Friday, November 26, 2010
WE JUST DON'T GET IT
A few short hours from now, the City of Hartford will hopefully be welcoming thousands of visitors to the Festival of Lights. I say hopefully because a new venue is being tried this year as the festival moves from Constitution Plaza to Bushnell Park.
Many of us remember the annual tradition of going into the City the day after Thanksgiving to see everything Hartford had to offer to wide eyed kids anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. Remember the store fronts that rivaled something from 5th Avenue in New York. The animated window displays of G.Fox and Sage-Allen. Then the trip up to the 11th Floor of G.Fox to Santa's Village and ultimately to sit on Santa's lap and let him know what we hoped for under the tree on Christmas Day.
But that was when Hartford was vibrant and wasn't the skeleton of itself that it is now. We actually had Channel 3 that would broadcast live from their Headquarters on the Plaza as Santa descended down the side of a building in his sleigh. Downtown was full of retail and reasons to actually bring a family downtown. Even the Police Department was steps away from the Plaza and crime wasn't a concern with the police presence downtown.
I just don't understand the move this year, and after stopping by Bushnell Park this afternoon, I really do believe we have a city run by people with no clue how to turn this City around.
If you wanted to impress visitors to your home, wouldn't you put your best foot forward ? Just hours before the switch is supposed to be flipped, Bushnell Park is a mess and there is no excuse for it. The leaves in the Park haven't been done yet, large areas of the Park are covered with leaves and trash. There are a few large piles of leaves surrounding the Carousel that seem as though they were just left there by maintenance crews and just never picked up. The picture above is just an example of the condition the park is in.
The other issue I have is why the operation had to be moved to Bushnell Park. Are we limited to how much excitement the City can tolerate as we try to get people back here? Why not keep Constitution Plaza lit as well as Bushnell Park and maybe include portions of the Riverfront? To connect it all together maybe hayrides or horse drawn carriages to move people around downtown with frequent stops at businesses and restaurants that are trying to weather the economic storm in Hartford.
Imagine if we had all the Christmas lights, hay rides, ice skating a bon-fire in the park on the same night there is a Uconn game at the XL Center, people might just talk about the excitement in Hartford.
We obviously know there is a market for it if anyone can remember the lines of traffic waiting to get into Goodwin Park for the old Holiday Light Fantasia.
It just seems that there is very little creativity in Hartford's thinking and just because we want to be vibrant or try to convince people we are vibrant, doesn't mean it is going to happen without some work.
Maybe if we had high level City employee's that actually lived in Hartford, they might notice and actually pay attention to the things we see everyday as residents.