Hartford citizens appreciate the massive investments in Hartford over the last 15 years or so. The jobs, activities and sense of pride all have paid dividends. However, it is my contention that the various facilities in the city of Hartford, now the responsibility of the Capital Region Economic Development Authority (CRDA), should reach out to the citizens of Hartford in a more aggressive manner.
• Promotional efforts should include city residents, often they do not. An informal survey of several dozen city residents confirmed my assumption: city folk are ignored by XL Center marketing.
• Events like First Night, Envisionfest, Winterfest should have involvement of CRDA facilities, fireworks on the river on First Night, a fundraiser in the Museum, a sold out hotel, a post midnight movie screening … a little imagination and a few dollars could dramatically improve First Night.
• The XL Center should make its ice available more often and use its excess space (lobby) more creatively. We (city taxpayers) paid for that ice and it should be available. With the right attitude (now missing), the XL Center could be a destination for skating year-round.
• Hartford/Connecticut products should be offered when feasible i.e. City Steam Beer, Southend Italian food, Scott’s meat pies, etc …If the idea of all this investment is to increase Connecticut commerce, why not promote Connecticut products?
• Jobs in the facilities should be advertised more frequently on city themed radio, local cable and neighborhood papers. NRZ’s could also be contacted. The MDC controversy is an ongoing sore point. It amazes me that a similar controversy was avoided with the staffing – especially executive jobs – of these facilities.
• Arch Street, street space in front of the XL Center, the façade of the garage, etc… should be more attractive. A perfect example, Arch Street, of saving a few bucks at the expense of common sense, look at the North side of Arch Street. It has been described as Stalinist architecture.
So, over all, a new vision of city involvement should be considered. Our land is used, our streets are used and some of the facilities (XL Center) have been paid for by Hartford taxpayers. It is time for such consideration.
After a discussion with Mike Freimuth, I’m sending you this information that I shared with him. Added to the information, I gave him are some other comments picked up along the way.