Kevin, just saw on the news the city is replacing ALL the bricks on Pratt St!!!! The entire street is almost vacant! Aren't we in a fiscal crisis according to Bronin? How much is this costing and where is this money coming from. This has got to be a multi million dollar job. This could have and should have waited, we're a broke city, right? What is the matter with this mayor? Now is NOT the time for projects like this. Please report back Kevin.
Little Brick Road.
I did make a call to Mayor Bronin's Chief of Staff Thea Montanez and your question were timely. I guess a meeting was held recently in the Mayor's Office and many of the question's you were asking were brought up in that meeting. The project actually began design work in 2014, well before the Bronin Administration. The total cost is expected to be around $1.3million and a large portion of that, close to $400,000 is being funded by a "grant" from AETNA. Comcast is also underwriting some of the infrastructure repair required to upgrade underground systems. The project and contracts and materials had already been purchased and Bronin's people weren't in a position to break or breach those contracts now. I would hope that serious consideration will be given to turning the renewed Pratt Street into a pedestrian mall , free of vehicular traffic and find businesses willing to take a chance on Hartford to occupy the numerous vacant restaurants and make outdoor seating and entertainment a priority, very similar to what West Hartford Center has to offer, and make the Pratt Street pedestrian mall an integral part of a revamped downtown. Northland investment is a major impediment to that happening though. If you notice, most of the north side of the street that they own is vacant due to exorbitant rents that they charged and forced many of the restaurants out of business. Thank you Thea for your prompt response on this one.
Mayor Bronin's Chief of Staff, Thea Montanez was gracious enough to answer my questions promptly this afternoon.
In researching the issue further, I found a Courant op-ed article from 2015 that depicted a very interesting history of Pratt Street. If you enjoy Hartford history, it is well worth reading.