By: Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance
Spending time with nearly 250 of our closest friends is a great way to start a Tuesday, as the MetroHartford Alliance hosted “State of the City: A Conversation with Mayor Luke Bronin” on March 12. The program highlighted the city’s growth and the importance of collaboration.
HARTFORD IS BUILDING MOMENTUM
Momentum and teamwork were the focus of Alliance CEO David Griggs’ opening remarks. “Hartford is evolving. It’s becoming a destination,” he emphasized.
Griggs listed notable activities in the city’s downtown business district, including:
Events are a key part of Hartford’s attraction. Griggs noted the impact of upcoming March Madness basketball at XL Center and talked about how the city’s events, including Riverfront Recapture’s programs at the waterfront, Bushnell Park activities, and local teams the Hartford Yard Goats and Hartford Athletic, bring vitality to Hartford.
“I encourage you to get out and share what you love about Hartford and keep the momentum going,” he said. “Our city is diverse, our people are innovative, and our businesses are global.”
Added Joe Gianni, Greater Hartford Market President, Bank of America, the event’s sponsor, “We want transformation for Hartford. What we need is continued strong, compassionate leadership.”
MAXIMIZING HARTFORD’S MOMENTUM
Bronin echoed Griggs’ sentiment about creating, building, and maximizing Hartford’s momentum.
He encouraged the audience not to shy away from looking at where we’ve come and instead focus on our current abilities.
“Make it your mission to change people’s past perceptions about Hartford,” he advised. “The energy, activity, and momentum are here.”
Bronin pointed out Hartford’s “stunning” innovation ecosystem growth, which is happening in our core industries: insurance and financial services, manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare.
Bronin also mentioned a digital health accelerator, which will launch in fall 2019 and praised Stanley Black & Decker, Upward Hartford, reSET, ThinkSynergy, Innovation Places Hartford/East Hartford, and Nassau Re for creating an InsurTech accelerator.
“I was impressed that he sees the innovation ecosystem and affordable homeownership as two critical parts of making Hartford a great city,” said Upward Hartford mentor-in-residence Dave Sagers, Principal at Sagers Associates.
PROMOTING THE CITY’S VIBRANCY
Responding to a question from the audience, Bronin noted that affordable home ownership is key to making Hartford a vibrant city. “We need economically diverse communities.”
Making the city more attractive for young people is another challenge. “I hope we continue to make Hartford a cultural and social center for students. We have to build partnerships between schools and local businesses to create jobs for graduating students,” he said. “Companies want talent and talent wants to be in a city that’s vibrant.”
Arts and culture play an important part in that vibrancy, Bronin underscored. He pointed out local treasures including Real Art Ways, the KNOW GOOD Market, and the annual Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, which all contribute to local arts, culture, and community.
In closing, Bronin thanked the MetroHartford Alliance, saying, “I appreciate David Griggs’ experience and am thankful to the organization for deciding to focus on economic development.”
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