HARTFORD, CT, June 19, 2013 – Two dilapidated properties that had been abandoned and vacant for over a decade have been completely renovated, inside and out, and have been converted to four two-family homes on Wolcott Street, in the Frog Hollow neighborhood of Hartford. The properties, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, were rehabilitated by Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, Inc. (SINA), which includes Trinity College, Hartford Hospital, and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In addition to extensive support from SINA, the project was financed by The City of Hartford, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and the Connecticut Light and Power Company, and the architectural work was completed by Gary de Wolf Architects.
At an open house today, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra praised the collaboration that went into bringing this vision to reality.
“The impact that this has, in terms of stabilizing the neighborhood, is just incredible,” he said. “These projects cannot happen without collaboration, so I want to really thank all of the partners.”
Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr. said that the most important effect this will have on Hartford, is on its families and children. The housing units will be sold to first-time homeowners whose incomes are below 80 percent of median area income, as defined by HUD.
“This is about change and progress, and doing something for our neighborhood and city,” President Jones said at the event. “Everything that happens in Hartford affects all of us who live and work here.”
Construction of the units began in November, 2012, by Gary de Wolf Architects, a firm that has a lengthy track record with historic renovations. The owner and architect researched the time period and types of buildings of the era, considering details from buildings in the immediate neighborhood. The architecture dates back to the Civil War.
“[Hartford’s] history can catapult our community forward,” Mayor Segarra said. “These properties highlight that.”
“Change is possible,” added Jones. “You can take a house that was derelict for a decade…and look at this now.”
The location of the project is a target area for the City of Hartford’s Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative (LSNI). The goal of SINA is to increase homeownership in neighborhoods in and around the south side of Hartford.
“The rate of homeownership in this neighborhood is ten percent, which is very low, even for Hartford,” said Melvyn Colón, Executive Director of SINA. “If we want to work to revitalize this neighborhood, we have to increase the rate of homeownership and bring in new working families who can increase the purchasing power and asset base of the neighborhood and bring new energy and leadership to civic affairs. Some of these new working families and individuals might come right from our neighboring institutions, the hospitals and the college. The institutions and their employees bring vitality to the community.”