Development: New authority should help Greater Hartford move ahead
Hartford Courant Editorial
May 17, 2012
Though it drew little attention, the creation of a new development authority for Greater Hartford may turn out to be one of the signal achievements of this year's legislative session.
The Capital Region Development Authority was proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to replace another quasi-public entity with a slightly longer name, Capital City Economic Development Authority. That agency was created in 1998 to develop the "Six Pillars of Progress" in Hartford, which include the Connecticut Convention Center, the transformation of the former G. Fox building into Capital Community College, the Connecticut Science Center, new housing, riverfront and parking initiatives, and Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
It did its job well, but it was tied only to the six projects — all, except for the housing component, in a tightly defined geographical area. When the projects were finished, as they mostly are, the agency didn't have much to do.
Progress in the capital city must include the state as a partner. CCEDA, the older agency, wasn't in a position to continue the partnership into the future. The new agency, CRDA, is. It is able to step out of the downtown footprint and take a more regional approach to development. It will not be tied to six mega-projects, so will be able to entertain the smaller infill and transit-oriented projects that can rebuild the urban fabric in downtown Hartford and other town centers.
As the Brookings Institution and others have pointed out, it is the metropolitan regions that are the major economic engines in this country. The more that Greater Hartford can overcome its balkanized government structure and act like an interdependent region, the better. This is a chance for a real step forward.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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