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Bill Mocarsky

If you could create one significant city in CT

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This is a thread I thought of starting a while back. It probably belongs in the CT forum, but I posted here because of the traffic and the many Hartford forumers that I know.

What if you could create one big city/metro in Connecticut by rearranging the assets of the state? Would it have the potential of being a significant city?

Some things to ponder:

Firstly, Where is the setting? (personally, I think I would choose the site of New London)

Would Yale be located in this city? Other colleges and universities?

Would the casinos be included? If so. would they be near the heart of the city or out on the periphery?

What about Aetna's headquarters or other companies?

Would it be the capital city?

Lastly, would you reserve some assets for (secondary) cities in other parts of the state?

edit: I was thinking assets that are relevant to their sites cannot be moved. An example would be the Mark Twain House.

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Honestly, I think Hartford is situated to be such a city in many regards. We have an underutilized resource in the CT River but Hartford could be a city and a region boasting great waterfront property if it ever gets developed to it's potential. Hartford is far enough away from NYC not to get swollowed up in that metro area, which is important for a city such as the one we are discussing. Hartford is already not far from most of these CT attractions you mention like Yale, and the casinos. Hartford can be that city. I think one thing I would add would be another major airport, probably in New Haven or somewhere between New Haven and New London. It may cut into Bradley somewhat but if it attracts more people overall to CT then it would be a net positive. It would also lessen the reliance on, and therefore identification with, metro NYC for many in Southern CT. I really do feel pretty strongly that New Haven/Southern CT needs a big airport to fully realize its potential though. Especially the resort areas of SE CT.

Overall, I think the biggest focus needs to be on making Hartford the focal point of a pretty impressive region that extends out in all directions encompassing, New Haven, New London, Springfield, Waterbury, etc.

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Interesting one Bill,

I will agree 100% that New London is the best location purely based on geography

Far" from other cities

large deep water Harbor (port)

Pretty surroundings(mystic, stonington etc...)

Near beaches and water in general

However I will use Hartford, because its alot easier to add only a few other things than to add everything to the right area...

Hartford has a good location, its "far" from other major cities, but close to lesser cities like springfield and waterbury etc...

What I would love to see changed....

I'll start by adding the best of SE CT

I want a usefull waterfront in hartford, that would include the hog river. make the hog like in providence, and make the CT river interaction not include I-91. Make that more like Chicago's interaction with the lake. and its rivers too.

Also, lets put the pharma companies like Fizer in, say um Windsor, or anywhere in Greater Hartford really, but Id prefer to the North. (to create better seperation from New Haven)

Mystic Aquarium, and Mystic seaport. I would like to have seen the massive shipguilding and seaport activities in Hartford and Wethersfield to have survived to create a better tourist draw in central CT. Wethersfield was the biggest port around, and if that historical infrastructure survived, the cove would be an amazing treasure trove (without I-91) of history and tourism and make old wethersfield even that much more historic abnd beautiful.

The Mystic Aquarium, while fine and good, would do great if it were fresh/salt water, and in Hartford. Plop this right on the river between Colt and the Convention center (again, I-91 is buried or re routed or something) Salt water aquariums are really cool, and amazingly, so are fresh water ones... put both together and everyone wins.

so that brings moving Hartford North and Springfield S by 5 or so miles each.

and lets have CT mutual buy Mass mutual instead of the other way around... staying in Asylum Hill

Springfield would become a nice beedroom city for Hartford, as it would be an even easier commute, and the cities would ultimately be more closely merged than they are currently.

Waterbury would also be 5-10 miles closer making that city and surrounds more dependant on Hartford than NYC

True commuter rails starting in Hartford would serve Northampton/Amhearst to New Haven, and also connect Waterbury to Rockville, and lastly Granby/Simsbury(extend past bloomfield) to Middletown. These rails would connect to the Airport of course, and Springfield might even have an east West Connector.

There would be a street trolly from West Hartford Center to Rentschler field

Rentschler field would be the site of UConn

Trinity would have an enrollment 50% larger, UHart would be just slightly closer to downtown and be 50% larger and more compact.

