phases. Phase one

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Proposed

South Branch Trail

The City of Hartford is extending the South Branch Trail from Flatbush Avenue to Hamilton Street. This project will continue the trail to the edge

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Opened

Teachers Village

Conversion of former office building into 60 apartments intended for educators, includes co-working incubator space and a theater; two-thirds of apartments are affordable rates Project

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In Progress

Village at Park River

Village at Park River is a transformative redevelopment of Westbrook Village, a 40 acre former public housing site. This will create a brand new mixed-use

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Opened

Willow Creek Apartments

The former Bowles Park “project” is being redeveloped into 400 mixed-income residences in townhouse style development. This will include a community center, Boys & Girls

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Recommendations

Arts & Culture

  • Promote our arts and cultural economy: The Valley and Capital City score way above their size in arts and cultural assets. This is a legacy of Hartford’s period as one of the nation’s wealthiest cities, and a continuing tradition of foresighted and generous benefactors. These assets are a major attraction for visitors, new residents, talented workers, and investment, and contribute enormously to the regional economy,
  • Continue connecting cultural institutions to work together: Cultural institutions anchor communities, and the Valley and Capital City are held firmly by a host of institutions that produce a collective impact well beyond their individual programming. Strengthening cooperative action and initiative by arts and cultural venues will ensure continued strength in this sector, spur further investment in their surrounding communities and public environments, attract visitors and new companies to the region, and strengthen communal bonds across the valley.

Resources: The iQuilt Plan for Downtown Hartford (2011-2019)

Lifestyle & Livability

  • Attract younger people looking to settle: The next generation will evaluate the liveliness of the urban core, its cultural, entertainment, and sports offerings (both spectator and participatory, such as hiking, biking and water sports), its housing choices, its accessibility to New York and Boston by train, its connections to the nation and world through Bradley Airport, and its encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Attract retirees looking to relocate from suburbs: It is essential to have appropriate housing choices (rental and for sale) to capitalize on the growing number of retirees looking to relocate to walkable, urban areas with cultural and educational amenities; develop policies and promote housing which allows for “aging in place”.
  • Make the Valley very attractive to families: Ensure that plans include consideration to those contemplating starting a family. Prospective employees will weigh the long-term viability of the region for raising a family even if they are single at the time. This includes good schools, parks, public safety, natural assets such as hiking and water activities, and good hospitals and healthcare.

Sports & Tourism

  • Expand the Valley’s sports attraction: Building on the growing success of a range of athletic and professional sports options in the Valley, both for spectators and participants. Bolster the activities of the Hartford Yard Goats, Hartford Athletic, New Britain Bees, Hartford Wolf Pack, and UConn Athletics.
  • Get the word out about the Valley’s natural beauty and assets: An admirable Yankee reticence to boast also means a notable failure to tell our story – success stories in agriculture, food, the arts, innovative businesses, as well as new investments in transportation infrastructure and housing.
  • Create a coordinated regional agency: With funding to promote, we can expand cultural tourism both to the Capital City and the Connecticut River Valley as a whole.
  • Become a region whose motto can be: city life. nature next door. A possible approach is to emphasize the region’s growing urban amenities and the convenient proximity of a host of activities in natural settings, a combination that most small towns and large cities cannot offer.

Resources: The iQuilt Plan for Downtown Hartford (iQuilt Partnership 2011)

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