On the far side of the railroad tracks, where not even McDonald’s could survive, is a vast wasteland that is, amazingly, still part of West Hartford. It’s full of auto shops, dollar stores and other places that barely hang on. Most of us go there only when we need to track down the post office on Shield Street for some reason. It’s not on the normal travel path of most town residents.
The most obvious symbol of neglect is the vast 1960s relic t is recalled by many as an Ames or a Caldor but apparently started off as a Star’s Market, according to The Caldor Rainbow blog. Now it’s no surprise that a massive retail store there failed as nearby Hartford neighborhoods decayed. It’s a crummy spot, really, for retail at least, since it’s hard to reach from the highway and off the beaten path in West Hartford, too.
What is less easy to understand is why this area isn’t a higher priority for the town government to revitalize. Surely in this much-desired town, the area presents a wonderful opportunity for a small industrial park, a business incubator area or some kind of recreation destination (indoor skiing! the world’s biggest bowling alley! some damn thing!). This is no small matter because the whole area can’t possibly bring in much property tax revenue, but if the town could kick start it somehow, there could be new jobs and a bigger tax base that follow.
I’m curious to know why nothing is done, year after year, about so obvious a problem. Has town hall forgotten this whole area?