What does West Hartford need most?

A public mini-golf course? A skatepark? A new shirt for Joe Visconti? What?

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47 Comments

Filed under West Hartford

47 responses to “What does West Hartford need most?

  1. EJ

    Hey, I like Joe’s shirt last night. Cut the guy some slack.

    As far as the skate park and mini golf go, if they’re such good ideas let some private enterpise operation build and run them. The town does not need anymore money losing operations, and it certainly does not need any more employees

  2. West Hartford most needs a Republican Majority on both the Town Council and Board of Ed – Rell like RINOs not included. : )

  3. EJ

    Ditto that for the State!

  4. Joe Visconti

    What West Hartford needs most:

    Is a “Film and Television Office” to draw producers here. West Hartford has some really great locations including the Center for Producers of Films, Commercials, Still Photography, and other Media related products. Don’t anyone steal this Idea for Political reasons.
    Also for “On the Waterfront” like scences or a spot to blow up a building in a movie is the old Caldors blighted area!
    Lets get going Scott, Chuck, Mark Sinatro, Jim Francis on writing some new Ordinance’s on this.

    As you must have heard from all my self promotion, I am an Emmy Award Winning Producer and such and will be happy to help you all connect the dots.My Cousin Michael Sullivan Jr. is the Business Agent for I.A.T.S.E., the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and has their office in my sisters building right over in Elmwood, such nepotism I know, they can help the Town also (I worked for the Union, Local 84 in my Youth at the Civic Center and Bushnell)
    By the way no one has done more to draw Media Attention to West Hartford than me, imagine if no one in the State ever heard of Blue Back?
    The cheapest form of advertisement for a town is Controversy, and that my friends is what I create best.

    Note:
    For my “Good Luck Back” Music video I will be utilizing West Hartford Center/Old Caldors as back drops. Wait till you see what I have up my Blue Paisley Shirt Sleeve!!!!

  5. Rick Liftig

    My great American novel begins with you and Sue riding the horse into town announcing, “the developers are coming, the developers are coming!”

  6. Joe Visconti

    No, ” The Belgians are Coming, The Belgians are coming!!”
    Hey is that what you call people from Belgium? Note:
    Ronald De Wall is from Belgium, for all you who may have missed our Spotlight Flyer, Mr. Heape’s “Pappy”.

  7. turtle

    Don’t anyone steal this Idea for Political reasons.

    Too funny!

  8. West Hartford needs a Major League Soccer team along with a brand new stadium to be built – financed by both the taxpayers and another new parking garage (which I’m sure will cover the majority of the costs).

    I hope they will name the team “West Hartford United”. In the immediate future, we will play in the MLS League, setting our sights on east coast rivals teams like – D.C. United, and the New England Revolution.

    The year after we can apply to the English Premier League, and European Champions League in which case we will need to build our own airport – Visconti International – to support the visiting traffic from abroad (everyone will be required to wear names tags with “real” names on them, of course). Both the stadium and airport can be placed in Elmwood – to give it that spark it once had.

    Once this is complete we can move on to more modest projects, such as a Space Center, and a Stop and Shop.

  9. The Turtle King

    Visconti International Airport:

    Daily departing flights from the Educational Cartel Capitol of the World to Towns and City’s across America featuring lower taxes. Validated Parking tickets for up to two weeks when purchasing a membership to Healthtrax or checking out a novel at the New Webster’s Library. Complimentary Java at the Barnes & Noble with every purchase of a Crate and Barrel Ottoman.
    The Special Development district surrounding the Airport also invites travelers to embrace the sense of place that can only be found amongst Overtaxed resident’s.

    While waiting for any Saturday Morning flights, keenly observe the Old Hippy re- enactment gathering of War protesters lined up with hand made signs at the New Veterans Memorial which will send you back in time when LSD stood for something other than Losy School Districts.

    Visconti International Airport also offers free stable/shoeing services for those of you who wish to arrive on Horesback. When not doubling as Troutbrook Drive the runways have the latest in pole mounted video camera’s for your protection( although there isn’t a law yet legalizing the use of camera’s for speeders). And don’t forget to take home some of the finest propoganda flyers available from West Hartford’s most notorious Malcontents, flyers are available during the budget and Building Development seasons at the front entrance of most food stores.
    Thank you for visiting West Hartford and Visconti International Airport please come back as soon as you can afford to (never).

