Capital City News

 

May 1, 2015

 

Friends,

Our Hartford community had some major wins recently!

Earlier this week, I was joined by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Nani A. Coloretti and Senator Chris Murphy in announcing that North Hartford is one of six new urban Promise Zones in the country. This is a highly competitive and coveted federal designation, one that will change lives for many families in the North Hartford Promise Zone, a 3.11 square mile area that encompasses the Clay Arsenal, Northeast and Upper Albany neighborhoods. This means that the North Hartford Promise Zone will receive preferential consideration for existing federal grant programs and federal staff to help us navigate all the federal resources that are out there.

North Hartford was once a prosperous area that deteriorated after the construction of Interstate 84 and after race riots in 1968. The City of Hartford has already invested millions of capital improvement dollars in façade renovations and infrastructure improvements. The Promise Zone designation will help us build upon those projects, which include major renovations at Thirman Milner School and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as improvements at the North End Senior Center, Keney Park and a new police sub station on Coventry Street.

This designation happened because of all the hard work done by our many community partners, including U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, the Department of Development Services, Office of Central Grants, Hartford Police Department, Hartford Public Schools, Health and Human Services, the Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation, Metro Hartford Information Services, Hartford Housing Authority, Hartford Public Library, along with United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Capital Workforce Partners, Community Solutions, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Greater Hartford YMCA, Montanez Consulting, the Neighborhood Revitalization Zones from Upper Albany, Northeast and Clay Arsenal and the Village for Families and Children.

Last week, we announced a proposal to create a municipal identification program that would facilitate access to City services, programs and benefits for all Hartford residents, regardless of race, age, gender, arrest or conviction record, citizenship status or sexual orientation. A Hartford photo identification card would allow residents to apply for supplemental nutritional programs, allow access to the City's health clinic and would allow residents to apply for food vendor licenses. Card holders would also have the ability to open bank accounts and apply for housing and employment.

The card would grant residents access to certain basic needs that are not easily accessible to everyone. A photo ID can serve as a stepping stone for homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals who are looking for a new start. It can also help undocumented immigrants become more active members of the community. An ordinance creating the Municipal ID program went before City Council on Monday and was referred to a committee. It will go to a public hearing on May 18. I hope to see many people at the hearing voicing their support for the program.

I would like to thank all of our partners who contributed input as we developed the ordinance. Our partners include, the ACLU of Connecticut, the Greater Hartford Central Labor Council, the West Indian Social Club, the Commission of Refugee and Immigrant Affairs, 32BJ, Journey Home, South Park Inn, the Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, Migration & Refugee Services at Catholic Charities, Hartford Public Library.

Our next priority is to establish a community benefits policy to ensure our residents and businesses are positively impacted by all the growth in our City. In partnership with Hartford 2000, we are hosting a community forum on May 5 to gather your input. We hope you can attend and give us feedback.

Thank you for all that you do.

Pedro E. Segarra
Mayor

 

Hundred Day Challenge to Reduce Homelessness in Greater Hartford Hits Halfway Mark

Thirteen chronically homeless people now have homes and 40 others have been matched with a space in supportive housing as part of a campaign to house 100 homeless people in Greater Hartford in 100 days.

The campaign kicked off in March and hit its halfway mark on Wednesday this week.

Matthew C. Morgan, Executive Director at Journey Home, a nonprofit working to end homelessness in Greater Hartford, said a team of people who work directly with the homeless population laid out goals and strategies for the challenge.

A second team of people with decision making power in key organizations, including the City of Hartford, the Hartford Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, have been asked to support the initiative by changing policies or practices to allow the 100-day challenge strategies to be put in place.

"To be able to call on people in great leadership roles when we need someone or need resources laid out has been instrumental in getting this great event planned and in place," said Morgan.

The 100-Day Challenge approach comes from the Rapid Results Institute based in Stamford. The idea is to tackle big social problems within a short period of time.

"The reason I believe this works is partly because institutional and bureaucratic change works better on deadlines," said Morgan. "So this Rapid Results approach is a great tool for us to ask institutions to try something out for a temporary amount of time."

Moving forward, Morgan said the goal is to maintain some of the improvements that have been made because of the challenge.

More information the program is available here.

Arbor Day Foundation Names Hartford Tree City USA

Hartford was named a 2014 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Hartford achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program's four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and National Association of State Foresters.

"Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Hartford make smart investments in urban forests," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social, and environmental benefits."

Cleaner air, improved storm water management, energy savings, increased property values and commercial activity are among the benefits enjoyed by Tree City USA communities.

More information the program is available here.

 

Help Hartford Decide

Hartford 2000, the City of Hartford and the Public Library invite you to share your ideas at a public input session on the topic of community benefits on Tuesday, May 5th at 6:00 p.m. at the Downtown Library.

The City is going to create a Community Benefits Policy and wants to hear from Hartford residents before the policy is drafted. "Community Benefits" mean actions that developers will be asked to take in return for being given City financial assistance. Such assistance may include free land, loans or grants, or property tax reductions.

For example, if a company is given free land to build a factory, the developer would be required to provide something in return, such as hiring a number of Hartford residents.

The City wants to have a standard policy for these benefits rather than negotiate each project individually.

So, come out May 5th and give your input. We would love to hear it!

 

City Jobs Available!

Now Hiring Hartford Police Officers
Anticipated vacancies are in the Police Department. Under supervision, performs law enforcement duties involving the protection of life and property; the prevention of crime and the apprehension of crime suspects; and performs public service duties involving non- criminal calls for service, the preservation of peace and working with the community.

