Archived

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

MadVlad

What would it truly take to regionalize Hartford?

47 posts in this topic

In all seriousness, what would it take to convince the towns surrounding Hartford to merge with Hartford and form one city? What incentives could be given to the West Hartfords, the East Hartfords, the Windsors, Bloomfields, Wethersfields, etc? I know the hurdles, I understand the intense resistance to the idea. However, I still feel the area would be better off if Hartford were a city of 311,000 people and 128k sq/mi, with merged services (Police, Fire, Emergency, a regional school system, etc). There has to be some trigger which could convince people this would be a good idea, i just don't know what would snap people out of their misconceptions.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


In all seriousness, what would it take to convince the towns surrounding Hartford to merge with Hartford and form one city? What incentives could be given to the West Hartfords, the East Hartfords, the Windsors, Bloomfields, Wethersfields, etc? I know the hurdles, I understand the intense resistance to the idea. However, I still feel the area would be better off if Hartford were a city of 311,000 people and 128k sq/mi, with merged services (Police, Fire, Emergency, a regional school system, etc). There has to be some trigger which could convince people this would be a good idea, i just don't know what would snap people out of their misconceptions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it's nice to see Urban planet posted this to it's Facebook friends, welcome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that for this region to truly become Regionalized we would need to cede more power to the MDC and the GRCOG. I think it certainly is something that may begin to happen at some point in the future but do feel like Hartford as a city needs to be viewed in a more positive light before much will change. It's a shame that the state abolished County Government instead of strengthening it and letting them handle the police, and school systems, etc. That would have been the natural way that regional/county government should have progressed in CT.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

more thinking and more typing.

for me the places we need to focus on are the typical ones you hear from me.

transportation and sports.

the things that bind a community socially, contextually, and culturally in todays world focus upon sports and transportation.

While the Highway system is fairly effective at getting people around the region it is a national system and actually serves as a means to almost erase the importance of Hartford, especially as the center of a region.

once we get the commuter rail built, there will surely be a small amount of a power shift to new haven, due to its further connection to NYC, but I think this would be less than currently drive down to the new haven stations. people will converge on hartford from the E and W to take the trains down to NYC. more so however, the commuter rail will force regional thinking as we will become a better connected springfield hartford new haven region, and we will have to develop a regional rail authority including regional rail police as well as other simular services.

if we also get the spur to Bradley is a definite, the system will create an irresistable means of getting around the country and the world, and this will also help to make the area feel more like a region and towns will begin to think more about being connected to bradley than JFK or Logan.

If the Waterbury spur happens, this would connect so many towns to hartford that the regional psyche would shift conciderably. as it is now kids in HighSchool tend to drive to Hartford or maybe thats more after HS, but with trains, parents will more easily go to the city and their kids will be able to take trains to magnet schools downtown etc.. Students at loomis Chaffee would walk to the train station in Windsor rather than just into windsor. the feeling that New Britain and Windsor are part of Hartford will begin to bleen into the psyche.

now sports!

when there is a regional sports authority, small tourism based taxes can be leveyed. This is the ultimate means of creating regionalism. a regional tax means communities working together and having a financial stake in the outcome. These taxes would not just be in hartford, but greater hartford, and this would allow for larger projects than just one town can support.

if we all give up a $2 hotel bed fee in hartford county, a 600 million dollar arean can be built. this is something that benefits the town its built in the most, but it also benefits the region by helping give it an identity as well as providing entertainment to the general population. (think about the UCONN football stadium and how much it had brought the area in terms of entertainment and identity.

if you read that article about the riverfront recapture park thing, you might have noticed that the MDC adds a $6 tax to our water bills to support this regional park. and because of this we have been able to create something bigger than if Just hartford were footing the bill alone.

I think the rail will help a ton, and i think if we ever get a downtown sports team and a sports authority with another regional funding device like a hotel tax, it will be a very visable way to show that we can do more working together than if we continue to work against each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

outside of a meteor strike?

now, East Hartford, and Hartford, I think have the best shot. you have to build strength from weakness. if these 2 cities could create huge savings by merging more and more services, and in the same time work out some kind of government structure, towns like West Hartford might concider joining as well once they see the benefit and realize they can not afford to match hartford in services.

