The Rebirth of Hartford
Updated: May 24, 2022
FROM RICH TO POOR
Nowadays, Hartford stands to be one of the poorest cities in America. But it wasn't always like this. At one point in time, Hartford was the richest city in America for many decades following the American Civil War. From the mid 1800's to the early 1900's, the city was a hub for numerous manufacturers and home to many new inventions. However, the mid 20th century brought a sharp decline in the city after World War 2. By the 1990's Hartford saw the 6th largest decline in population amongst U.S. cities.
For decades now, Hartford is not what it used to be and not where it should be. It boasts the highest tax rate in the state and 3 out of 10 families are living below the poverty line. It's hard for most locals to speak highly of Hartford without having the old chuckle that comes with the city due to its given problems. What can be done to remove this notion we take for granted when thinking about Hartford? What else can be done to revitalize this historic American city?
"HARTFORD HAS IT!"
The Hartford Has It campaign began in 2013 in an effort to motivate businesses and residents to identify with Hartford in a more optimistic way. The campaign focuses on highlighting the varieties of business, culture, food and entertainment that the city has to offer. Fast forward to 2022 and the "Hartford Has It" tag seems to act as a new and improved motto for the city. Looking for a new place to eat or interested in things to do it Hartford? Visit Hartford.com/HartfordHasIt to get the best recommendations, reviews and experiences to CAPITALize your time in the city.
SPORTS TO THE RESCUE?
In recent years, Hartford has welcomed two professional sports teams to the city. The Hartford Yard Goat's are a Double-A baseball for the Colorado Rockies and built a new stadium in 2017. In 2018 the Hartford Athletic became the first professional
soccer team in Connecticut while playing in the USL Championship League. The two organizations join the Hartford Wolf Park, a professional hockey team in the American Hockey League. The Wolf Pack came to Hartford in 1997 and are the longest continuously operating minor league hockey franchise in all of North America.
What does every great city have? A professional sports team(s)! A city with professional sports teams can add excitement, draw visitors and create a stronger sense of pride amongst residents. Sports fans are some of the most passionate people in the world. Having a city be home to a fans favorite sports team can create a bond between the club and the city itself. They begin to feel as if they are a part of the community in a whole new light - a feeling of pride and honor. This is another piece to the puzzle that Hartford is getting right!
THE RIVER ROAD PROJECT
The River Road Project is an impressive and historic plan that would change the face of Hartford in its entirety. The proposal? - Replace the I-91/I-84 interchange mixmasters, develop a "Mid-Town" on the east side of the Connecticut River and create a 2 mile long river front park along the water. How cool!
The plan proposes putting a portion of I-91 and I-84 underground and completely re-designing the river front property. This would also include the demolition of highway mixmasters such as the one in East Hartford which would open up over 100 acres to development. This new area of East Hartford would be called Mid-Town and the plan would focus on creating easy navigation from one side of the river to the other.
The portion of interstate I-91 that runs along the river now would be covered by a new level of roadway that would act as a water front municipal road while offering lots of acreage for a river front park. This would help bring 13 streets in downtown Hartford all of the way to the water, making it a desirable area for people to enjoy. The Hartford400 plan would also include two new bridges connecting Hartford to East Hartford where the new Mid-Town neighborhood would be. Thus, making the river a focal point of the project and making it a priority for the public to enjoy.
THE FUTURE OF HARTFORD?
With the city's 400th birthday coming up in 2035, many local government officials, businesses and residents are taking an initiative to improve the city even further before its big birthday. Since 2000, the city has seen a small increase in population and prior to Covid, Hartford saw a downward trend in the number of Murders, Assaults and Robberies since 2010.
The future really does look bright for Hartford. Momentum seems to be building amongst this once abundant city. A campaign called "Hartford400" is determined to make that goal a reality over the next decade. This initiative is backed by a coalition of large organizations who are coming together to make positive changes to the city before the year 2035. Some of the proposed ideas and goals would spell out monumental changes that focuses towards going green, economical growth, improving the community, creating better public transportation and enhancing the cultural environment of Hartford. It make take decades before Hartford is back to where it once was. The good news is, the right ideas and motives being discussed seems like the City is headed on the right track.