January 31- February 7, 2007
By ANDY HART, The Hartford News Staff Writer
Mayor Eddie Perez is for it. Governor Jodi Rell is against it. And Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has yet to make ruling on it. The “it” in question is the site of the new Pathways to Technology School at the southeast corner of Broad Street and Farmington Avenue. Construction on the new school started earlier this week.
Perez has advocated strongly for placing the school on the site, saying its proximity to Downtown Hartford will be a major asset to the school. Building the school now would also meet the requirements handed down in the Sheff vs. O’Neill desegregation case.
Opponents of the plan, including State Representative Marie Kirkley-Bey, say the proposed site is too small for a school that plans to have approximately 400 students, there is no room for recreation and the traffic in the area is already too congested due to its proximity to several large corporations.
The property was originally owned by the State. When the State turned it over to the city, the agreement said the property could only be used as a park, a public safety facility or an economic development project.
Perez has stated that the school should be considered as an economic development project. The State has asked Attorney Richard Blumenthal to rule on whether a school would qualify as an economic development project according to state law. Blumenthal said he has yet to reach a ruling on the case.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rell sent a letter to Blumenthal, voicing her opposition to locating the school at the proposed site. “I am adamantly opposed to the use of the site for a school...I believe this site poses significant and troubling safety and traffic concerns and is not at all an appropriate location for a school,” Rell wrote. “In fact, its potential risk to students, teachers and staff alike and its potential to aggravate already overburdened traffic patterns make it wholly unsuitable for an institution of learning.”
Pathways to Technology Magnet School is currently located in a temporary facility in Windsor, near the Hartford town line.