Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Carter711

Lessons from Providence

Recommended Posts

Lessons From Providence

March 12, 2006

By DICK HARRALL

Much has been written about the comeback of downtown Providence, and how it might be a model for other cities. For example, a recent Courant editorial supported exhuming the river through Bushnell Park, much as Providence has done. Is Providence's success a model for Hartford? Yes and no.

Full article

I particularly agree with him on the renaissance not really benefitting most of the city's neighborhoods, although the new ALCO, Rising Sun, Federal Hill condos are good signs. But Providence's poverty rate - 29% (according to Wilkpedia) is still ridiculously high and about equal to Hartford's, which is in a much earlier stage of redevelopment, and has a much seedier reputation. All these neighborhood master plans and studies are great, but the city needs to be more aggressive in redevelopment in the neighborhoods

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Also, despite the success of downtown revitalization, there has been little, if any, positive impact on distressed neighborhoods in Providence.
More can certainly be done to support our neighbourhoods but I'm tiring of hearing people say "little to nothing" is being done outside of Downtown. That totally invalidates the hard work that dedicated people are doing outside of Downtown.

Part of this can be attributed to the physical separation between downtown Providence and these neighborhoods. Hartford has an opportunity to do a better job. The recent discussion of development north of I-84 is an example. An extension of downtown development in this direction must include as its mission the improvement of the economic, physical and social environment of the North End.

Their north of 84 is our west 95, good luck to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

isn't our revitalization slowly bleeding into the neighboring communities? Once our current projects downtown are completed and have extreme success, ;), wont those wary developers see that investing in Providence is worth it? and more development will come of it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please see my post that I posted in th CT subforum under New Haven...

"

Just got back from a tour of the CT cities....I was in Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport hopping around all weekend. I was very impressed with N.H. There's a great mix of people, retail, and nightlife. I drove through some of the neighborhoods, some poor and some nicer. I really liked the easy transportation options to NYC, the port access, and the housing stock. The poorer areas seemed more "alive" an didn't feel as sketchy as the other cities mentioned. Hartford has a very nice skyline, but I felt very isolated in the seas of surface parking surrounded by office towers. The streets were too wide and not very intimate. They were pretty devoid of people. In the neighborhoods, I encountered the same vibe. I didn't find a good mix of people or housing stock. There were some great commercial/residential storefronts on Farmington, but some really bad townhouses on Wethesfield close to downtown....looked like something out of Phoenix. Hartford has some really great projects going on downtown, but I didn't see the spillover effect in the neighborhoods. The most "alive" spot in town seemed to be Park St ( ? ..very Hispanic). However, as much as I wanted arroz con pollo, I wasn't going to get out and walk by the drug pushers to get there. Hatford didn't wow me. Bridgeport was even less. It looked like a natural disaster hit it....IMO...There was some wonderful signage on some buildings in downtown B'port indicating which ones were slated for re-development. ( very similar to Boston )

New Haven was very cool and I had a great time. It's on my list as favorite NE city ( 100-200 K ) and think it should be counted in that other poll.""

While the poverty level is essentially the same, the population of Providence has jumped up considerably in that time. Immigration patterns during this time are similar across all NE cities. While one may say that immigrants have spurred the growth, the income and educational levels for said residents have been on the increase. Providence has gained a lot more residents because it's become a more attractive place to live. The quality of life between the 2 is extreme. While I see change ahead for Hartford, it seems like it is going through the changes that we went thru here in the early 90's. I don't want to create a vs. thread here...just my 2 cents....I think New Haven is a much cooler city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please see my post that I posted in th CT subforum under New Haven...

"

Just got back from a tour of the CT cities....I was in Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport hopping around all weekend. I was very impressed with N.H. There's a great mix of people, retail, and nightlife. I drove through some of the neighborhoods, some poor and some nicer. I really liked the easy transportation options to NYC, the port access, and the housing stock. The poorer areas seemed more "alive" an didn't feel as sketchy as the other cities mentioned. Hartford has a very nice skyline, but I felt very isolated in the seas of surface parking surrounded by office towers. The streets were too wide and not very intimate. They were pretty devoid of people. In the neighborhoods, I encountered the same vibe. I didn't find a good mix of people or housing stock. There were some great commercial/residential storefronts on Farmington, but some really bad townhouses on Wethesfield close to downtown....looked like something out of Phoenix. Hartford has some really great projects going on downtown, but I didn't see the spillover effect in the neighborhoods. The most "alive" spot in town seemed to be Park St ( ? ..very Hispanic). However, as much as I wanted arroz con pollo, I wasn't going to get out and walk by the drug pushers to get there. Hatford didn't wow me. Bridgeport was even less. It looked like a natural disaster hit it....IMO...There was some wonderful signage on some buildings in downtown B'port indicating which ones were slated for re-development. ( very similar to Boston )

New Haven was very cool and I had a great time. It's on my list as favorite NE city ( 100-200 K ) and think it should be counted in that other poll.""

While the poverty level is essentially the same, the population of Providence has jumped up considerably in that time. Immigration patterns during this time are similar across all NE cities. While one may say that immigrants have spurred the growth, the income and educational levels for said residents have been on the increase. Providence has gained a lot more residents because it's become a more attractive place to live. The quality of life between the 2 is extreme. While I see change ahead for Hartford, it seems like it is going through the changes that we went thru here in the early 90's. I don't want to create a vs. thread here...just my 2 cents....I think New Haven is a much cooler city.

