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Luca Brasi

Hartford's Entertainment District

10 posts in this topic

No, Im not talking about Front Street. What Hartford is trying to create at Front Street already exists at Allyn St. In an area of the city where there are no empty storefronts, this district has an impressive line up of existing bars and restaurants in a short two block stretch at the front doorstep to Union Station. They are:

Hot Tomatoes Restaurant

The Great Hall at Union Station (being used as an event/concert venue)

The Federal Cafe

Mad Dawgs Saloon

Symmetry Lounge

Papas Pizza

On the Rocks Nightclub

The Rock Room at On The Rocks

Black Bear Saloon

NV Nightclub

Aladdin Pizza and Halal

Coaches Sports Bar (recently closed)

The Tavern Restaurant

Agave Bar and Grill

The Russian Lady

...and there are three more on the way in the next month:

The Rocking Horse Saloon

Pyur Nightclub

The Electric Company

Thats a lot!

While i am all for the Front Street development, the city really should take care of this neglected existing asset. The sidewalks are crumbling, there is garbage everywhere. lots are unpaved and streetlights don't work. Police cars block the street after a certain hour with sawhorse barricades and flashing police lights making the area look more like a crime scene than an inviting party spot. Why not clean it up?

This is the one area of downtown where thousands of people from out of town come every week to spend money and free time and its home to more than a few architectural gems that house these places. Its time to redo the sidewalks with pavers, install planters and new lighting and take the cops on duty out of their cars.... its only a two block stretch. The city also needs to keep tabs on existing businesses to make sure all operators are running their establishments in responsible ways to insure the safety of all. And last but not least, a city owned parking garage is needed on the southeast corner of High and Allyn which is far more central than the existing city garage at Morgan St. The garage can have retail space at street level (which will undoubtedly fill up) and wouldnt only be convenient for the entertainment district, but for the train station, Homewood Suites Hotel, Bushnell Park events and the XL Center.

Edited by Luca Brasi

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I have advocated for years building a parking garage on the surface parking lot between Union Station and I-84, that would serve the same purpose. It could be part of a larger project that buries the I-84 aquadect and replaces it with a tunnel. That would also extend Bushnell Park into Asylim Hill. But I would setle for the parking lot.

Edited by beerbeer

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This morning I heard from the manager at one of the mentioned establishments that HPD is trying to institute a $400-$500 per WEEK "police tax" on all all bars/restaurants/clubs in this area for police services. Is the city trying to put these places out of business? Instead of offering incentives for new business, they pull this. Unbelievable. This city is its own worst enemy.

Are they going to pull the same at Front St?

Edited by Luca Brasi

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That is crazy!!!

 

and seemingly illegal.

 

any special zone would be something like a BID.  and really if security is an issue, the Bid should pay for extra security, but only so the customers feel safe and continue coming here.

 

doesnt this sound illegal?

Luca, your a lawyer right?

 

it does sound criminal :)

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It is not legal unless the city passes an ordinance. However, the police can make lives miserable for those who do not comply. It's a tactic out of 1940. The BID district already pays a special tax to the city for this kind of thing. $300,000 of that is already set aside for security.

Forcing a tax that amounts to about $20,000 per year on small business is just wrong, especially when small businesses pay a huge amount of taxes already in this city which are supposed to provide police services. No new business of this type will open in Hartford. Why would they when you can go to West Hartford or Glastonbury where business like this is booming and you can avoid this BS?

I was told there is a budget gap for HPD and they are looking for business owners to close it. Sounds like a city problem and not the responsibility of small businesses to solve.

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I think I will be reserving judgement until this is either confirmed or rebuked.  Reason being.... This is not Eddy Perez Hartford.  I think and I could be wrong, But I think Pedro is much more fair and is aware of the business community and its needs. 

 

I also think that the police dept has cleand itself up alot in recent years, so I think that I will say...

 

If this is true... its crazy!

 

I think those involved will also get fired because I don't see Mayor Pedro supporting this kind of behavior.

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So, Ill just say that this is very different that what was origonally posted.   I do not think its a great move, but it is not strong arming or illegal.

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While the article seems to sugarcoat the situation, I can tell you what I posted is accurate. And this was all driven by the HPD and the police union (notice they are looking for overtime pay for patrolling this area), not the city.

Edited by Luca Brasi

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I thought that in the last 6 months HPD cleaned up its act quite a bit.  meaning that they changed the regeime to be more on the clean cop side, and there were many demotions and a few disciplinary actions taken... I suppose the union is a different creature.

 

Timing is an issue too with this crap.

 

in 2 years, I think its possible that there will be a retail boom downtown (in that there is room for more growth with UCONN moving downtown and the new apartments and the recovering econemy)  and this additional retail activity would be better able to share the cost as well as the eyes on the street could lessen the need for additional security..... and the city I think would have more funds to pay cops too.

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