Decades of deferred maintenance, a lack of recreational programs, and a depleted workforce are some of the findings in a report on Hartford's parks by the Trust for Public Land.
The national conservation group has offered up dozens of recommendations to help the city revive its urban parks. Some of the key recommendations include creating a task force to come up with a so-called greenbelt that would link all of the city parks, increasing certain park fees and applying for state and federal grants to maintain the city's greenspace. Mayor Eddie Perez says the city is also looking to sell Batterson Park near the farmington border: "There's been discussion for the last 10 years about whether we should hold onto that property and I think we're all convinced that long term, the city is better served by producing income and putting that income back into the parks."
Hartford's Director of Public Works, Clarence Corbin, says the city spent between 2 and $3 million on capitol improvements in city parks last year. The Trust for Public Land estimates that it will take millions of dollars for the city to bring its parks back to the condition they were in in the 20th century when the system was considered one of the best in the nation. Mayor Perez says he expects city lawmakers to follow up on the report's recommendations by next fall.