One area of downtown Hartford is getting a much-needed transformation thanks to a grant from the state.
The State of Connecticut is taking the first step in making downtown Hartford more appealing by turning a blighted area, between North Crossing and the Clay Arsenal neighborhood, into a bustling sport filled with restaurants, mixed-income housing and shops.
Gov. Ned Lamont just announced the release of a $6.3 million state grant that will aid in redeveloping the area, that's just north of downtown near Dunkin' Donuts Park.
"I'm happy to see that Hartford is slowly coming together because when COVID came, a lot of things just disappeared," resident Carlos Rivera said.
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With the funds, an estimated 61 mixed-income housing units and more than 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space is to come.
Rivera said having everything within reach will make his living situation much easier, as he is blind.
"They're trying to get more businesses here, which is a good thing," Rivera said.
Semilla Cafe and Studio opened its doors in 2018. Co-owner Elijah Hilliman is excited to get neighbors and more foot traffic.
"Our community deserves nice things so having more resources, more spaces for entrepreneurs to open up businesses, it's great," Hilliman said.
This project is one of 12 different projects chosen across the state that will receive improvements to make the community more vibrant. Residents say it's time to prove that Hartford truly has it all.
"Hartford is a good place, you know. We just have to have people come together and make it better," Rivera said.
State officials have not said when they'll break ground on the project, but funds for all 12 projects are expected to be dispersed over the next five years.