Frog Hollow: Neighborhood Planning at Its Finest

(map courtesy Frog Hollow NRZ)

(map courtesy Frog Hollow NRZ)

Frog Hollow Neighborhood where I lived for 15 years is alive and thrives when viewed through the lens of the Neighborhood Revitalization Zone. Many good things are happening all of which involve preservation and restoration of historic buildings. Yet the buildings are a physical reminder of the vigilant community effort to make the community one in which to live and work. 390 Capitol Avenue is under construction and will bring in excess of 100 new apartments to Frog Hollow. Billings Forge is undergoing an $8 million renovation to update and improve the residence long associated with stability in the neighborhood. Although still a struggle after many years, the library is dedicated to creating a new Frog Hollow Branch along Park Street (adaptive reuse of the historic Lyric Theater remains the pivotal argument) which will bring vitality to the boisterous neighborhood. Plans are in motion for an improvement to the Zion Hill Cemetery.

3. Frog HollowPositive community activity does not simply happen in a vacuum witnessed by the vigorous agenda of the Frog Hollow Neighborhood Revitalization Zone. For many years the NRZ has initiated and fought for positive change. It has remained the organization whose voice matters when the City determines action steps, investment and direction. Under the leadership of New chair Aaron Gill, the organization is alive and well. Consideration has been given to five key priorities, strategies to continue the focus on curing neighborhood challenges. Witness to a monthly meeting assures this writer that dedication and the willingness to volunteer is alive and will ultimately cause positive change. Neighborhood problem properties (including the future of the Lyric), youth engagement, community outreach around the City plans for the future, employment and public transportation (particularly circulation around the several neighborhood schools) are the strategic activities adopted last evening. Far more encouraging were several new residents who came to add their voices and their willingness to participate in the work to be accomplished. There were no lack of volunteers to execute committee work on behalf of the identified priorities.

Hartford is well-represented by active and robust organizations such as Frog Hollow. This neighborhood organization embodies all the best qualities envisioned when the Connecticut Legislature created these urban Neighborhood Revitalization Zones (NRZ) in Hartford. Some have been effective; others have struggled to gain their identity. It is all too apparent that Frog Hollow has gotten it right for many years. Again, as the baton has been passed along, it remains as a shining example of a community taking care of itself. Bringing together people to address problems and opportunities is exactly what our new Mayor, Luke Bronin, has committed his administration to – to sustain and support as the work horse through which we all will witness a better city.

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