  10. West Hartford could use a Visitor’s Center of some kind.. we’ve got some wonderful sights here.. maybe even put together some tours .. I know we have had some walking tours and such available – but they aren’t done regularly or publicized well.

    It was talked about some time ago – combining Webster’s House with some other historic homes like Hooker House and have a trolley between them etc.. but no one had money or real desire to organize it.

    Or maybe do organized tours of the 39 sites
    http://www.west-hartford.com/Library/historicsites.htm

  11. EJ

    Judy you may have just hit the nail on the head. A house with hookers might help get more traffic into town.
    oops you said Hooker House.

  12. Fred Garvin

    Commercial development that appeals to and is priced for locally-owned businesses. I think the locals are being priced out of the center.

    It would be good for the town to have a place where these locally-owned existing businesses, as well as startups, could afford to locate. Perhaps Elmwood? Bishops Corner?

    The national chains moving into the center cater to a certain demographic that I am not part of. The people who drive Subarus, Fords, Chevys and Toyotas (not the Land Cruisers or FJs) need a place to shop too.

    I don’t see much chance for this as landlords want [quite reasonably] to get as much as they can.

    But I do think it would be something good for town.

  13. Osemasterofdoom

    The Turtle King?!? What new unholy alliance is this? Is this some kind of Wonder Twins-eque body morphing that takes place when Turtle and The King touch rings? Does it make them/it faster than a middle class taxpayer escaping West Hartford? More powerful than the Democratic Town Politburo? Able to leap West Hartford Peaceniks in a single bound?

    For my part, West Hartford needs a real opposition party, not the schitzophrenic, dysfunctional organization we have now (although I object to the term RINO, that’s just the sort of ideological, Puritanistic bickering that put the WHRTC into this condition in the first place. Got to think Big Tent, people).

    In terms of “wants” (as opposed to “needs”), I’d like to see a dog park, a real supermarket (read: not Whole Paycheck) in the Center or Bishops Corner, and something for teenagers to do that doesn’t involve bumming around the Center.

  14. Peter G.

    Agreed that West Hartford needs a real opposition party . . . but from the left, not the right. There’s a reason why the Republican Party is such a marginal elephant, oops, element.

    What I see in West Hartford are political parties that continue to act as if this was a small town populated by white, upper middle class professionals, with no vision or even ability to see us as we really are: a multiracial, multiethnic community that is inseparably tied to Hartford and Hartford’s other multiracial suburbs.

    Racial integration of our schools is still being treated as a political swear word. Money is poured into making sections of Farmington Avenue more pedestrian friendly while in Elmwood you take your life in your hands crossing the street. All sorts of “leisure services” are offered for kids and parents, but many are based on schedules that bear no relationship to the reality of working families. These are just a few of the separate AND unequal conditions that characterizer West Hartford for many people.

    From what I have seen in West Hartford, there are no political forces with the will to take on these issues in a way that would empower working and poor people. Political leaders who would be willing to do so would indeed become a real opposition party.

  15. Elvis Conti

    The republican party will be ok now that blue back is built, the party was metaphorically bought and paid for by blue back and the infiltration of democrats carpenter and verrengia. if bouvier stayed in and voted no on blue back as a former mayor the referendumn would be lost by the yes folks, therefore bouvier who brought in carpenter and verrengia must be considered one involved in setting up the demise of the party whether by plan or happen stance, who could know?,when bouvier said he had a conflict he should have pointed out harris’s conflict (harris worked for kroll mcnamara et al who represented BBS partner JDA development and healthtrax during the hearings) bob was either incompetant or ignorant or ? of the facts, then turco took the paycheck from richard heapes nominated someone to ice joe visconti in the election to make sure the public couldn’t be represented during construction ( they know joe would have let you all know the skinny on everything) and wala! you have a party that was partialy sold and partialy stupid. The dems are basically robots of Kevin so we would never see any real thinking from them.

    Opposing viewpoints welcomed

  16. turtle

    “The Turtle King”

    Give me liberty or give me death!

  17. turtle

    It would be good for the town to have a place where these locally-owned existing businesses, as well as startups, could afford to locate. Perhaps Elmwood? Bishops Corner?