NH can keep Yale, it is the city, and I am fine with that, but I want Hartford to be a banking center, so Peoples bank and Webster would have their HQ downtown on some of the vacant lots as would the regional HQ of First Niagara, Soverign, TD Bank and Bof A etc... The only other thing I would "steal" from New Haven and SW CT in general is again the Pharma industry and some of the medical cluster from Yale med center. Id love to have HH and Hartford in general have larger pharma and medical type

industry. From Stamford, I would only steal some luxury housing for downtown, and maybe some financial services jobs. but they are part of NYC, and they do not belong anywhere else.

lastly, Stanley would move to Downtown Hartford next to the train station and bring the rock cats with them

The city would remain the capital, and I think with the changes listed above would be and have the feeling of a much larger place. Waterbury and its surrounds as well as Springfield and its surrounds would really be part of Hartford. This would make the cities population more like 2.5 Million, and it would feel like a city of that size with regional transportation importance as well as national and international presence. there would be a professional sports team of some kind in a new arena for sure

The city would have a young feel with Uconn just across the river, and UHart/Trinity being more influencial on downtown.

Downtown would be quite a bit larger and very cosmopolitan with the stolen condo towers from Stamford, (say 10,000 downtown residents total) and additional office towers for those banks, stanley, CT Mutual erc... (maybe 5 office towers)

Each of the states other cities would sacrafice a little to the amalgamation, but nothing too much.

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Since his is a complete fantasy.

I would extend Connecticut's border to include Boston and New York City and keep the capital in Hartford.

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Since his is a complete fantasy.

I would extend Connecticut's border to include Boston and New York City and keep the capital in Hartford.

Or just make NE a state, with Htfd as capital

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Since his is a complete fantasy.

I would extend Connecticut's border to include Boston and New York City and keep the capital in Hartford.

beerbeer, I'm sure you put a lot of thought into that, but the exercise was to rearrange the assets within CT.

If I was going to rearrange assets in CT to create a great city, I would avoid locating it in Fairfield County for obvious reasons. I also think it wouldn’t be fair to take many of Fairfield County’s assets for the reason that they are really there because of the proximity of NYC.

HartfordTycoon,VOR, I agree that the site of Hartford is one of the best for such a city.

For this exercise, I will choose the mouth of the Thames River (New London/Groton). It is far enough from NYC and has a great natural setting by the Atlantic.

I also decided to take a more conservative approach and not decimate the rest of Connecticut’s cities to make one super city. Instead, I am focusing on enhancing the city by scooping up assets that are somewhat isolated, such as ESPN and The UCONN Storrs campus.

Tourist Attractions

Mohegan Sun would remain in its approximate location. Foxwoods would be brought in a little closer to the Thames River (almost opposite Mohegan). Together, the casinos would anchor the northern part of this city built along the Thames.

Mystic Seaport would remain where it is as a tourist attraction just east of the city. But the Aquarium would be located downtown, on the Thames.

Lake Compounce (Bristol) would be a substantial addition to Ocean Beach Park.

Schools

The main UCONN campus (Storrs) would be built into the urban fabric. The University of Connecticut Medical Center (Farmington) would be located here as well. Eastern Connecticut State University (Willimantic) would also be moved here. Three Rivers Community College (Norwich) would be moved down river, closer to the city. The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts (Old Lyme) would be downtown, near the river. OK, I’ll take Quinnipiac University (Hamden). These schools would compliment Connecticut College, Mitchell College, and the United States Coast Guard Acadamy.

Companies

Northeast Utilities (4,148 employees, Berlin), CIGNA (4,390 employees, Bloomfield), Athena Health Care Systems (3,725 employees, Southington) and ESPN (3,000 employees, Bristol) would move into downtown office towers. I’ll put Stop &Shop Inc, (14,049 employees, North Haven) in the metro area as well.

Residential

Housing that was built with the purpose of being in the proximity of these (moved) assets would need to be moved here as well. Many of the sprawling condo complexes would become high-rise towers.

Transportation

Major transportation corridors (rail and road) would fan out to the northeast (Providence, Boston), north (Worcester), northwest (Hartford), and the west (New Haven, New York). Since this city is built along both sides of the Thames, from the casinos on down to the ocean, there would be a lot of ferry activity.

With the “enhancements” or critical mass, would there be a demand for other things?

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There would be a very practical application in such a state as I have proposed. The main thoroughfare would be i-84. As such yous should be able to drive it right to the heart of NYC.

i-84 to I-90 puts you right in downtown Boston. It's almost a direct route.

Currently the fastest way to Manhattan is I-84 to I-684 to the Saw Mill Parkway. The tangle of freeways should be re-planned with a more direct Interstate access between NYC and Hartford. The cut off from I-84 should start somewhere around Sandy Hook and head straight into the city.

