(May 13, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor Mick Cornett of Oklahoma City, in a bipartisan effort of the U.S. Conference of Mayors urging Congress to renew long term federal funding for transportation infrastructure. The current federal transportation authorization bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), is set to expire on May 31st. Mayor Segarra and a coalition of more than 80 mayors from across the country joined the national Infrastructure Week effort, which highlights the critical importance of investing in and modernizing America’s infrastructure systems. Specifically, the mayors are pressing for increased, long-term resources with more locally directed funding to address the growing needs in cities where populations are steadily rising.
“Investing in our highways, roads, bridges, railways and other infrastructure systems is crucial for the safety of commuters who depend daily on these networks and it’s crucial to our ability to continue to grow economically competitive economies,” said Mayor Segarra.
In addition to mayors, a broad coalition of transportation providers, businesses, labor organizations, transportation system users, state partners and others are calling on Congress to pass a long-term transportation bill that increases investments in our transportation infrastructure. On the national level, a new analysis from American Public Transportation Association shows that more than $227 billion in economic productivity is at risk over the next six years without long-term federal investment in transit.
The nation faces a $160 billion backlog just to bring public transit and road systems into a state of good repair. The lack of a long-term federal funding bill creates local funding uncertainty, which jeopardizes infrastructure project planning and discourages private sector investment. The lack of a commitment on the federal level stifles local business investment and job creation in our city and nationwide.
Federal investment has not kept pace with demand, resulting in an outdated, overburdened surface transportation system that is ill-equipped to handle current, let alone future, needs. Across the United States, our public transit maintenance needs exceed $77 billion, and the nation’s bridge backlog alone is an estimated $121 billion. The Highway Trust Fund, which funds most highway and transit spending, is almost depleted and the federal government is struggling to maintain the status quo, much less make new investments.
To learn more about Infrastructure Week, please visit: infrastructureweek.org
(May 12, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, along with the City Council, formally announced a new Public Safety Initiative intended to increase the number of Hartford residents with public safety careers in the City. The primary goal of the proposed initiative is to hire more residents in the Hartford Police Department by creating pathways for young people to the Police Academy, but elements of the initiative would also prepare residents for careers in firefighting and emergency medical response.
The City developed the initiative with help from the Hartford Police Department and the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), which has experience running a summer program for students from the CREC Public Safety Academy and the Law & Government Academy at Hartford Public High School. The Public Safety Initiative would incorporate CREC's existing summer program and would add new components to reach Hartford students during the school year and beyond high school.
The initiative calls for four programs:
The post-secondary program would fill a gap in support and services between high school and the age of 21, the age requirement to take an exam for admission to the Hartford Police Academy. The Police Cadet Program will continue to be an option for young people ages 18 to 24 and 50 percent of slots in the Police Cadet Program will be made available to participants in the Public Safety Initiative. The age requirement to take the exam for admission to the Fire Academy is 18.
“I’m proud to be announcing this new initiative, the benefits of which are twofold. It will support and guide Hartford residents toward fulfilling careers and it will help the Hartford Police and Fire Departments build stronger relationships with the community,” said Mayor Segarra. “I would like to thank CREC and the City Council for their help and input in creating this initiative, as well as all of our partners who will help us make this a reality in Hartford.”
“I’m happy to see that as a City we are able to address the long overdue issues that affect the Vaughn v. Cintron decree. I am also very pleased that we have established a pipeline for City residents to become public safety officials. This is very monumental for the City of Hartford to be able address the disparities of Hartford residents as it pertains to obtaining such jobs,” said City Councilman Kyle K. Anderson.
“Creating a pipeline for Hartford residents to careers in public safety is one of the most important pieces of legislation this Council and this Mayor will implement," said Councilman Kenneth H. Kennedy, Jr. “This will positively impact our City long-term. I look forward to the program growing and expanding and witnessing its success for years to come.”
"When we provide our youth with a head start towards a career in public safety, it increases their chances of success. Our hope is that when more of Hartford’s youth pursue a law enforcement career in our city, the stronger our police department will be, and in the long term, the better our City will be,” said Police Chief James C. Rovella.
