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Hartford Land Bank helping transform neighborhoods a home at a time

On Friday, July 29, there was a ribbon cutting for the second newly remodeled unit at 471 Garden Street.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Harford is on a quest to transform and revamp neighborhoods. It's all a part of the seven initial parcels transferred from the City of Hartford to the Hartford Land Bank in January 2021.  

On Friday, July 29, there was a ribbon cutting for the second newly remodeled unit at 471 Garden Street.

Ralph Knighton said this is important for Hartford's Northeast area. He said he's witnessed it change over the years as a native and current resident in the neighborhood.   

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"When I grew up here, Hartford was a viable, progressive city, and to see a decline as it has, you know, it kind of hurts," said Knighton

However, he said he sees it re-emerging. 

"Now people realize that to stabilize these areas, they have to work with the residents and provide opportunities for them," said Knighton. 

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city formed a partnership with Hartford Land Bank that made it possible to transform blighted properties. 

"We want to continue to transfer as many properties as we can and to the land bank hands so that we can magnify the impact of transformations like this and neighborhood after neighborhood around the city of Hartford," said Bronin.

Because of that, Bronin said there's an emphasis on keeping those involved local. 

"The majority of properties are registered to LLCs owned by investors from out of state," explained Arunan Arulampalam, Chief Executive Director of The Hartford Land Bank. "Those dollars as you look around this community, millions of dollars leave our community to go to out-of-state investors."

Long-time Hartford resident Jose Salazar was hired to develop this long-blighted property. Salazar hopes this will create a ripple effect to help the community thrive. 

"Hopefully for more developers, even more homeowners to look at the properties next to them or around the neighborhood and do the same and try to improve it a little bit and make Hartford look better," said Salazar.

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Knighton said it's refreshing to see the uplift of the neighborhood. 

"For the most part, blighted properties and abandoned properties are used for illegal activities, and so sending them being brought back and providing housing for the families is great," said Knighton.

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at rharrington@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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