June 6, 2007
By NIRAJ CHOKSHI, Courant Staff Writer
After founding and then running a Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhood revitalization organization for 25 years, Bernadine Silvers will be recognized tonight at a fundraising event held in her honor at city hall.
Silvers, The Hartford Courant's 1999 Citizen of the Year, established the Coalition to Strengthen the Sheldon/Charter Oak Neighborhood, or CSS/CON, to ensure resident involvement in neighborhood development, which she says was lacking.
"Everybody had a plan for the neighborhood but the residents," Silvers said.
Since it was started in 1982, CSS/CON has operated with cooperation in mind, said Linda Osten, who replaced Silvers as president of the organization in January. The importance of cooperation is something Silvers says she learned very early on.
"You need to include all of the forces in order to have a very healthy community," she said.
Former Hartford Mayor Mike Peters can attest to Silvers' tenacious drive to work for her neighborhood.
"She was literally one of the first people I met [after becoming mayor]," he said. "She was right there, making sure her neighborhood would be OK, and she certainly did a very good job at it."
Silvers is thankful for the help and support she's received along the way.
"I'm not thrilled about me getting honored. I'm thrilled that people cared enough about the work being done," she said.
The organization continues to be involved in improving neighborhood aesthetics, working with developers, youth counseling and various other forms of community outreach, Osten said.
There will be food, drinks and music at the event, which will be held in the atrium in city hall from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The program, during which current Mayor Eddie Perez and former Mayor Mike Peters will both speak, runs from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $25 and may be bought at the door. Proceeds will be distributed to CSS/CON and Hartford 2000, a coalition of 14 neighborhood revitalization zone committees, and the city of Hartford, according to the organization's website.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at