Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez today announced a $70 million program full of "shovel ready" projects --- in accordance to the wishes of President-Elect Barrack Obama. The goal is to create jobs for Main Street America to put money in people’s pockets to help jumpstart the economy.
"You can’t get much more 'Main Street' than sending a list from one of the poorest cities in America in one of the richest states in the country," said Mayor Perez as he stood in front of the future Public Safety Complex on High Street --- a top priority of Hartford’s Stimulus Package which is called “Hartford Now.”
Congressman John Larson issued this statement: “I am proud to support the City of Hartford in their effort to prepare for possible federal funding in 2009 by establishing the ‘Hartford Now’ initiative. By establishing ‘Hartford Now,’ the City has prioritized their infrastructure needs in a plan that creates the jobs needed to stimulate our economy.”
Lee Reynolds, the Director of Community Outreach for U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd’s office, also attended the news conference that outlined five key areas of impact:
1. Public Safety
2. School Construction
3. Greening of Schools and the Municipal Building
5. A Jobs Program
The Public Safety Complex is a prime example of focusing federal dollars on future growth because it provides a centralized facility for police, fire, and emergency personnel; it creates jobs and spurs economic development in three neighborhoods; it impacts the environment by using fuel cell technology; and it preserves a historic structure. The $85 million project (total cost, $25 million federal ask) could create more than 800 jobs and would be “shovel ready” in 90 days.
“This facility is also the centerpiece of a bigger community revitalization strategy that strengthens neighborhood policing and provides a stimulus for our plans for Downtown North by encouraging economic development across I-84,” said the Mayor.
School Construction also makes the list because “Hartford Now” would build on the momentum of construction and renovation of the City’s schools that were in desperate need of repair seven years ago. Since then, more than $500 million has been invested, but more work needs to be done to make the buildings more energy efficient and to create a more positive learning environment for students.
Schools aren’t the only buildings that need an environmental upgrade. That is why City Hall and the two city buildings on Jennings Road are on the list to focus on energy management, heating and cooling systems, and new windows. This would create about 500 jobs.
Channeling the energy of commuter traffic through the city is also important and that is why streetscapes are a high priority of the “Hartford Now” plan. Blue Hills Avenue, Upper Main Street, and Trumbull Streets are examples of how to better connect the City to the region. Albany, Farmington, and Wethersfield Avenues are “shovel ready” projects that could create 800 additional jobs.
“And that’s the bottom line--- jobs. We’re also asking for $7 million to implement a new job training program for city residents. The School Construction Program and our partnership with the Greater Hartford Building Trade, the Minority Construction Council and the Jobs Funnel are great examples of giving people a skill that lasts a lifetime. These programs alone have created 900 jobs and have put $10 million dollars in people’s pockets. This time around, we could really ‘go green’ by training and hiring unemployed and re-entry residents to work in our parks and public works areas. This is an investment in our environment and gives someone a second chance in life through a city government or non-profit sector job.”
Mayor Perez said, “This is not a holiday wish list. This is a package that preserves the progress we’ve made over the past seven years, including $2 billion dollars in economic development investments, retaining 4,400 jobs and creating 3,300 more. This is a recipe for future growth for our city, our region, and our state. I respectfully ask President-Elect Obama to consider 'Hartford Now' come January.”
Reprinted with permission of the NorthEnd Agent's.
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