City Council Insults North Hartford By Selling Off Park
October 30, 2009
The decision Monday by Hartford's city council to sell five acres of park land in north Hartford so a developer can build housing on it makes no sense.
The destruction of what is known as Brackett Park robs one of the city's poorest neighborhoods of prized green space. Plans by Toraal Development to leave three of the seven-plus acres for a playground are pitifully insufficient. Do all Hartford neighborhoods have so much park land that the council is justified in getting rid of some? We don't think so.
Developers and their supporters say the project — building 20 owner-occupied homes as well as 20 rental units — will boost homeownership in a city that badly needs it. We're all for homeownership, but it needn't come at the expense of park land.
There is plenty of vacant land and parcels with deteriorated housing in Hartford that can be redeveloped with new dwellings. Neighborhoods need green space for recreation. It also boosts property values.
Councilman Luis Cotto of the Working Families Party deserves praise for vigorously opposing the land sale to a development group that includes two former high-ranking city officials.
The five councilors who wrongly supported the plan were Democrats Calixto Torres, the council president; Majority Leader rJo Winch; Jim Boucher; and Matt Ritter, along with Republican Veronica Airey-Wilson.
"This is not an easy decision whatsoever," said Mr. Boucher. He's wrong. It should have been easy — at least for a council member with the right priorities.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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