    What about Park Road? Somebody needs to open up a cafe there. With some decent cupcakes. And a piano.

  18. Kevin Sullivan

    A better appreciation for how extraordinary a town West Hartford is. No other older, inner ring suburb can match our vitality, fiscal stability and responsibility, education or quality of life. Find me a similar city or town with such great, diverse residential neighborhoods and a still strong housing market. Such vibrant commercial centers (West Hartford, Elmwood, Park Road, Bishops Corner) and true”smart growth.” Great schools with great teachers, exemplary programs and students who go on to such success. Our premium bond rating, prudently funded longterm obligations, professional management, bipartisan town government and actual tax increase less than the cost of living. Senior centers, community centers and a great array of recreational amenities. And a caring community that gets involved, can hotly debate the issues and has never yet succumbed to the least common denominator rants of those who believe that tearing down is a viable alternative to building up and invite us in moments of challenge to take up the deadend politics of anger. All this is not just great, it’s exceptional for a town like ours. Yet we all take it way too much for granted. And, Fred, I’m an unemployed one-Toyota family car guy at that!

  19. Joe Visconti

    Bi Partisan government thanks to Mark Sinatro.

  20. Elvis Conti

    Turtle

    Love the name, which one do you want more, liberty or death? For Joe Visconti can fight for your liberty or I am sure someone can refer you to some nice quiet street in Hartford for a chance to find the other. (joke)

  21. JTS

    well said Kevin, just keep the oil changed in your ‘yota and it’ll never let you down.

  22. turtle

    Liberty from the King of Turtles, the psychedelic chameleon who seeks to tyrannize me today even more than usual.

    Death, inevitably, by Hummer.

  23. EJ

    Kevin, is the one toyota thing your way of not paying your fair share of property taxes and sales taxes. How about stepping up to a new Lexus and forking it over for the schools

  24. Edith Folta

    In response to Peter G. and also Judy Aron, we have just recently started a group to look at the possibility of starting a shuttle bus or other transportation around town, so that kids and seniors and everybody can get to all the opportunities in town, without a car. Think of the relief from the after-school shuttle. What if a kid could get from KP to Cornerstone or the soccer fields on her own? What if a kid could go from Elmwood to UHart for music lessons, without a parent having to cut out of work early? And think of the benefit to the environment, taking all those cars off the road. (Maybe we could even get a green fuel cell bus.) That’s what West Hartford needs the most. ( That, and replanting all the trees planted in the 1920’s that are dying off each year. ) You can e-mail WHTransportation@hotmail.com, if you’re interested in this startup. Our next meeting is tentatively planned for Tuesday, June 19 at Faxon library, 7-8:30 pm. We’re still brainstorming and seeking allies.

  25. turtle

    So the difference between the shuttle bus and the bus system that already exists is that the shuttles would go express? Would this be a private venture, or is the idea to get the town to fund the shuttle? Would the shuttle cost the same as the regular bus?

  26. Edith Folta

    Still in the VERY early brainstorming stage. But the idea is to have an intra-town loop, that would connect at various points with the CTTransit buses. Right now, getting across town in WH involves multiple transfers and too much time to be practical. Obviously in this budget crunch we can’t expect much town support so we need to look at what would be a reasonable fare and how much support we could get from institutions that might benefit from it. Working with CT Transit on adding the service might be possible. Have any ideas? Join us in discussion.

  27. Humbug

    What if the town buys some Rickshaws for the Center and create’s job opportunities, the healthy Elderly can make a few hundred dollars a month partime to offset their higher taxes and pay back the town the cost of the Rickshaws like the scheme for the garages. The healthy Elderly can even offer kids free rickshaw rides from the library to Ben and Jerry’s to help them discover what a real Quest is like (The Quest to keep their home).

  28. Kevin Sullivan

    Edith – Might want to talk to the Mayor (if you are not already doing so) since the Town Council is on record supporting a very similar paratransit approach that Scott has worked on (based on Portland, Maine). And as to trees, any interest in getting involved in adding to the New Britain Avenue improvements a replanting plan for (now disease resistent strain) Elms — as once lined the street (hence Elmwood)? Let me know, then we’ll get Rick Liftig Maureen McClay involved. Thought about doing this for awhile now but your post reminded me.

