Greater Hartford’s transportation system is in the midst of a major transformation including the development and planned expansion of CT Fastrak, the proposed I-84 highway redesign and enhanced commuter service on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line. These will result in significant changes in the way area residents get from place to place. While the individual projects have engaged residents and sought public input, the scale and complexity of potential projects warrants a concerted effort to enhance a resident’s ability to be an active part of the transformation of the region.
In response to these changes, the Hartford Foundation has awarded a one-year $102,449 grant to the Center for Latino Progress to replicate and adapt a community engagement program originally introduced in Denver, Colorado. The Transport Hartford Academy will seek to deepen resident engagement and create a group of active and informed residents who will provide input into the future transportation developments in the Hartford region.
“The Transport Hartford Academy at the Center for Latino Progress is an investment in the region’s economic vitality, quality of life, and environmental sustainability,” said Yanil Terón, executive director of the Center for Latino Progress. “We have been charged with engaging and empowering Greater Hartford residents with knowledge and understanding of multi-modal transportation issues facing the region. The region is fortunate that Hartford Foundation for Public Giving has provided the support necessary to spark and create a transformational livable, healthy and prosperous environment.”
The Center has recently hired Kerri Provost to serve as the Transport Hartford Academy coordinator. Provost has extensive experience in promoting the improvement of public transit, walking, and bicycling infrastructure. She is known for her hyper-local website Real Hartford and for the Transport Hartford Facebook page. The Center will be working with staff from the Denver’s Transit Alliance and local community partners, such as the Connecticut Department of Transportation, and the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), to adapt, implement, and track outcomes for the Academy.
The Center for Latino Progress will integrate participants in its “youth ambassadors” into Transport Hartford Academy. Ambassadors will learn alongside other Academy participants and their required service learning projects will be designed to support the work of the group. All participants will be exposed to seminars and panel discussions with local and regional experts to actively involve citizens and to build a constituency for issues related to transit.
“The Hartford Foundation is proud to support efforts to promote resident and community engagement to ensure that residents’ voices are heard when decisions are being made that will impact their communities,” said Yvette Bello, senior community investments officer at the Hartford Foundation. “The Transport Hartford Academy project builds on the ongoing transit focused work that the Center for Latino Progress is already involved in and creates a space where residents can learn about and in engage in the region’s transit projects.”
The Center for Latino Progress has been providing relevant educational training programs and services to the Hartford region for the past 38 years. Through its BiCi Co. program (Bicicleta y Comunidad), the Center promotes alternative transportation, real-world training, and new economic opportunities for local residents by improving access to jobs and independent, healthy and eco-friendly mobility.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. In 2015, the Foundation celebrated ninety years of grantmaking in the Greater Hartford region, made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations. It has awarded grants of more than $680 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.