As I stood under a truly spectacular fireworks display on First Night, it was hard not to reflect back on a great resettlement to Hartford. Much has changed, much is stubbornly the same, yet this city remains one I love and want to be a part of for many years. For those of us braving the cold, various delights awaited the adventuresome revelers. Carousel rides, ice skating, hot music, the Old State House family events but the best ticket in town was The Big Game in City Hall. One giant board game of recycled materials beckoning players to advance with various instructions on how many steps to take. Beware however because the player had to accomplish activities in order to advance. I went to jail! My ticket out was to sing “Amazing Grace”. All in great fun and a clever interactive game for laughs. Hartford is so fortunate to have the creative talent of Anne Cubberly whose imagination invites us to put away our self-consciousness. I got the decal and picture to prove my win of the Game!
So too it marked the anniversary of taking up the reigns of the Hartford Preservation Alliance. We are in the midst of a strategic planning process which culminates a year of looking within and without the organization. Historic preservation has an important role to play in community economic development. It is not just about saving the “gems” but strategically acting in a way encourage the City to cherish what is unique as it looks to make itself a vibrant and livable place. Hartford has an astounding historic fabric, not all of which is pretty, representing a history of innovation and technological advancement. This is a city of workers so that not all the historic fabric is genteel. However, the buildings and neighborhoods represent a Hartford often called the “Silicon Valley” of the 1800’s.
HPA is known and well-regarded yet an external survey points out that we have friends and supporters who want to know about what we do. It is my commitment to make our mission one which brings us recognition as the organization linking historic preservation to community development. We have much work to do and many directions to travel. 2014 is to be a year of promise for Hartford Preservation Alliance. We invite you to come with us on the journey – make suggestions and comments, question us, demand us to do more, stay in touch!