Making a Downtown a Happening Place

iQuilt, EnvisionFest, and tenants moving to Front Street: Hartford is energized.

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Pratt Street in downtown Hartford.
This key city block will feature an open-air market on Sunday afternoons this fall. Photo:Daniel Morrison (Wikimedia Commons)
Mike Zaleski of the Hartford BID.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Suzanne Hopgood of the CRDA.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Host John Dankosky.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Donald Poland, urban planning consultant.
Photo:Chion Wolf
TJ Clynch of Cycled Energy.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Kelly Kennedy of Bike/Walk CT.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Jon Cabral (left) and Tim McAuliffe, Bushnell Park soccer players.
Photo:Chion Wolf
J Holt.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Rich Hovorka, downtown resident.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Chris Brown of Daily Rider.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Tucker Ives, Where We Live producer.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Making a Downtown a Happening Place
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Making a Downtown a Happening Place

We’re back at our “pop up” storefront at 90 State House Square, with help from the city of Hartford, in a former bank space. Where We Live and The Colin McEnroe Show are broadcasting here for two days, right on one of the city’s most bustling corners.

And downtown will be bursting with activity all day tomorrow, during a special free event the city calls “EnvisionFest.” The day-long festival is an outdoor celebration of artists and performances that also happens to offer a glimpse of the vision Hartford has for its future - a connected city through walking and biking routes.

That vision is called the “iQuilt.” The idea is to stitch together parts of the city that are already close together, and improve the way they’re linked. It includes a “Greenwalk” plan to connect the city’s riverfront, through the central business district, with an extended park right up to the state Capitol.

What does it take to connect a downtown and its neighborhoods? Is it a matter of just letting people know what’s already here? Or do we need to build something new?