I have no answer for you vlad, but I think it is slowly happening. like in 10 years we might see a merger of school systems or something

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the point: West Hartford would be Harwinton without Hartford next to it. All these suburbs owe their existence to the city that drives the area. Tell me, where do the drug addicts in West Hartford go (and there are drug addicts, trust me)? They go to Hartford. Well damn, why doesn't Hartford decide to let these privileged towns handle their own problems, Hartford-only residents to use facilities like methadone clinics. Hartford provides a lot of services to the region that these other towns don't want to deal with. Also, look at Windsor, do you think the citizens of Windsor want all these expansive office parks in their town where they used to run through tobacco fields? Of course not, and that's something else a regional area can accomplish, it can help retain the integrity of these towns. Windsor and Wethersfield won't have to build yet another office park to help generate revenue, they can just pay the same money for that type of thing in the more urbanized downtown area. there are plenty of things that would make suburbs join a region if they would only open their eyes and see the benefits instead of shoo shooing the idea based on faulty logic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

your not looking at this in its context.

I agree people living in West Hartford have no reason to MOVE TO HARTFORD, but thats not what is is really about.

a combined Hartford/East hartford could support more robust police departments, fire departments, and school systems while maintainig better support services than as individual towns.

even more importantly, the federal government hands out grants to communities based on size, and Hartford, and its associated town receive less funds than their southern peer cities, and therefore more of the burden falls on us, the residents. larger communities get exponentially more funding than the sum of its parts.

West Hartford is clearly healthiest town abutting hartford and would have the least to gain, but even West Hartford is struggling to meet its communities demands. taxes have continued to climb even with blue back square. each time West hartford attempts to add a service to better the lives of its residents it is only really just replicating something that has been done in hartford for decades.

You can decry the homeless shelters and methadone clinics, but these are exactly the services i am talking about. Hartford has supported the lost souls of West hartford for decades, and treats its junkies and provides shelter for its homeless.

do not think for a moment that the homeless come from hartford, they come from all over, just hartford is the only place around equipped to help them. this should be a burden more equally shared among the regions towns. West hartford as it prospers will be forced to provide more support over time for its homeless and its junkies and such. Its just how society works. Homeless will more and more gather in West hartford Center since the street traffic is brisk and the charity is good.

services often replicated that could be shared include dog catchers, meals on wheels, and other senior services, libraries, community parks and recreation, and of course schools.

and while I agree, there is no reason for Connard or Hall to risk its supremecy by merging into hartford Public or Weaver.

Magnate schools, however, are the beginning of the shift to regionalized education.

if towns with more simular education profiles were to become more co-operative amazing things could happen.

Hartford-East Hartford is the most logical. after that, Bloomfield and manchester.

with immense savings on fire and police, other healthier towns would begin to concider change.

ultimately towns like West Hartford, Simsbury, Avon, Farmington would either work together in a seperate entity, or a hartford county merged government could be formed allowing the protection of each towns sacred school districts.

its not like this has never been done before

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I live in Berlin, a former farm town now beset with mcmansions, suburban sprawl, and strip mall after strip mall. I'd much rather some of my taxes go to Hartford to pay for services there than to have those same problems occur in my town. I'd rather my tax dollars subsidize office parks and urban things in Hartford than have the farm around the corner from my house get turned into another worthless stripmall or condos or whatever because the town of Berlin needs a new revenue stream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I live in Berlin, a former farm town now beset with mcmansions, suburban sprawl, and strip mall after strip mall. I'd much rather some of my taxes go to Hartford to pay for services there than to have those same problems occur in my town. I'd rather my tax dollars subsidize office parks and urban things in Hartford than have the farm around the corner from my house get turned into another worthless stripmall or condos or whatever because the town of Berlin needs a new revenue stream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my man, you want to circumvent the basic principles of capitalism.

follow me through this logic:

bristol (or instert your favorite farm town here) is sitting on acres of farm land. now that land is being taxed and the farmer living there is either independently wealthy so he can afford that land to begin with or is doing farming in order to make income and pay taxes on that land. bristol in return, takes that tax money and do whatever it is that they do with it.

now your problem is multiple:

1)if all those farmers were better off being farmers none of them would have sold the land to developers in the first place. be they commercial or residential.

