Bowles Park/ Willow Creek
What residents of an aging public housing project wanted for over three decades has finally materialized. Chester A. Bowles Park, the old 1950’s barracks-style complex has been demolished and is being replaced by brand-new apartments and single-family homes known as Willow Park. The Hartford Housing Authority’s new construction development broke ground on October 16, 2017, a little over a year after the Capital Region Development Authority approved a $5 million grant and then oversaw the razing of the old structures and the clearing of the 61.5 acres of land to allow for a new community plan and roadways. Phases I and II, including 105 mixed-income apartments, were completed in 2019 and are currently leasing. An additional four phases are expected.
Brackett Knoll Project
Toraal Development is undertaking the construction of 14 two-family owner-occupied homes on the site of the former Brackett Park School on Westland Street in Hartford. These two-unit homes allow buyers to occupy one unit and rent the other out as a source of income. The construction represents Phase II of a larger project that started in 2006 with the construction of six homes on Westland Street.
Fully committed to expanding homeownership opportunities, particularly in the City’s North End, CRDA has invested $1.8 million in the Brackett project, funding the acquisition of the property and constructing the Naugatuck Street extension required for access to the new housing. Additional funding for the construction of the houses and related site improvements is being provided by the State Department of Housing and the City of Hartford.
The Naugatuck Street extension was completed in the fall of 2021 and construction of the first five houses is currently underway. Interested buyers should visit www.brackettknoll.com for house specs and financing information.
PAL / Police Athletic League
A part of the Promise Zone initiative, CRDA is overseeing the first phase of the renovation of the former Quirk Middle School in the north end of Hartford for use by the Police Athletic League and the Hartford Police Academy. Utilizing $7.2 million of state bond funds, CRDA is completing a full renovation of the main floor including classrooms, installing new windows and doors, making ADA improvements, new security and IP infrastructure, and upgrades to the building’s outdated HVAC and mechanical systems. Work is expected to be completed in 2022.
Neighborhood Security Fellows Program
The $7.2 million in CRDA funding utilized for the PAL project included $2 million set aside by the General Assembly for projects employing graduates of the “Neighborhood Security Fellows” job and life skills training program also administered by CRDA. Per the 2016 legislation, twenty Hartford residents between the ages of 18 and 24 were identified as being potential victims or perpetrators of gun violence and enrolled in a comprehensive work readiness and construction skills training program. Those that completed the training were employed by various trade contractors working at PAL, and later, on the Brackett Knoll project. A number of these Fellows went on to permanent jobs in the construction industry.
In addition to the $2 million in project funding used at Quirk, CRDA received $500,000 from the General Assembly for the training program, which was run by the Blue Hills Civic Association in conjunction with Capital Workforce Partners.