Hartford’s park and recreation system is an incredible amenity for the city and capital region, with its long history of Olmsted-led design and planning, abundant acreage of urban parks, riverfront access and a diverse community of users. Yet this abundance is also a challenge for the system, with maintenance challenges, a need for improved equity and a desire for more partnerships to help steward the system. The plan was led by Gina Ford and Brie Hensold while at Sasaki, with the support of Heller & Heller Consulting, Inc. and Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc.
The City of Hartford’s was seeking a forward-looking plan with the ingredients to restore and sustain its world class system. The Capital City Parks manual includes a 10 year action-plan, park concept plans, partnership matrix, governance recommendations, connectivity system map and phasing strategy, revenue generation opportunities, and furnishing guidelines and mobility standards. The plan was created to renew the park system’s legacy, expand access and inclusion and establish a fiscally and environmentally sustainable system. Opportunities for revenue generation within facilities and programs; strategic partnerships with schools, neighborhoods, and businesses; and coordination with friends’ groups and non-profit organizations set the stage for a more robust future. The graphic design and “brand” of the plan is intended to raise the visibility of the project and the parks system, helping everyone to better understand the resources available.
The plan included a detailed connectivity strategy that described three connective systems: 1) improved ecological connections along the Connecticut and Park Rivers; 2) a city-wide initiative to improve walking and bicycling links around the city and between parks; and 3) improved, more accessible and additional paths within the city’s large parks. This emphasis on connectivity at all levels seeks to improve the environmental health of the city’s natural assets, the physical health of its residents, and the fiscal health of the park system as a whole.Project Images