2)if hartford has such great commercial realestate which is sitting half empty, then why the hell would someone go through the trouble of going all the way to bristol, buying up land (from farmers that supposedly are unwilling to sell), developing it and then moving their resources there... because hartford obviously can't or doesn't offer something favorable like bristol does, be it rental rate or whatever reason.

not only is bristol developing their land to an actual demand, you want to forcefully move it to hartford, which on it's own can't attract that business in the first place?

so you propose, that for all those farmers that can't or don't want to afford their farms anymore, bristol has to collectivelly purchase that land out thus eating income on it, and in addition to this they also have to pay hartford a tax so that commercial business, which came to bristol in the first place, would be shipped out to hartford.

and hartford in return will provide them exactly with what? understaffed police department? a library full of homeless people?

bristol ends up losing their own taxable land, removes commercial workforce that eats lunches at local restaurants, buys gas on their commute in, etc. and on top of this, you want to tell your fellow bristolians to pay a tax to hartford for all these grand things you're proposing?

and someone else is saying that somehow all these fees and costs will be returned to bristol in terms of federal grants? wtf!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i will spend no more time attempting to explain why regional co-operation is a good thing because I think this is really just a detraction to what could be a good conversation on these forums.

I mentioned what I think would help the process along. LOV you may dissagree, but just for a moment lets keep this simple KISS

One large group of people and more resources working together > many small groups of people with divided resources working against each other

good luck finding fault in the KISS principle... its been unstoppable since 4th grade!!!!

but seriously don't.

you dont want it thats fine. I'd rather discuss the topic of how to make it happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure where the homeless library thing came from, maybe you can explain it to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another advantage of regionalism is that your police and fire chiefs would be further up the food chain. You would attract a better quality candidate for the head fire and police jobs as they would be running bigger departments, making the job more prestigious and those positions would command larger salaries.

So the quality of your fire and police departments should improve with regionalization.

It's a win/win. The department is more efficient because of economies of scale and the quality should rise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I think that for this to actually happen, it would have to start small. One or two towns joining together and showing concrete benefits. Then, if the benefits were real, other towns might want to jump on the bandwagon. In that regard, as I've said before, I think the only real possibility is East Hartford joining with Hartford because as things currently stand E. Hartford has all the downsides of Hartford with none of the upside.

Another possiblity might be a union less than a full annexation. Something like a unified police district or something like that could maybe happen if there were a lot of benefits to the suburbs but no real downside.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you've obviously never visited the hartford library and never attempted to find an available computer for search or even an available seat to sit in. and please, i've lived in downtown for years and have experienced it first hand, so don't try to tell me i'm some tourist that went there on a cold, odd day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talking about annexation, is it usually assumed that Hartford would be the one absorbing a neighboring town?

Could surrounding towns absorb pieces of Hartford?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That wouldn't serve the purpose of regionalization, it would further fragment the area since the hub of the wheel would no longer exist...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talking about annexation, is it usually assumed that Hartford would be the one absorbing a neighboring town?

Could surrounding towns absorb pieces of Hartford?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are a West Hartford resident, the question is what is the price I am paying. If West Hartford is merged into Hartford, will property tax goes up to finance Hartford's needs? Will their schools get as much funding as before? Will West Hartford schools open to Hartford's poverty stricken kids? I am going to say you are more likely to spot Michael Jackson and Elvis in West Farm Mall than you will get any kind of serious consideration from people in West Hartford. It does not matter West Hartford will be nothing without Hartford, the status quote is in their favor so why should they change? Let's put it this way, MadVlad, if your union suggests its members give up wages and benefits because without company union is nothing. How would you vote? Ain't gonna happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, I'm not sure how regionalization would bring the homeless to the Bristol library if they aren't already there, so I'm not seeing that point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear that argument loud and clear. I think that the arguments against merging are [pretty damn strong when it comes down to schools.

but for me, this is not necesssarily about merging.

I would like to see the county government be strengthened, thats really all for now.

my favorite example of regionalism and planning is Auckland New Zealand.

