Thursday, June 2, 2011
ALBANY AVENUE'S OWN CAPITOL WEST BUILDING
I still don't agree, and I probably never will agree, with the City's efforts to spend millions of dollars to take the Capitol West building by emminent domain. The argument that it will spur economic development carries no weight with me and I think it is less than genuine for politicians to use that as an argument for another photo op at campaign time.
Tonight I attended yet another vigil by the Reverend Henry Brown for what would normally be the City's latest homicide victim, Unfortunately now though that they are happening so often, Reverend Brown has a backlog on the vigils.
While I was standing there at the vigil, two things struck me. First off was the question, where were all the people that should be outraged? Outraged that an elderly 74 year old man was shot in the chest and murdered after he was innocently leaving a store after buying a Lipton Ice tea. Murdered by a couple of young thugs upset that they couldn't buy beer. There was maybe 20 or so people that joined Reverend Brown on the corner during his vigil.
Yet three nights before this homicide, on the opposite corner of Albany and Vine, over 200 people congregated after two people were shot in the ankles on Friday night.
I have been to enough of Rev. Brown's vigils to know that the low turnout is usually due to fear. The majority of the people that would attend from the neighborhood have to still live in the neighborhood so I understand their fear.
But as symbolic as our Mayor and other politicians claim that the Capitol West building is to blight and Hartford's image, I kept staring at the abandoned, boarded up Hartford Police substation. What message does that send?
What once was an image of Public Safety and a police presence in one of Hartford's most crime ridden neighborhoods, now seems like another abandoned property left behind similar to many others. Properties left behind by those that seem willing to write the area off. Even those that drive Albany Avenue regularly must question how the City could just walk away and let a symbol of Police presence just become another blighted property.
Another vacant lot would be better than what is there now. And as we all know, Hartford has a proud tradition of creating more vacant lots in the name of economic development.
Could we at least mow the grass? And I think former Councilman McGarry had an ordinance passed that the plywood used to board up an abandoned property should be painted to match the color of the building. That might make it less noticeable to the public that Hartford has abandoned its commitment to Public Safety and Community Policing on Albany Avenue