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There would be a very practical application in such a state as I have proposed. The main thoroughfare would be i-84. As such yous should be able to drive it right to the heart of NYC.

i-84 to I-90 puts you right in downtown Boston. It's almost a direct route.

Currently the fastest way to Manhattan is I-84 to I-684 to the Saw Mill Parkway. The tangle of freeways should be re-planned with a more direct Interstate access between NYC and Hartford. The cut off from I-84 should start somewhere around Sandy Hook and head straight into the city.

and add a high speed rail network centered on Hartford as well. Heck its Neutral ground between the two big cities, and if it has appropriate transportation planning could end up with all of the kinds of industries that serve these two centers...

central location for law offices, auditors, accountants, etc etc etc... and as I stated, Banks. NYC and Boston would of course still have banks, but for some reason regional banking is extremely fractured in New England. Providence, Springfield, New Haven, Waterbury, Bridgeport, and Hartford each have a HQ or regional HQ.

if you look at any city in america of any size, there are 3-5 banking office buildings in the downtown. these are regional offices that concentrate to take advantage of staffing concentrations.

for some reason, in our area, they are incredibly fractured, and even suburban. If a city like hartford could lure any kind of concentration, other banks would open shop there and an industry cluster would exist.

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Hartford is central to CT and almost smack dab in between Boston and NYC, so I see no reason it could not be another major city. My dream revolves around the rivers with the Park River being open and flowing through Bushnell and emptying into the CT river. This connection point should be a gathering place for residents and visitors with parks, plazas, and walking paths that lead out in different directions.

Bringing one of the casinos (probably Foxwoods since Mohegan is already on the river) to the east side of the river, around East River Drive would add another reason for people to spend time on the opposite side of the river. Placing Rentschler in the same area would add another attraction. Speaking of Rentschler, it would be best to have the UConn campus established there, bringing it much closer to the capital. Within the city, maybe at the location of Renssalaer, I would like to see UHart. Both of these colleges would attract younger residents to live downtown.

By providing transportation in and out of the down as well as around the city in all directions, people would have options. A major rail hub connected to NYC and Boston, New Haven and Springfield (and beyond) would remain in the same area as Union Place now, but much larger obviously. A trolley system that connects downtown with W.Hartford as well as UConn's campus in E.Hartford would travel right along a Boulevard which is currently Asylum. The boulevard would stop at State House Square which would be a central plaza, used for major events including parades, celebrations and festivals.

I-91 would no longer divide the city from the river as it would be positioned on east of the river with with entrances/exits into the city such as the Founders bridge. I-84 would still be located in its place but would be underground, allowing access to the North end from downtown without intrusion. There would also be a southern loop highway that would split from I-84 at the Flatbush exit and continue south-east to meet 91.

Front street would be much better suited with an arena built there, livening the convention center district.

I would love to see the headquarters of UTC subsidiaries moved downtown with the coporate headquarters, as well as major banks and pharmaceutical companies.

Bringing everything back to the rivers, having street level shops facing Bushnell and the Park River is important as it would help attract more foot traffic to the beautiful park and waterside.

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so that brings moving Hartford North and Springfield S by 5 or so miles each.

and lets have CT mutual buy Mass mutual instead of the other way around... staying in Asylum Hill

Springfield would become a nice beedroom city for Hartford, as it would be an even easier commute, and the cities would ultimately be more closely merged than they are currently.

Waterbury would also be 5-10 miles closer making that city and surrounds more dependant on Hartford than NYC

Would the downtowns of these cities remain where they are now?

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Bringing one of the casinos (probably Foxwoods since Mohegan is already on the river) to the east side of the river, around East River Drive would add another reason for people to spend time on the opposite side of the river. Placing Rentschler in the same area would add another attraction. Speaking of Rentschler, it would be best to have the UConn campus established there, bringing it much closer to the capital.

I like the idea of bringing these things there. It reminds me of Boston/Cambridge and the Charles River.

I-91 would no longer divide the city from the river as it would be positioned on east of the river with with entrances/exits into the city such as the Founders bridge.

Would there possibly be an adverse effect on the east side of the river?

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You could add a significant city in reality. It's quite simple.

Extend Hartford's borders to include East Hartford, Windsor, Bloomfield, West Hartford, New Britain, Newington and Wethersfield.

Suddenly the population is approaching 500,000. And Hartford would cease to be one of the poorest cities in America, it would jump up the list.