Auckland regional council specificly

http://www.arc.govt.nz/

I lived in Rodney District (Rodney would be a county by our definitions)

within Rodney there are a bunch of towns cities and such. most of it either suburban Auckland or rural farmland.

go to that link and you will see that Auckland had some controll over the surrounding regions and also had a city council for the city core.

this allowed for intelligent planning, and it allowed for sprawl, but also made sure there was a great deal of agricultural or rural preservation. member districts were required to plan for specific population growth absorption, and therefore had to plan for specific densities.

because of this, the area i lived in was approved for 20 story condo towers and dense residential development, while there was farmland between my home and the city. lots of farm land.

check it out on google earth.

I lived in Orewa (tall condos allowed) and on Whangaparoa peninsula just east of town in a community called stanmore bay. this area was not zoned for condos, but you can see how small the lots were and how dense it was.

Orewa obviously has been there a while and Auckland has grown only recently into the city it now is, but the regional council was smart not to allow uncontrolled sprawl all the way up, so they encouraged density in the allready dense areas like Orewa, and has allowed development as far north as Albany(currently the norther most contigoud suburb, but between Albany and Orewa, there several completely rural towns like dairy flats riverhead and stillwater. Silverdale was also being developed since Orewa and Whangaparoa were pretty well packed.

this has led to a great deal of condo towers in Auckland proper and an incredibly vibrant city, and in the denser suburbs there are condows in their downtows as well. helping their downtowns. Also, just north of Auckland there are farmers, and "country living" areas that are not destroyed by sprawl.

anyways my point is that planning was done regionally and not locally. this would allow us to keep places like rockyhill from needing huge strip malls.

all the commercial development could be done in a planned manner along transit lines and downtown. this would help support those bedroom communities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oh nonono, bristol doesn't need a library anymore. there's a big library in hartford. the bristol library will now be closed, bulldozed and turned into a green space -- there's a federal grant that will help with the costs.

whomever wants to read books or check out other services will have to go to hartford... all redundancy must be stopped to reduce costs. if it's not a residential property it doesn't belong in bristol. get ready to wellcome residents of northend on your luscious farms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear that argument loud and clear. I think that the arguments against merging are [pretty damn strong when it comes down to schools.

but for me, this is not necesssarily about merging.

I would like to see the county government be strengthened, thats really all for now.

my favorite example of regionalism and planning is Auckland New Zealand.

Auckland regional council specificly

http://www.arc.govt.nz/

I lived in Rodney District (Rodney would be a county by our definitions)

within Rodney there are a bunch of towns cities and such. most of it either suburban Auckland or rural farmland.

go to that link and you will see that Auckland had some controll over the surrounding regions and also had a city council for the city core.

this allowed for intelligent planning, and it allowed for sprawl, but also made sure there was a great deal of agricultural or rural preservation. member districts were required to plan for specific population growth absorption, and therefore had to plan for specific densities.

because of this, the area i lived in was approved for 20 story condo towers and dense residential development, while there was farmland between my home and the city. lots of farm land.

check it out on google earth.

I lived in Orewa (tall condos allowed) and on Whangaparoa peninsula just east of town in a community called stanmore bay. this area was not zoned for condos, but you can see how small the lots were and how dense it was.

Orewa obviously has been there a while and Auckland has grown only recently into the city it now is, but the regional council was smart not to allow uncontrolled sprawl all the way up, so they encouraged density in the allready dense areas like Orewa, and has allowed development as far north as Albany(currently the norther most contigoud suburb, but between Albany and Orewa, there several completely rural towns like dairy flats riverhead and stillwater. Silverdale was also being developed since Orewa and Whangaparoa were pretty well packed.

this has led to a great deal of condo towers in Auckland proper and an incredibly vibrant city, and in the denser suburbs there are condows in their downtows as well. helping their downtowns. Also, just north of Auckland there are farmers, and "country living" areas that are not destroyed by sprawl.

anyways my point is that planning was done regionally and not locally. this would allow us to keep places like rockyhill from needing huge strip malls.

all the commercial development could be done in a planned manner along transit lines and downtown. this would help support those bedroom communities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.