“This is nothing less than very bold and courageous move by the leadership in our city today. The Mayor and Council have earned the right to know they are moving toward a proactive position. We will save, change and restore hope in our city. This value-driven policy is a national model for other municipalities to follow,” said Pastor Sam Saylor.
"What's most appealing about this program from an educational standpoint is that it permits our students to see a very direct connection between schooling and future employment," said Hartford Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez. "Hartford also stands out as a community where residents and public safety officials work hand-in-hand to contribute to the city's growth."
“Under the leadership of Mayor Segarra and the City Council, this initiative will improve diversity in Hartford Fire, something that benefits the department and the community as a whole,” said Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas. “I welcome all Hartford residents who aspire to be firefighters in our department and look forward to helping them reach their goals.”
“CREC is very pleased to be working collaboratively on this project with the Hartford Police and Fire Departments as well as Capital Work Force Partners. During our first pilot year we saw tremendous growth for our Hartford teens and the development of mutual respect and appreciation between the students and our police and fire officers,” said Tim Nee, Assistant Executive Director at CREC.
Jahmeelah Bai-Grandson, Principal at Law & Government Academy said, "We have seen tremendous growth in our scholars involved in the Hartford Youth Public Safety Program. They have learned, first hand, the dedication and hard work that it takes to enter careers in law enforcement and public safety. Our scholars are excited about continuing their training and learning."
On Monday, the City Council referred an ordinance establishing the Public Safety Initiative to the Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee. It will go to public hearing on May 18. Once approved by the City Council, the Public Safety Initiative will be implemented by CREC under the direction of the City. Other partners include Capital Workforce Partners, the Greater Hartford YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs and the Police Athletic League. The Summer Youth Employment Program will move forward as part of the Hartford Public Safety Initiative with 46 Hartford residents who attend either the Law & Government Academy at Hartford Public High School or the CREC Public Safety Academy.
(May 11, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, Donna Thompson-Daniel, chairwoman of the Blue Hills Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ), and City Architect Antonio Matta broke ground for the Roberta L. Jones Playscape, an approximately 15-year-old playground in the Blue Hills neighborhood that will be rebuilt to current safety standards. An existing swing set will be refurbished with new paint and new swings. The remaining play structure will be replaced in its entirety with new slides, platforms and play features and will include the new City standard rubber tile safety surface. The removed play structure will be donated to the “Kids Around the World” organization that will refurbish and reinstall the playground in a developing nation. In addition, the playscape will feature a piece of playground equipment designed to look like a fire engine as a testament to Roberta L. Jones’ dedication to the Women’s Auxiliary of the Phoenix Society where she served as president and to the generations of her relatives who served in the Hartford Fire Department. Jones was a lifelong Hartford resident, the first African American state marshal and an executive assistant to Mayor Thirman L. Milner, as well as an active member of several boards and commissions. The new playground should be completed within six weeks.
“I’m proud to have this playground here in honor of someone who was a devoted member of the community and who worked tirelessly for those around her,” said Mayor Segarra. “I’m also happy to provide children in the neighborhood with a new and safer place to play.”
“Roberta L. Jones was a staple in the Blue Hills neighborhood and she worked hard for the Hartford community as a whole. She deserves recognition and this wonderful park will ensure that her legacy remains here forever,” said Thompson-Daniel.
The Roberta L. Jones Playscape, located in a largely residential neighborhood at the corner of Cornwall and Chatham Streets, will be installed by GameTime MRC.
(May 8, 2015) The City of Hartford’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is offering certified organic compost, made of leaves collected in the fall, to Hartford residents at no charge. Residents can take up to 32 gallons of compost from the Bulky Waste and Recycling Center, located at 180 Leibert Rd., Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.. Residents are required to bring photo identification, their own containers, shovels and gloves. The program starts today and will continue while supply lasts, which is typically through May. The program, which is in its fifth year of operation, is also made available to local community gardens.