Plan To Raze Albany Avenue Substation Worries Residents
By STEVEN GOODE
August 01, 2010
HARTFORD — — Some North End residents are worried that plans to demolish a police substation on Albany Avenue will remove an important space for recreation and leave the neighborhood without a police presence.
But city officials said that while they are thinking of razing the substation, they hope to offer more opportunities for recreation and intend to maintain a police presence.
The substation at Albany Avenue is in disrepair and will probably be demolished at some point, but the city has no plans to remove a popular basketball court or sell the property to a developer, said David Panagore, the city's chief operating officer.
Panagore said the city is compiling a priority list of projects and determining how to pay for them, but no decisions will be made before September. He said residents and neighborhood groups would be asked to offer suggestions for any future use of the substation property.
"It's always acceptable for residents to be concerned, but anything we do, we do with proper input, notification and conversation," he said. "We like to telegraph our moves."
The Rev. Patrice Smith said residents like to use the substation property for informal gatherings and to play chess, cards or other games. She said she's concerned that demolishing the substation will lead to more drug and gang activity.
"If they take that away, it's going to go right down the drain," she said.
Sam Smith, who plays basketball and other games at the substation, agreed. He said he and other residents are able to band together to keep criminal activity out but worries about what will happen should the substation be demolished.
"Once that's gone, we can't do it by ourselves," he said.
Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said he would like to build another substation in the neighborhood. Panagore pointed out that the substation's police functions have already moved to nearby Quirk Middle School.
The Rev. Smith said she would like to see a community center with room for a substation built on the site. But Panagore said building a community center would be a financial challenge for the city.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at