The resulting consolidation of services, the reduction of seven police chiefs, seven fire chiefs, and so on, would be a tremendous saving and allow the city to lower taxes.

Of course, the provincial mindset of the land of steady habits prohibits such an obvious and beneficial merger.

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The tangle of freeways should be re-planned with a more direct Interstate access between NYC and Hartford. The cut off from I-84 should start somewhere around Sandy Hook and head straight into the city.

Interstate 84 would be a NYC to Boston Route? Parts of other expressways would be redesignated as I-84? Where would it cross the CT River?

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Would the downtowns of these cities remain where they are now?

nope, I ment that I would literally drag downtown Springfield and its population in general 5 miles south closer to Hartford. same with Waterbury etc..

This would help to further densen the connecting suburbs but also male the other downtowns more accessable from hartford, and with the rail access I described, they would end up interacting much more closely than they do now. by stealing TD Banks regional HQ and Mass Mutual from Springfield, and Webster Bank from Waterbury, I make both of those cities more suitable for purely residential purposes. Much like ST Paul is for Minneapolis. or even Ft Lauderdale to Miami?

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Would the downtowns of these cities remain where they are now?

nope, I ment that I would literally drag downtown Springfield and its population in general 5 miles south closer to Hartford. same with Waterbury etc..

But downtown Hartford would remain where it is?

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You could add a significant city in reality. It's quite simple.

Extend Hartford's borders to include East Hartford, Windsor, Bloomfield, West Hartford, New Britain, Newington and Wethersfield.

Suddenly the population is approaching 500,000. And Hartford would cease to be one of the poorest cities in America, it would jump up the list.

The resulting consolidation of services, the reduction of seven police chiefs, seven fire chiefs, and so on, would be a tremendous saving and allow the city to lower taxes.

Of course, the provincial mindset of the land of steady habits prohibits such an obvious and beneficial merger.

That would make to much sense, nonetheless I seriously doubt this would ever happen.

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I like the idea of bringing these things there. It reminds me of Boston/Cambridge and the Charles River.

Would there possibly be an adverse effect on the east side of the river?

I was trying to figure out where the best location for an East of the River I-91 would be but without completely defining that area, it would be hard to say. I can say that it would be beneficial for the casino and stadium, as well as the UConn campus (if positioned in E.Hartford) if I-91 and 84 crossed east of the river.

To utilize the river, Hartford could use not only a harbor but a stationary docked ship. Something old and wooden with large sails would be neat. THis would give people another reason to go to the riverside. There needs to be more for people at the river in the city as it is now, in my mind.

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But downtown Hartford would remain where it is?

Yes it would.

Downtown needs to be at the end of the tidal portion of the CT river for the seaport to still be accurate, and It needs to still have the hog river in play to create the walkable canal like waterway running through the city.

at most I would move downtown Hartford North 5 miles (further from the shore, and away from Boston/NY but I would only do this if we kept the geography around the city idential.

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To utilize the river, Hartford could use not only a harbor but a stationary docked ship. Something old and wooden with large sails would be neat. THis would give people another reason to go to the riverside. There needs to be more for people at the river in the city as it is now, in my mind.

Agreed.

Some day, a reconstruction of the Hartford should be anchored on the riverfront . right near the mouth of the Hog river canal, and the linear park (lined with historic looking store front retal (I-91 across the river)

and Bill, I think I sent you a map of the ideal I-91-84 interchange before? it involves some bridges, and yes it hurth E-Hartford to some degree, but it would also allow for the eventual improvement of E-Hartford AND Hartford

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and Bill, I think I sent you a map of the ideal I-91-84 interchange before? it involves some bridges, and yes it hurth E-Hartford to some degree, but it would also allow for the eventual improvement of E-Hartford AND Hartford

Yes, I-91 uses COB and another bridge between EH and the North Meadows. I would like to see a North Meadows bridge regardless. It would help clean up the 84/91 interchange a bit. For example, rte 2 to 91 north.

I have a slight variation of your plan. I don't know if you want to call it the poor man's version of your plan.

Keep in mind that with I-91 gone from the Hartford riverfront, we would be left with a dike that protudes up above the flood plain. Access to the river needs to clear the dike. Also keep in mind that the most offending thing about the highway is that it elipses the dike with its roller coaster profile due to the multi-tier interchanges.

I would put the interchange on the EH side like you would. But I would keep the through traffic on a low profile corridor (current alignment) alongside the dike. So development atop the dike would also clear the highway.