I agree that currently New Haven and PVD are cooler cities than Hartford. They have large Ivy League institutions and other area colleges located in the city limits and near downtown that infuse life into these 2 cities. In my opinion PVD is a much better comparison to NH than to Hartford. Hartford has alot of work to do, but as a region is just as good as any other in the Northeast, if not better. The city's core is being brought back, but it is certainly a process. Hartford has the advantage of having major fortune 500 corporations in our city and throughout our Metro. Honestly, it's the only advantage we have, but it's a big one. Hartford will never be a hip, young college town with free spirited individuals wandering around, the way that PVD and NH do at least. IMO it doesn't need to be. We need to be the hub of economic activity in New England/NYC Tri State outside of Boston and NYC, which we already are and have been for over 100 years. We need to build on what we have like the article states. We have the 2nd highest salaries in the nation and the 6th wealthiest metro in the nation, this is nothing to sneeze at. We have more dormant wealth than probably anywhere else in the country. I don't want this to be a VS thread either, I merely aim to point out Hartford's bright spots and concede our weaknesses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hartford has the advantage of having major fortune 500 corporations in our city and throughout our Metro. Honestly, it's the only advantage we have, but it's a big one. Hartford will never be a hip, young college town with free spirited individuals wandering around, the way that PVD and NH do at least.

I think that is part of what makes NH-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail so important. There are a lot of young hipsters (so to speak) leaving New York for New Haven, but they are still looking to New York for work. They're used to transit, and don't want to drive to jobs in Hartford, they'd rather ride the train to NYC. More people relocating to New Haven would look towards Hartford for work if they could commute. Then the hipsterism, would rub off on Hartford. Some people would decide to live in Hartford. More people would be in the city supporting arts and retail...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is part of what makes NH-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail so important. There are a lot of young hipsters (so to speak) leaving New York for New Haven, but they are still looking to New York for work. They're used to transit, and don't want to drive to jobs in Hartford, they'd rather ride the train to NYC. More people relocating to New Haven would look towards Hartford for work if they could commute. Then the hipsterism, would rub off on Hartford. Some people would decide to live in Hartford. More people would be in the city supporting arts and retail...

You articulated that point very well. That is exactly what the purpose is, to connect the people in New Haven and Southern CT to the jobs in Hartford. Trust me we have alot and they are pretty easy to get and very well paying for anyone with a college degree. Sure, they are mostly in insurance and financial services, but that is what makes the world go round. I went to school in Atlanta and could not find a job to save my life when I graduated. I went from struggling to get interviews in ATL to turning them down in Hartford. The difference is like night and day. I'm sure it would be the same difference over NYC and Boston as well. It's a smart move, but no one wants to make it because we're not one of the cool kids yet, we are going through and awkward phase so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You articulated that point very well. That is exactly what the purpose is, to connect the people in New Haven and Southern CT to the jobs in Hartford. Trust me we have alot and they are pretty easy to get and very well paying for anyone with a college degree. Sure, they are mostly in insurance and financial services, but that is what makes the world go round. I went to school in Atlanta and could not find a job to save my life when I graduated. I went from struggling to get interviews in ATL to turning them down in Hartford. The difference is like night and day. I'm sure it would be the same difference over NYC and Boston as well. It's a smart move, but no one wants to make it because we're not one of the cool kids yet, we are going through and awkward phase so to speak.

I don't think it's an awkward phase. I think it's a necessary phase. From what I experienced, Hartford needs more residents. That's it. It was like a ghost town with the exception of Park Street. Granted I didn't go to W. Hartford, but I wasn't interested in the metro. I was interested in the city. The college crowd certainly helps Prov. and NH, but it's not the only catalyst or requirement for a vibrant city. The overall experience wasn't as inviting in Hartford as it was in NH. I felt like there was a better mix of people , less abandonment, and better architecture. Hatford has a great central core( infrastructure ) but lacked in many other areas. ( my perception )

I may complain a lot on this forum about some of the "ridiculous" scrutiny that some developments have to undergo due to the design process, but there seemed to be very little restraint on some housing developments in Hartford. What's up with Wethersfield Avenue and Broad St. near the hospital? ( I don't know if that's the right address. ...just comes to mind ) Are those projects, townhomes, or section 8 ? Very ugly and don't look like they should belong in Hartford or any NE city for that matter....I guess my point is that Hartford should be a really cool city, but you guys need someone good in city planning ( maybe Jencoleslaw? ) Guaranteed she will fight tooth & nail for you.....and you need more people....Period! What Cotuit said was right on! I don't think Hartford needs to "copy" anything that we've done...I think they just need to get some more people to relocate there......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may complain a lot on this forum about some of the "ridiculous" scrutiny that some developments have to undergo due to the design process, but there seemed to be very little restraint on some housing developments in Hartford.

Hartford went through the 60s 70s redevelopment that bypassed Providence. We're left with a much more intact city than most of the rest of New England.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is part of what makes NH-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail so important. There are a lot of young hipsters (so to speak) leaving New York for New Haven, but they are still looking to New York for work.

...

More people relocating to New Haven would look towards Hartford for work if they could commute. Then the hipsterism, would rub off on Hartford. Some people would decide to live in Hartford.

We live in Meriden (at least for a few more months - we're Providence bound in june :) and I work in NH once or twice a week. And on those days, I take Amtrak down to New Haven. And I'm certainly not the only person on the I-91 corridor that chooses to do so.

But as much as I hope the NH-HFRD-SPRFLD railway becomes reality, I wonder how useful it will be for getting people to work in downtown Hartford, at least at first. Maybe corporate shuttles to and from the train station might help a little. Then again, if they built the proposed covered walkway from the train station to the LOB, that would at least me a great way to get state employees off the highways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.