    And “EJ,” happy to always pay our fair share — especially when I get so much more value here than anywhere else in the state. But the one-Toyota family decision environmental — so Carolyn and I reduce driving, gas consumption and pollution.

  29. EJ

    Aw Com’on – Lexus has Hybrids; the town needs the property tax, and the State needs the Sales Tax.

  30. EJ

    Edith, an idea that was passed along to me was to help pay for the buses with advertising.

  31. turtle

    I like the shuttle idea but wonder if parents will be comfortable bussing their kids around without supervision. Kids under driving age are pretty vulnerable, it seems to me.

  32. EJ

    I can’t see any reason a 10-12 yr old couldn’t jump on a shuttle. I grew in NY and was taking city buses at that age.
    Maybe we’re over-protecting the kids a bit too much.

  33. Peter G.

    Having a shuttle system that intersects with CTTransit is a brilliant idea. Not only for kids and seniors, though I also think EJ is right that I would want to encourage my kid to use a shuttle to get around, just like she would if we lived in an urban area with (real) mass transit.

    People tend to think of decent mass transit as something only cities are supposed to have. I’ve lived in smaller communities with good bus systems and it’s great. It is also a very good way of connecting different parts of a community that may otherwise not come into contact all that much.

  34. turtle

    It is also a very good way of connecting different parts of a community that may otherwise not come into contact all that much.

    One of the great things about New York City. But I’m not sure I’d let my 10-year old ride the subway alone. Makes me nervous just thinking about it.

  35. Pseudonym Required

    What about community bikes, like in Switzerland?

  36. Gary Reger

    West Hartford needs a serious climate change plan. Not so much to stop global warming, which there is little to do on the local level, but to figure out how town ordinances and actions should be adjusted to deal with the inevitable effects over the next 100 years, no matter what kind of mitigation efforts eventually come out of national and international discussions.

    Some preliminary work on how our region may be affected appears at http://www.climatechoices.org/ne/; there is also a new research project meant to look in a fine-grained way at these impacts, which West Hartford should monitor.

    As an example: there has been discussion in this thread on the question of trees. Planting trees is an excellent idea, but it is important to realize that changes in the local climate mean that some species that used to thrive here will not be happy in 50 years. Sugar maples, for example — meaning we should not be planting them. We need instead to promote planting species that will do well in the environment West Hartford will be experiencing in 50 years.

    I’d be interested to see discussion about a town ordinance requiring replanting of trees removed, perhaps with a short term tax abate. I was appalled when the condo development at Albany and Trout Brook demolished the little copse there. Wouldn’t it have been great if the developers had been required to plant new trees in town — there are lots of places that could use them.

  37. Rick Liftig

    Gary –

    Your timing on this post is remarkable.

    The Elmwood Business Association will be sponsoring an elm planting program over the next several months. We will be starting with a small project and hope that things will ‘blossom’ from there. Despite the elm tree moniker, the program is meant to be a town-wide (and likely species diverse) effort that will hopefully continue for many years.

    Informal discussions have shown us that the Town is very interested in pursuing these avenues by partnering with the communities and community organizations.

    Please stay tuned. You’ll hear more as we begin our organization.

  38. Linda DiNapoli

    Re: Kevin Sullivan
    Dear Mr. Sullivan,
    Thank God you’ve got a Toyota! Your State 2 was speeding down Mohegan Drive and Simsbury Road like your driver was on the track at LIMEROCK on an almost daily basis! Calling the West Hartford Police on you did not stop it either!
    Equal justice for all?
    Where is my answer re: How much ECS money did YOU collect and send back to West Hartford while in “power” at the State Capitol? Now that you are unemployed, you have plenty of time to call all your old friends to get the ESC money for West Hartford where it is sorely needed for our school children so that we do not have to cut any programs. Of course, you could ask your buddies at Town Hall to cut back on some of the perks they receive and give out as well as budget increases for their own benefit. There is enough fat there to feed the whole town breakfast at the upcoming one party inaguration? Got any more masquerading as Republican Democrats!

