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$8.6 Million Coming To Coltsville

August 3, 2005
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. came to the historic Colt Gateway site Tuesday to announce $8.6 million in federal funding for Coltsville - money to be used for streetscape and infrastructure improvements, from period street lights and stop signs to a pedestrian-friendly gateway to the Connecticut River.

There's that saying, Lieberman said: "Laws and sausages, you shouldn't see them in the making." But when he was done detailing just how this money made its way back to the state, Lieberman said, "It may sound like the making of sausages, but, in this case, the end result is very tasty for the city of Hartford."

Renovation of the historic Colt manufacturing site is a $110 million project that will create about 230 apartments and 100,000 square feet of commercial space. It is funded with tax credits and grants adding up to more than $30 million, about $60 million in mortgages and about $20 million in private equity.

Coltsville, the neighborhood around the factory, is slated for more than $20 million in streetscape and infrastructure improvements, city officials said Tuesday. To that end, Congress passed a five-year transportation bill last week that includes $8.6 million for Coltsville, Lieberman said.

"Before long, the president will sign it and, Eddie, the check will be in the mail," he said.

And Mayor Eddie A. Perez seemed grateful.

"This is a project that tries to ... make the neighborhood friendly to walk, enjoy and most importantly, celebrate," Perez said.

Construction at the South Armory of the complex has just begun as crews are working on the windows before demolition and remediation starts this month, said Colt's Rebekah MacFarlane.

The federal money will also go, in part, to the efforts of the non-profit group Riverfront Recapture to make a new access to the river from the Coltsville neighborhood.

"We want to cut through the concrete wall and create an opening [so] that from the street you can see the trees and know that that's where the river is," said the organization's head, Joe Marfuggi. "We know this is going to take some money from lots of different pots to make this happen, but everybody understands the importance."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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