Our Riverfront parks lie entirely within a flood plain, which means that the Riverfront will always remain a public greenway for recreational use. But as the Riverfront parks have become vibrant destinations that draw large numbers of people, they have become catalysts for economic investment, with development projects being located as close to the parks as possible. Since public access was restored to the Riverfront in downtown Hartford, for example, a convention center, a science center, a hotel and an entertainment complex have emerged on land that is connected to the Riverfront parks. Hundreds of apartments are planned for land within easy walking distance to the parks. Near the parks in East Hartford, hotels and a new Goodwin College campus are flourishing.
Currently, we are planning a project that will connect Hartford’s downtown Riverfront area to Charter Oak Landing and Coltsville, where redevelopment of the Colt Armory complex could include a national historical park that would celebrate innovations made by Sam and Elizabeth Colt that revolutionized American manufacturing.
The Riverfront also serves as the eastern anchor of the ambitious iQuilt project, which is designed to make Hartford a more inviting, walkable city. iQuilt will feature a GreenWalk through downtown, linking arts and cultural institutions from the State Capitol and Bushnell Park to the Riverfront parks – creating, as its planners envision, “a more vibrant, prosperous, and sustainable city.”
The Riverfront and iQuilt are already helping businesses and employers to recruit and retain outstanding young employees who are attracted by the city’s enhanced quality of life. Eventually, this renewed vitality will also encourage new employers to locate and expand operations here.