For more information click here.

Early Childhood Monitor
Vacancies are in the Division for Young Children of the Department of Families, Children, Youth and Recreation. Under supervision, monitors compliance with School Readiness requirements and other Hartford expectations as delineated by the Division for Young Children. Visits early childhood providers serving Hartford young children to administer various monitoring instruments within preschool classrooms in order to substantiate the accuracy of child assessment data, measure the quality of instructional practices and the classroom environment.

For more information click here.

 
 

Announcements for City Staff

Register by May 7th for Mammogram on May 21st
Hartford Hospital will have their mobile mammography bus at City Hall on Thursday, May 21st, to provide digital screening mammograms to any female employees and/or family members that are age 40 who have not had a mammogram in the past 12 months. Donated funds will cover the cost of the screenings for those that are currently without health insurance coverage.

You must register by May 7th. To register, please call Hartford Hospital Mobile Team at (860) 972-1243 or email at: mobilemammography@hhchealth.org. Any further questions, feel free to contact Stacy Castiglione in the Benefits Division at (860) 757-9860.

SPOTLIGHT
on
BUSINESS

The Brothers Crisp

Alongside the Parkville underpass sits a building that is home to an unassuming four-man operation creating high end, handmade shoes, The Brothers Crisp.

Inspired by the idea of handmade clothing from his friends at Hartford Denim Company, owner Joshua Westbrook set off to Oregon to attend the Bonney& Wills School of Shoemaking and Design in Ashland, Oregon. That summer, he began designing and sewing custom artisan shoes. He began by selling them to his family and friends. Shortly after, he began selling them online and by the summer of 2013 he established The Brothers Crisp company on Park Street.

Before establishing his business, Josh used to collect and customize shoes by painting them for fun. When asked why he chose to make shoes over some other type of clothing Josh said, "I wanted to learn a trade where I could work with my hands but still be creative at the same time. Everyone loves shoes and there are not too many people out there who make them."

What makes Brothers Crisp shoes so special? The Brothers Crisp try to focus on sourcing materials from countries that hold themselves to some sort of ethical standard, as opposed to the third world countries and unlike many large corporate shoe manufacturers. Most of the leather comes from Chicago and England while many of the shoe soles come from Italy. They are also known for the hand-sewn toe. Although sewing machines are used to build a majority of the shoe, each toe is a labor-some task completed one at a time.

"Our Focus is on taking quality materials to acknowledge the craft of the past but still keep the designs new and fresh," said Josh. "We are trying to take handmade to a place it hasn't been before."

Although not religious, Josh came up with the company name after hearing the story of the french brothers Crispin and Crispianus who are commonly known as the Catholic Patron Saints of Shoemakers.

Westbrook is the third generation of his family to live in Hartford. "I made my business here because it is where I am from. It's a great town that is getting better. I'd like to do my part to help make it better."

Currently, Josh and his crew of three manufacture about 30 to 50 pairs of shoes a month. If you would like to learn more about The Brothers Crisp or buy a custom pair of shoes, please visit their website.

 
CITY HAPPENINGS
Walk Like MADD
Help raise funds to support the mission to stop drunk driving at The Annual Walk Like MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving 5K Family Fun Walk.

Saturday, May 2
Registration starts 8:30AM
Walk begins at 10:00AM

XFINITY Theater
61 Savitt Way, Hartford, CT

Heaven Skate Park Spring Cleanup



After a tough winter, things are back up and running at Heaven Skatepark in downtown Hartford. To prepare for a packed summer of skateboarding, BMX, graffiti and music, the Friends of Heaven Skatepark are organizing a cleanup this Sunday at 11AM in the park to ensure its resplendence. The cleanup will last until about 1PM and then there will be pizza for lunch. Some gloves and bags will be provided, but please bring whatever other tools and gear you think will help make the cleanup go more smoothly.

Heaven Skatepark, located in New Ross, County Wexford Park in downtown Hartford can be found at the corner of Main and Trumbll Streets.

For additional information e-mail oiseaux@gmail.com, call (860)729-9603 or visit the Heaven Skatepark Website.

Six Chambers
Beneath the Blue Dome, Hartford's most famous landmark, sits the former Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. Join us for a theatrical event inside this old factory that traces the stories of the people who have toiled and triumphed on this land for the last 500 years. Traveling through the sacred Suckiaug Great Meadow, the Dutch House of Hope, early English Hartford, Colonel Colt's factory and homes of the homeless, we will reveal an important story of where and how we live in this tangible symbol of our city's renewal.

Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15 at 7:30PM
East Armory of the Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company
Entrance at 160 Huyshope Ave.

For tickets and more information call (860)757-6388

Hour Father
A stage play written by Hartford's own David Horace Greer. Starring film, TV, stage, and voice actor Keith David.

Saturday, May 16 6:30PM
Real Art Ways, 56 Arbor Street, Hartford

Tickets; $10 or $8 RAW Members
realartways.org

(860) 232-1006

Memorial Day Community Meal
On May 25th, Hands on Hartford will open their doors and hearts to share in the Memorial Holiday together. They are seeking the assistance of volunteers to help serve a delicious holiday breakfast to their neighbors.

Christ Cathedral Church, 45 Church Street, Hartford
8:30AM- 1:30PM

All volunteers must stay for the entire scheduled event.

For more information, please contact Wanda, Program Manager – Community Engagement at (860) 706-1507 or e-mail.

 
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