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Urbanist With Vision

David Panagore Chief operating officer piloted city through hectic period

Hartford Courant Editorial

August 21, 2012

David Panagore served Hartford for four years, but it probably felt like eight.

Mr. Panagore, who announced his resignation Monday, was hired nearly four years ago by former Mayor Eddie Perez as the city's director of development services and promoted to chief operating officer in July of 2009. Mr. Perez was unable to devote full attention to his job; he was arrested that summer and convicted the following spring on corruption charges.

That left Mr. Panagore to hold things together at city hall, where he was still heading economic development as well as serving as chief operating officer. Though it was hectic and he had a lot of balls in the air, he was indefatigable and cool under pressure, keeping the city running until a new mayor, Pedro Segarra, was named in 2010. A new development director, Tom Deller, was appointed this year.

Mr. Panagore knew what the city needed. He pushed for more housing downtown, to create the density and critical mass that a 24-hour city needs. As a downtown resident himself, he helped promote the growing downtown community. He worked with former city councilman Luis Cotto to promote the arts in the city, and with Mayor Segarra to get rid of two notable eyesores. He did yeoman work to balance the budget.

Mr. Panagore's enthusiasm for the One City, One Plan planning process helped turn it into one of the best citizen involvement exercises in recent city history. His embrace of the iQuilt plan to focus the arts and cultural attractions around Bushnell Park, and his full support of the effort to make Coltsville a National Park, will serve the city well.

We disagreed with his idea to raise revenue by leasing city parking facilities, which the council eventually rejected, but understand his motivation to get the city some resources to work with. In short, Mr. Panagore is an urbanist with vision who moved the ball in the right direction. Hopefully his successor will pick up where he left off.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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