Hartford School Unhappy With Proposed Location For Grocery Store

A proposed site for a grocery store between downtown Hartford and the city’s North End, is facing some push-back from a magnet school, a city councilwoman, and neighborhood organizers.

“You can’t always make things happen when it’s going to impact so many children,” said rJo Winch, a Democrat on the Hartford City Council.

The proposed grocery store site would be built behind Capital Preparatory Magnet School on Main Street in Hartford.

The school currently uses a fenced-in field that is on the proposed property for activities like recess and practices. That parcel, however, is technically part of the Downtown North development (DoNo), which includes Dunkin' Donuts Park and other parcels of land.

Opponents of that location want to ensure students keep their access to the field, and they’re worried about having a larger grocery store so close to the school.

“We don’t know what time it’s going to open,” Winch asked. “We don’t know how it’s going to impede on fire drills. On buses? Where are the buses going to park? A lot of things have not been considered.”

The other two locations under consideration for the grocery store are across the street from Dunkin Donuts’ Park, still within the immediate vicinity of Capital Prep.

A spokesman for Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin told NBC Connecticut that the Mayor does not have a preference on the location. Bronin, he said, wants the store to be developed.

The state of Connecticut provided more than $8 million toward landing a grocery store on the foot of the North End.

The Capital Region Development Authority’s Executive Director Michael Freimuth told NBC Connecticut that the group is already in discussions with potential grocers to run the store.

Janelle Thomas, who was picking up her niece from Capital Prep on Monday, said she would love for a grocery store to be located in the neighborhood.

“I think it’s a good idea. At least it’s more closer than going to Bloomfield or West Hartford or anything,” she said.

Winch is not convinced a grocery store would be successful, referring to the most recent failed effort, the Market at Hartford 21, which closed nearly seven years ago.

“We’ve had new grocery stores and they’ve gone out of business. I think this one, too, in my personal opinion, I don’t think it will last a year.”

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