One benefit of this variation would be less volume for the CT river crossings.

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There is a huge sandbar at the mouth of the Connecticut River. This is why the Connecticut River is the largest river in America without a port at its mouth.

It's also why there is no port in Hartford. It's not feasible.

If the blockage at the mouth didn't exist, Old Saybrook would be the most significant city in the state and a great eastern seaboard city.

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If the blockage at the mouth didn't exist, Old Saybrook would be the most significant city in the state and a great eastern seaboard city.

The mouth of the Connecticut River is almost exactly half way between Boston and NYC.

Do you think what we know as New Haven would have been located at Old Saybrook (or Old Lyme)? Maybe a bigger version?

Would Hartford be the smaller city upriver? (sort of like NYC/Albany)

What about Middletown?

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Bill, my take,

If there was no sandbar, the mouth of the river would have become a huge natural harbor. Old Saybrook was settled early, was the original home of Yale University and one of the first Railroad terminus's in the state. Virtually everything in New Haven would have went there.

It's hard to say where the inland ports would have been located but Middletown is a good guess. And probably most of Hartford wound be in Middletown. That would make more sense for a guy like Colt. The entire lower riverside would have been clusters of industry and population especially during the industrial revolution.

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Yes, I-91 uses COB and another bridge between EH and the North Meadows. I would like to see a North Meadows bridge regardless. It would help clean up the 84/91 interchange a bit. For example, rte 2 to 91 north.

I have a slight variation of your plan. I don't know if you want to call it the poor man's version of your plan.

Keep in mind that with I-91 gone from the Hartford riverfront, we would be left with a dike that protudes up above the flood plain. Access to the river needs to clear the dike. Also keep in mind that the most offending thing about the highway is that it elipses the dike with its roller coaster profile due to the multi-tier interchanges.

I would put the interchange on the EH side like you would. But I would keep the through traffic on a low profile corridor (current alignment) alongside the dike. So development atop the dike would also clear the highway.

One benefit of this variation would be less volume for the CT river crossings.

Well aware of that dike.

The way I see it, even with a dike, there is room for a wider linear park than we have now, and a wall (just like in Rome) and then some more park on top of that wall, a surface street, and water facing storefronts/residential buildings zoned with a maximum height of 150' and minimum height of 6 floors.

this line of buildings would integrate with the levey and they would allow street interaction to the West at the lower level facing the city and at an upper level facing the river and the park. there would be occasional stairs and even less ocasionally handycapped access to the lower linear park(like at the mortenson plaza...

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I am pretty sure Hartford would still have been the major inland port.

It IS the end of the tidal river, and there were major port activities in Hartford,Wethersfield. The thing is that those early colonial settlements depended on supplies up the river to the dutch fort, and in turn shipped pelts down river.

Hartford would potentially be smaller with a major port city just 30 miles away, but it would still be the biggest city up river.

Albany was founded as the Norther fur trading outpost and shipped down river.

That Dutch fort went a long way towards making Hartford habitable when middletown was not.

re middletown according to Wikipedia...

settled in1650 by first europeans

During the 18th century, Middletown became the largest and most prosperous settlement in Connecticut. By the time of the American Revolution, Middletown was a thriving port, comparable to Boston or New York in importance, with one-third of its citizens involved in merchant and maritime activities. Slavery was part of the early economy of Middletown; African slaves were brought to the town in 1661 from Barbados; by 1756 Middletown had the third largest African slave population in the state of Connecticut—218 slaves to 5,446 Europeans.

The port's decline began in the early 19th century with strained American-British relations and resulting trade restrictions, which led to the War of 1812. The port never recovered;During this period, Middletown became a major center for firearms manufacturing. Numerous gun manufacturers in the area supplied the majority of pistols to the United States government during the War of 1812. After that war, however, the center of this business passed to Springfield, Massachusetts, Hartford, Connecticut, and New Haven, Connecticut. (See also History of Connecticut industry)

apparently Middletown became irrelevent when rail passedmiddletown by

Conversely, Hartford was founded in 1623 by the dutch and 1635 by Hooker, so people were living there for 27 years when Middletown was settled. But I can not easily find what made hartford rise to prominence to the point that I was then able to be chosen as a rail station etc...

the biggest game changer was the formation of Hartford insurance, but what caused the the to be strong enough to attract the merchants that had the gumption to do so...

I would be interested to see extremely early population figures for New Englands towns such as that number for middletown from 1756

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