Editorials from around New England:
The Hartford Courant
A year ago, Hartford’s future was far from certain. The city was on the verge of bankruptcy. Aetna was high-tailing it. The state budget was a mess, and legislators were divided on whether to support the city. Florida’s governor was shamelessly trolling for residents. From afar, things looked bleak indeed. The New York Times wrote: “Very little is going right for this once proud New England capital.”
But the clouds are parting.
There were glimmers, even a year ago, that all was not lost. The University of Connecticut’s downtown branch opened to ballyhoo. Apartments were filling up and old buildings being renovated. The Hartford Yard Goats, in their first year playing minor league baseball in the city, consistently filled Dunkin’ Donuts Park with fans.
And now, a year later, the picture is brighter still, as the city sidestepped many of the predicted calamities....The planned merger of CVS and Aetna meant the storied insurer would remain in the city after all. CVS officials identified Hartford as a “center of excellence” for the company.That black eye healed pretty quickly.As part of its budget, the state agreed to pay Hartford’s bonded debt for years into the future. While some legislators kicked up a fuss, the move had immediate impact.Moody’s upped the city’s credit rating by 13 notches. Soon after, the three major Hartford insurance companies came through with their pledge to donate $10 million. That inspired Moody’s to award Hartford a credit-positive designation.It was hoped that the new stability of Hartford’s finances would invite development, or at least not scare developers away. Happily, it seems to be working.The plan to revitalize Dillon Stadium in the city’s south end is in motion after a sour start. A professional soccer team is coming to the city as anticipated, and with any luck, matches will be underway in the spring.On the other side of the city, the Hartford Yard Goats continue to draw big crowds to Dunkin’ Donuts Park. As of Wednesday, the Goats’ average attendance this year was the second-highest in the Eastern League.There’s more good news in the neighborhood surrounding the stadium. The city has selected a developer to pursue the Downtown North project, a crucial component of the master plan for the area that should bring dining, shopping, housing and more.Meanwhile, work on the Colt factory complex nears completion as renovations are underway on the final major building.A year ago, Hartford faced a fork in the road. It could have filed for bankruptcy, potentially sending chills through the metro area and pushing developers and businesses away. But, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mayor Luke Bronin, the business community, and the legislature - and, by extension, the generosity of the people of Connecticut - the city seems to be on the right path.Still, not all is perfect. As former city councilman Mike McGarry pointed out, the neighborhoods