Marathon Day For Businesses, Visitors In Hartford Saturday
Race, UConn, NBA Games Mean Busy Day For Downtown
By STEVEN GOODE
October 12, 2012
HARTFORD —— City streets will be bustling on Saturday, with thousands flocking to participate in or watch the marathon, followed a few hours later by an NBA exhibition game at the XL Center.
The ING Hartford Marathon will kick off the busy day in the capitol city early Saturday morning. About 15,000 people are expected to descend on Bushnell Park to participate in the marathon, half-marathon and 5-K road races, and thousands more are expected to line the race route to cheer the competitors on.
Mike Zaleski, executive director for the Hartford Business Improvement District, said Friday that the marathon and other events all taking place on the same weekend will give a substantial boost to downtown restaurants, hotels, bars and other establishments in and around the city over a two- or three-day period.
"You can't underestimate the significant impact on downtown and the region," Zaleski said. "It's a pretty significant weekend in downtown Hartford."
Bob Colangelo, managing partner for Max Bibo's on Trumbull Street downtown, said Friday that he plans to open earlier on Saturday, add extra staff and extend the restaurant's hours.
"When each race ends we do get a rush," he said. "It's usually pretty quiet here on a Saturday."
Colangelo said that business and activity downtown started picking up on Thursday, when runners started coming in to pick up their race packets at the XL Center, which is hosting the Healthy Lifestyles Expo. The expo was also open on Friday.
"It looks like a city, there's a bustle," he said. "I wish there was one every weekend."
Across the river in East Hartford, at about the same time the top runners will cross the marathon's finish line at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch, University of Connecticut football fans will be tailgaiting before the Huskies take on Temple in the team's homecoming game at Rentschler Field, which starts at 1 p.m.
And a few hours after the last stragglers clear out of Bushnell Park, the city expects a second wave of traffic to hit downtown for the Boston Celtics-New York Knicks exhibition basketball game. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. in the XL Center.
The following city streets will be affected by the marathon Saturday:
--Pearl, Ford and State streets and the eastbound side of Founders Bridge will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
--Asylum and South Whitney streets and Farmington Avenue will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
--Capitol Avenue between Broad and Hudson streets will be closed from midnight to 9 a.m.
--Broad Street will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
--Sheldon, Weston, Market, Prospect and Park streets, Van Dyke Avenue and Rev. Moody Overpass will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
In addition, the following highway exits will be affected:
--On I-84 East, Exit 48B (Capitol Avenue) will be closed from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.; Exit 48A (Asylum Street) will be closed until noon; and Exit 53 (East River Drive) will be closed until 10 a.m.
--On I-84 West, Exit 48 will accommodate only westbound traffic until noon; Exit 54 (Founders Bridge) will accommodate only eastbound traffic throughout the morning; and Exit 50 (Main Street) will be closed until 9 a.m.
--On I-91 South, exits 32B (Trumbull Street) and 31 (State Street) will be closed until 9 a.m.
--On I-91 north, exit 32B (Trumbull Street) will be closed until 9 a.m.
Because of the live coverage of the ING Hartford Marathon Saturday morning, FOX CT's Political Power Hour will run at 8 p.m. on WCCT-TV. Join Al Terzi and Laurie Perez at 8 p.m., followed by Capitol Report with Tom Dudchik at 8:30 p.m.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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