  39. Gary:

    Interesting post. I wondered if synchonizing the the traffic lights in town or for major towns/cities in the region would be considered a step in that direction? For those that don’t know what I mean – I’m referring to regulating light controls so that travel on main routes permit direct (nearly non-stop) travel between key locations – at a safe regulated speed, of course.

    It seems that if you look to reduce carbon emission, fuel wastage, that eliminating the amount of time vehicles sit at lights would be an advantage. West Hartford is terrible on this note; it seems that you can’t get from one block to another without hitting a red light.

    European cities have done this and have been successful with improving travel time and reduced auto emission – less time on the road, etc. Any thoughts on this from your group’s perspective? I know its probably not cheap but….

  40. Joe Visconti

    Hmn, so Doctor Feldman (read below) still has some sort of working relationship with Jim Francis at UConn. Interesting, Also I see Kevin Sullivan appointed Mr Francis to the CRRA in 2002 as a Board Member. Is Jim still on the Board? probably not, hope not. Whdad, what West Hartford needs is Transparency in Government, with all the Musical Chairs going on in leadership it would be nice for you to track some of West Hartford’s finest. The Ethics Board in Town could use some new faces also.

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  41. JTS

    WHDad – is there some trick to posting a link on the site so people don’t have to scroll through pages of cut and pasted content to read comments? Not that everyone isn’t impressed by Joe’s ability to hit ctrl c and ctrl v in succession.

  42. JTS Joe Visconti

    Full Disclosure Posted just for Bloggers like you JTS.

  43. Kevin Sullivan

    After reading Linda DiNapoli’s latest, I thought of one more thing West Hartford needs most — spirited but honest and civil debate. There is, after all, a real difference between honest disagreement and dishonest disparagement. (And don’t even get me started about the avalanche of knowing misrepresentation now being circulated by opponents of the town’s under 2% real tax increase and phased revaluation.)
    But Linda, where to begin? Well, how about if you specifically name just one “perk” or “budget increases for their own benefit” that you say the Town Council has voted for themselves? Actually, I was so concerned that I checked with Councilwoman Thornberry in case we were missing out on something. Do you mean the countless hours of unpaid public service just because they care? Or the opportunity to be disrespected and even villified by some for making the hard decisions we elect them to make? Know what the bond rating agencies say is the most decisive factor in West Hartford keeping our unique top-rated fiscal status? Leadership!
    As to state school funding, let me repeat in a bit more detail what I already said in an earlier blog. Before I became State Senate Chair of the Education Committee, West Hartford’s general school aid was very little and even then we did get it all. We soon changed to the ECS grant with recognition of median family rather than per capita measures for the first time — finally more fairly reflecting the fiscal realities of older, large inner-ring suburbs. Then, even if still never fully funded, our actual annual ECS aid grew faster than most other cities and towns, more than the cost of living and more than quadrupuled by the time I became Lt. Governor.
    Finally, if any of the State Troopers who drove me ever did speed on a local road without emergency lights, I would not likely have noticed since I always used that time to work in the back seat. But, if so, why wouldn’t you have just called me, like neighbors do? See, that’s also what I’m talking about in terms of civility.
    Anyway, let’s remember that it’s not whether we disagree but how we present and handle our disagreements that make all the difference in the long run.

  44. Wow … the West Hartford Police let Kevin Sullivan’s “driver” speed, a jury found O.J. innocent and Paris Hilton only served 3 days for her (what?) second DUI offence. West Hollywood / West Hartford . . . its like the same place – Fantasy Land.

    Perhaps the Dems on town Council will apply the latest in a long series of tax increases to gas subsidies for the elderly. Today was the second time in as many weeks that I have been panhandled by this 70+ year-old guy, wielding a gas can and looking for help to fill his tank.

    The Democratic Parties reckless environmental policies masked as an energy policy is starting to hurt the most fragile in our society.

    Do you think anyone in the state legislature noticed that their energy saving fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and are toxic to the environment???

  45. Edith Folta

    Just as a break from thinking about the referendum…. West Hartford needs another small-to-medium size hardware store to replace the sorely missed Quaker Hardware. Pfau’s is great but is the only alternative to the mega-shopping experience at Home Depot, and is not open on Sunday. I’ve always thought that the former Adams grocery site at Bishops Corner would be perfect for a hardware store such as True Value or Ace.

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