Providing a Voice and a Vision to a Hartford Community
The "Healthy Hartford Hub" project was an ongoing collaboration of the New Haven Chapter of Architecture for Humanity and the Hartford Community Loan Fund (HCLF). In response to a 2012 report by The Reinvestment Fund and the Opportunity Finance Network that identified Hartford as a city with extremely limited supermarket access, the HCLF identified a downtown parcel of unused city-owned land as the ideal location for a new community center. Anchored by a much-needed supermarket, the Hub would provide space for the civic and commercial services that meet the needs of Hartford's residents and potential developers. The New Haven Chapter provided maps and site renderings for HCLF to use in discussing the project's value to city officials, developers, and other parties.
Recently, the Healthy Hartford Hub site became part of a major storyline in the area, and the Chapter's work has had a role to play. In June, the public learned that the City of Hartford had been in discussions with the ownership of the Rock Cats, a minor league baseball team that has been in New Britain since 1983, about relocating the team to Hartford's downtown. Details of the city's proposal, which included the construction of a new stadium with public financial support, set off a vigorous public debate in the region. The city's proposed location is adjacent to the Healthy Hartford Hub site, and the stadium's construction prevents the development of the Healthy Hartford Hub.
On June 19, the Hartford Courant reported on the stadium's effects on the Healthy Hartford Hub project. The article detailed the asset the potential asset the community would be losing, and one of the Chapter's renderings was included with the article. While the Chapter is disappointed in the outcome, we are proud to have been able to provide the public with an image of an alternative use for public land that could serve the public in a number of valuable ways.