On Monday, September 21, 2015, thirty-one civic, community and institutional leaders gathered to discuss the creation of a comprehensive community action plan for the Farmington Avenue Corridor with bookends of Sigourney and Woodland Streets. In pausing to think of the profound cultural and historic assets of these six blocks one wonders why it is not the embodiment of the current and highly prized movement toward “Placemaking”. The ingredients seem so practical and exist before those of us who call Asylum Hill home.
Months ago in conversation with Mike Zaleski, now Executive Director of Riverfront Recapture and then the Director of the Hartford Business Improvement District , we talked of the extraordinary potential of a dedicated focus on redevelopment of perhaps Hartford’s busiest corridor linking Downtown with town to the west. Home to Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe houses and museums is one aspect to a question of why not have this neighborhood thrive. For the Hartford Preservation Alliance the challenge is what is to be done with six vacant, abandoned and historic properties in what was one of earliest established historic districts. Our mission to “Revitalize, Connect, Collaborate” sees the link between historic preservation and community economic development as essential in Hartford.
In opening the forum I called the gathering a commencement. Much hard work has been enabled through a “Preservation Of Place” grant from CT Main Street. These funds help organize a community in how to bring people together to look ahead. With the strategic help of Francine Christiansen a series of interviews was initiated to question what is the situation of the Farmington Avenue corridor and what might be its potential AND how do we take action to change. We happen to be at a moment in time where incredible resources can be brought to bear on creating a fundamental renaissance. In its truest sense, just as with any commencement, this represents a beginning filled with promise.
Over the next months we will establish a method to present ideas, concepts, and invitations to participate in community conversations as we establish steps to move forward. Please feel free to comment, question and offer suggestions, perhaps to toss brickbats. All during the initial process we have encouraged input and now we challenge you to add your voice.
To view the materials from the community forum as well as additional resources of interest, visit the Community Forum Materials page on our website.