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MAYOR BRONIN, COMMUNITY MEMBERS KICK OFF HOMESTEAD DEMOLITION

MAYOR BRONIN, COMMUNITY MEMBERS KICK OFF HOMESTEAD DEMOLITION

HARTFORD, CONN (May 3, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin and community members kicked off the demolition of three prominent large, vacant, and blighted industrial properties on Homestead Avenue covering 3.5 acres, an essential step toward redeveloping them for productive use.  The oldest building is approximately 100 years old and hasn’t been in use since the end of the last century.  All of the properties need significant environmental remediation before they can be repurposed.  The remediation and demolition costs are covered by a $200,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant and a $2 million State Department of Economic and Community Development grant.

“We’re tackling blighted properties big and small, and this is a really big one,” said Mayor Bronin. “These buildings have been vacant and blighted for decades, and they’re on a very important avenue in Hartford. Our goal isn’t just to take these blighted buildings down, our goal is to clear the way for new development that brings jobs back to Homestead and the Upper Albany corridor, and we’re going to keep working hard to do that.”

“Properties that have been vacant for decades cause blight, drain local resources, and negatively impact our unified efforts to improve communities and grow jobs for area residents,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy.  “By making smart investments to renew properties such as the one here on Homestead Avenue, we can add value to our neighborhoods, spur growth, and increase private investments.  I am glad that the state could partner with Mayor Bronin and the City of Hartford on redeveloping this area that has been in need for so long.”

“These properties have been an eyesore for residents and visitors traveling through the City of Hartford for far too long,” said City Council President Glendowlyn L. H. Thames.  “I applaud the efforts of the city and our partners for aggressively pursuing demolition and paving the way for redevelopment of these parcels.  This is a tremendous opportunity to activate a main artery in the adjacent neighborhoods of Asylum Hill, Clay Arsenal, and Upper Albany.”

The property at 367 Homestead Avenue, built in the early twentieth century, was the site of the Philbrick-Booth & Spencer Company, which operated as a metal factory until 1999.

The current building at 393 Homestead Avenue was constructed in 1930 by what was then known as Empire Hartford, a company that produced glassware.  Later, the space was used by several companies in the automobile industry.  From 1990 to 1999, Philbrick-Booth & Spencer used the property as a storage facility for equipment and waste.

The third property at 424 Homestead Avenue, built in the 1940’s, was a sales and service center for Clayton Motors until 1972.  It also served as a repair shop for Earl Scheib Paint & Body.  Most recently, the building briefly served as the home of Hartford Modern School of Welding, and then became a vocational school for auto repair.

The City has identified more than a dozen environmental hazards at 367 and 393 Homestead Avenue, including contaminated building materials and soil, and groundwater contaminated with petroleum compounds and metals.  Based on its history, 424 Homestead Avenue is likely to have similar environmental hazards. 

Going forward, the City plans to abate PCBs and asbestos from all three parcels, remove abandoned oil tanks from 393 and 424 Homestead Avenue, complete demolition of all the structures, and complete basic site restoration in preparation for future redevelopment.

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MAYOR BRONIN RESPONDS TO STATE REPUBLICAN BUDGET

MAYOR BRONIN RESPONDS TO STATE REPUBLICAN BUDGET

HARTFORD, CONN (April 20, 2018) – Today Mayor Luke Bronin responded to the budget plan released by Republicans at the State Capitol.

“Along with deep cuts, dramatic labor concessions, and a contribution from our biggest companies, the assistance agreement reached with the State makes it possible for the city of Hartford to be solvent and stable in the near-term, as we work toward longer-term sustainability and growth,” said Mayor Bronin.  “Last fall, I sent a letter to legislative leaders saying that there were only two responsible paths to fiscal stability – bankruptcy, or a new long-term partnership with the State.  I also said that the worst, most irresponsible thing we could possibly do is to keep the city afloat for two years without building a long-term solution – because while the bankruptcy of the Capital City would be bad for Connecticut, keeping the Capital City in permanent crisis would be worse.  There should be no confusion about the fact that, if the State were to roll back the assistance included in last year’s budget, Hartford would be back in the same position of insolvency and crisis.  This should not be a partisan issue.  You cannot run a city with the tax base of a suburb, and we will not grow Connecticut without building stable, strong cities.  You cannot talk about wanting to keep young people in Connecticut, wanting to attract jobs and investment, wanting to promote economic growth, and at the same time propose budgets that would devastate your largest job center and your Capital City – right at the moment when it’s beginning to experience a revitalization.” 

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MAYOR BRONIN SUBMITS RECOMMENDED BUDGET, HIGHLIGHTS SAVINGS AND CORE SERVICES

MAYOR BRONIN SUBMITS RECOMMENDED BUDGET, HIGHLIGHTS SAVINGS AND CORE SERVICES

HARTFORD, CONN. (April 16, 2018) – Today, Mayor Luke Bronin submitted his Fiscal Year 2019 Recommended Budget (FY2019) to the City Council for their review and approval.  This budget retains $27 million in cuts to services and personnel made in the last two budgets, in addition to $10 million in achieved labor savings.  The budget delivers core services, with a priority on public safety, basic quality of life, and support for the most vulnerable residents.

Overall, this budget calls for total spending that’s $2.3 million less than last year’s adopted budget, excluding debt and capital investment expenditures.  The budget is balanced without any one-time revenues, without any asset sales, and without deferring pension obligations.  The budget does not include any new borrowing.

The Council must approve a budget by May 31, 2018.  Please see the Mayor’s budget message and executive summary here.

“This is another no-frills budget that brings us another step towards stability,” said Mayor Bronin.  “In the last two years, we’ve made tens of millions of dollars in difficult cuts, and we’ve achieved significant labor savings in partnership with our unions, saving us $10 million for the coming year.  Combined with those efforts, the Contract Assistance agreement authorized in last year’s bipartisan budget and concluded with the State last month, along with the financial commitment of three of our largest insurance companies, gives us an opportunity to put the City of Hartford on stable fiscal ground for the first time in many years.  We now need to use this period of stability to focus on the long-term goal of true sustainability and strength — which depends upon continued discipline, continued savings, continued partnership, and significant economic growth.”

The budget includes:

·      Retained cuts of $27 million to services and personnel made in Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.

·      $10 million in savings from labor agreements with four of the City’s largest unions.

·      Funding for a workforce that is 68% smaller than the workforce of thirty years ago (FY1989), and eighty positions smaller compared to Fiscal Year 2015.

·      Necessary funding for women’s shelters, No Freeze shelters, the McKinney shelter for men, and for summer youth employment and crisis intervention.

·      Funding for the hiring of approximately 60 new police officers to make up for attrition, and continued support for two large classes of firefighters, totaling 70 recruits, from last fiscal year.  Funding for firefighters comes primarily from an $11 million, multi-year federal grant the City won last year.

·      Funding for two zoning enforcement officials, which are necessary as the City currently has none, as well as funding for a Residential Rental Licensing Program phased in over multiple years, pending City Council Approval, to improve the quality of the City’s housing stock.  Both initiatives are funded by reallocating existing funding from departmental salary savings, and revenue from the Residential Rental Licensing Program is expected to cover the costs of staffing in future years.

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