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January 6, 2022

Corporate donors back Hartford’s ‘Open Streets’ program in ‘22

HBJ File Photo Hartford's Pratt Street corridor.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin plans to ask the Hartford City Council to accept a $50,000 donation from health insurer Cigna to support the city’s upcoming “Open Streets” program.

According to documents included in the council’s Jan. 10 meeting agenda, the Open Streets initiative would clear select roads of vehicle traffic for up to six hours one Sunday per month, allowing residents and visitors to gather, walk, exercise or bike in the area, with the ultimate aim of promoting community health and stimulating business sales. City officials expect the program to run from May to October.

The city has committed $200,000 to the project and accepted donations of $200,000 from Hartford HealthCare and $4,500 from AARP. Bronin is now asking city councilors to accept Cigna’s contribution of $50,000, which would move Hartford closer to meeting the final cost of the program, estimated at between $600,000 and $700,000.

A draft resolution included in the meeting agenda notes that Open Streets programming is expected to play a key role in revitalizing Hartford after nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a heavy toll on businesses reliant on commuters, who in many cases now have the option of working from home.

Numerous U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle and Portland, have introduced large-scale open streets projects as a means of increasing tourism and bolstering area businesses.

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