Connecticut's capitol city could look very different if the mayor and developers have their way: it would mean fewer parking spots but much more to do.
"When I-84 and I-91 were put through our city, it sort of split the city," said Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra. "So this will be a wonderful opportunity to connect our city back to our neighborhoods and at the same time expand the urban core."
The Hartford skyline would have more mid- and high-rises sprinkled throughout areas developers have labeled Downtown North and Downtown West. This could all happen if a redevelopment plan thought up in 2007 and a study conducted this year can get the final go-ahead and find corporate participation.
"What this study shows is that we're excellently situated to have that expansion happen just about this time," said Segarra, "and we want to take full advantage of it."
The expansion would include more housing units, retail stores, entertainment venues and commercial properties. All things they hope will attract some of the 300,000 people who normally just pass through Hartford on the highways. The study also shows high demand for a grocery store, that the mayor says would be better implemented as a mixed-use development than a one-story building.
"A lot of the buildings were torn down with the intent of rebuilding the city," Segarra said.
Many of those torn-down buildings are now parking lots. Developers want to put them to much better use and say they'll do like other big cities and integrate parking into the structures. They hope this plan reconnects downtown Hartford to the North End, Albany Avenue and East Main Street. They also hope it does some good for Hartford residents through incentives the city will be requesting and offering.
"Some of those benefits are going to be jobs for Hartford residents," said Director of Development Services Thom Deller.
He added there would be opportunities, training, and educational opportunities to allow Hartford residents to achieve and qualify for some of these new jobs.
Tonight's meeting was just a chance to update the public and get feedback, not a vote.