Developing street activity in downtown Hartford on weekends — particularly Sundays — has been something of a chicken-and-egg proposition. Things are closed because nobody goes there; nobody goes there because things are closed.
Is it time to put the money on the chicken?
Downtown is livelier than it was in years gone by. There are more people living downtown, and more major weekend events, such as The Hartford Marathon and Hartford Parks Bike Tour. While these typically are Saturday events, people might stay over if there were more to do on Sundays.
Well, the theaters are open on Sundays, as are the Connecticut Science Center and the Wadsworth Atheneum. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to put another piece in the puzzle by asking legislative leaders to open the Old State House on Sundays.
In a word, yes. Good idea. The state has embarked on a major marketing campaign, "Still Revolutionary," that highlights its role in the Revolutionary War as well as the Industrial Revolution. It won't do to have the 1796 state house, epicenter of state history and former state capitol, closed.
The Old State House has been run since 2008 by the nonprofit Connecticut Public Affairs Network, best known for CT-N television coverage of state government. But the network saw an opportunity to broaden its mission of citizen education to include state history, said spokesman Bill Bevacqua. It's been developing new programming, including an outstanding luncheon lecture series hosted by newswoman Diane Smith, so there's no reason to think it can't do its part to make Sundays in downtown Hartford more lively and interesting.
The key here is momentum. Find another reason to come downtown, then another one after that. Riverfront Recapture's popular Dragon Boat Races are Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 18 and 19, which might be a model for other events.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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