Upper Albany Officials must help businesses get through sewer construction
Hartford Courant Editorial
August 16, 2010
For the past decade, business and civic leaders have worked assiduously to rebuild the commercial corridor along Upper Albany Avenue in Hartford. Thanks to programs such as Upper Albany Main Street and the innovative Micro Business Incubator program, dozens of businesses have opened or expanded.
But this remarkable success is in some jeopardy, ironically because of a major neighborhood improvement project. The Metropolitan District Commission's massive sewer separation is underway. If federal funds are forthcoming, it will be combined with a redesign of Albany Avenue into a handsome urban boulevard.
Both projects are essential to the future prosperity of this pivotal neighborhood. The problem is the lengthy construction time. As Courant columnist Rick Green points out, the sewer work is tying up traffic and blocking access to many businesses on the avenue.
This won't do; the cure is not supposed to kill the patient. Someone at city hall has to advocate for these businesses. This could mean grants or low-interest loans, temporary relocation or a change in work hours that would allow access to businesses in the mornings.
The comeback of the Upper Albany neighborhood has been cited as a national example of intelligent urban renewal. Let's not lose it to progress.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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