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Shed Light on Park Street

September 15, 2004

Park Street's transformation into New England's Latino retail strip appears to be cruising along nicely.

A $6 million streetscape improvement is well underway. Bid specifications for the development of the massive gateway project at Park and Main streets should be out before the end of the year. Other elements in the grand plan are still in the talking stages but show potential. One thing that the shopkeepers on Park Street should do to help the makeover along -- and show their faith in it -- is to turn on the lights in front of their establishments at night.

Most of the storefronts were built with fixtures for night lighting. Yet with the exception of a conscientious few, the businesses act as if the lights were put there as adornments.

Turning the lights on at night serves several useful purposes. They draw would-be customers, who are window shopping, to the service or merchandise that is being sold. Moreover, a series of shops with their lights on are a magnet for pedestrians. Lit storefronts also reduce dark and shadowy areas where opportunistic criminals can lurk undetected.

Many facades and light fixtures were installed with the help of Hartford community development funds under which the city absorbed 65 percent of the costs.

Considering the break they received on the facade expenses, the shopkeepers should be happy to pay the electrical bills for night lighting. Store owners who worry that they might forget to turn the lights on or off can invest in a timer.

Plans for Park Street envision it as a place where strolling people can shop, eat or be entertained at night. If it is ever to become such a place, it should start looking the part.

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.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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