This July I was asked to lead a walking tour on behalf of Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (NINA) . As an unrepentant resident of Asylum Hill I determined that I would guide folks from the Aetna, the Hartford and others along Farmington Avenue – the street where I live. We expected a handful of people to show up but to our surprise and delight the tour was added to another Aetna program and the handful turned into a crowd!
Nothing pleases me more than giving tidbits of information, gossip and fact as we walked by historic properties which abound on Asylum Hill. But for me the most interesting part is to witness what a melting pot Asylum Hill is becoming. The Hill now counts 18 countries represented by residents who have relocated to the United States. Different languages abound so to label anyone narrowly seen on the streets is a gross misrepresentation of the many and varied cultures now calling my neighborhood home. In fact it is hoped that a multi-cultural center will be established to recognize all who make up this urban fabric.
The Alliance plans to engage a broad collaborative effort to address the potential of the Farmington Avenue Corridor. As we strolled along I was able to point out various vacant and abandoned buildings and to talk about the potential reuse of various iconic buildings such as the former Comet Diner at Laurel and Farmington. Our collective desire is to bring buildings back to life which might attract employees of the companies represented on the tour. Imagine a 10 minute walk as a commute? A vision and a dream at present but there is the will, leadership and new urbanism which can be modeled on the street where I live.
We would love to hear from you and chat about your vision, dreams and hopes for a really great neighborhood in Hartford.