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Hartford Parks Master Plan

Landscape Management

Hartford Parks Master Plan
Hartford, Connecticut

Heritage Landscapes led the design team in the development of the Hartford Parks Master Plan. This effort, the first in the history of the City of Hartford's public green spaces, comprehensively addressed over two thousand acres of public park lands, focusing on the recreational needs of the over 140,000 residents served. Thirty-two parks of varying sizes and qualities were addressed. They were organized into five types of parks: Metropolitan Reservation; Large Multiple Use Parks with Historic Value; Medium to Small Parks, associated with Community Centers or Schools; Small Neighborhood Parks and Playgrounds; Small Green Spaces and Memorial Sites. The project team worked with the City of Hartford toward developing a broad understanding of the park system history, existing conditions, level of service and use, safety and security, park maintenance, related planning and technical documentation, and fiscal opportunities or constraints. The project scope mandated that all planning efforts provide an adequate level of recreational services city-wide. Values associated with the parks were identified relative to their designed and cultural history, environmental, aesthetic and scenic qualities, recreational potential, and unique role these parks play in Hartford 's urban life.

The ten primary park system-wide stewardship and management issues considered in this Master Plan were: 1. Deterioration and failure of park infrastructure (utilities, drainage, drives and paths); 2. Deterioration of park natural systems (soils, water, vegetation); 3. Deterioration of park features and furnishings (recreation elements, benches, tables); 4. Construction of new facilities with limited planning basis, in response to trends; 5. Previous planning studies with limited community-wide acceptance and implementation; 6. Diverse community use, changes in demographics, access for all; 7. Recreational programming, need to serve diverse community, separation between public and private sectors, citizen outreach; 8. Personal and facility safety and security; 9. Park maintenance levels, related to current and future park care; and 10. Financing of park development and rehabilitation. A specific section on park system maintenance issues and recommendations provided overall guidance for ongoing park stewardship. Recommendations included upgrading all four maintenance centers, working with abutting communities on equipment sharing, strategizing small park maintenance separate from large park work, and incorporating silviculture to insure the woodland future of Hartford 's parks. This ambitious plan fully addressed the future of Hartford 's parks as cultural recreational resources for the community.

City of Hartford, Departments of Business and Finance and Parks and Recreation

Master Plan for the City System of Thirty-Two Parks, 1992

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners, team lead, PRE/View, Landscape Architecture, David Schuyler, PhD, Historian, Noyes Vogt Architects, Theodore Haskel, Parks Maintenance, Christopher Greene, ASLA, Programs and Finance, and George Wheeler, PhD, Stone and Metal Conservation