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Listening Tour Recap: Ellington and Tolland

On Monday, October 1, our GreaterTogether Listening Tour made its seventeenth and final stop of 2018 at the Hall Memorial Library in Ellington. About 20 residents of Ellington and Tolland came together for an insightful conversation lead by Jay Williams, president of the Hartford Foundation. After a short introduction, the floor was opened for those in attendance to share what they love about living in Tolland and Ellington, as well as some of the challenges facing their communities.

Here are a few things we learned throughout the course of the evening:

* Like many areas of Greater Hartford, Tolland and Ellington both feature beautiful natural resources and hiking trails. Residents not only want to ensure that we keep these environments pristine for generations to come, but also safe. There is a need for location markers to be added to trails to help emergency services easily locate injured hikers. How can both towns continue to be good stewards of the environment and ensure their hiking trails are safe for their residents?

* Access to the arts and theater is important to Tolland and Ellington. Recently, the closest community theater group to the area, the Opera House Players, lost their space in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor and moved their operation to Enfield. Since the Opera Players left Broad Brook, Tolland and Ellington’s youth lost easy access to a quality arts program. This is not the first time we’ve heard about the need for access to the arts east of the river. How can local arts groups secure funding to provide arts and culture programming in Tolland and Ellington?

* Tolland and Ellington have a lot of cows, and they are rightfully proud of that fact! While the discussion may have started out a little “tongue and cheek,” it is certainly much more than that. Both are robust agricultural communities known for their dairy farms. How can these two communities celebrate their agricultural resources and provide opportunities for others to learn and enjoy them as well?

* There was a discussion about community and economic development. This is something that has come up at every Listening Tour stop. As with other towns, Tolland and Ellington need help facilitating conversations around this topic, as well as help making connections with other towns close by who are experts at community and economic development. How can the Hartford Foundation act a convener on this issue?

* There is a need for an all-inclusive playground in Ellington. There is a nonprofit, the Jacob Roger Poulin Foundation, that is currently working on this project. Jacob’s mother came on Monday, the second anniversary of her son death, to tell us about “Jacob's Park” which will incorporate some of Jacob’s favorite things and be accessible for all children in Ellington to enjoy.

* A common theme we’ve heard throughout our Listening Tour has been the decline in volunteerism, which was brought up during our last stop as well. In response, Jay Williams announced that the Hartford Foundation will host a volunteer symposium sometime in 2019.

* There is a lack of affordable transportation in Tolland and Ellington, which has been another common theme we’ve heard throughout our tour. How can we increase access to quality transportation for all residents?

* Unlike other towns in our region, residents of Tolland and Ellington have been hit hard by the crumbling foundation issue that has been highlighted in the media lately.

Thank you to everyone who attended. If there are any additional ideas you would like share, please email them to together2018@hfpg.org. We would love to hear from you!

This was our final stop of 2018. Over the past ten months, we have heard from residents of 23 out the 29 towns we serve in the Greater Hartford area. However, if we didn’t make it to your community, not to worry! We will be back on the road in early 2019 to meet with residents in the remaining towns to learn how we can work together to make every community in our region an even better place to live. Keep an eye on greatertogether2018.org for more information about the next leg of our tour.

* There was a discussion about community and economic development. This is something that has come up at every Listening Tour stop. As with other towns, Tolland and Ellington need help facilitating conversations around this topic, as well as help making connections with other towns close by who are experts at community and economic development. How can the Hartford Foundation act a convener on this issue?

* There is a need for an all-inclusive playground in Ellington. There is a nonprofit, the Jacob Roger Poulin Foundation, that is currently working on this project. Jacob’s mother came on Monday, the second anniversary of her son death, to tell us about “Jacob's Park” which will incorporate some of Jacob’s favorite things and be accessible for all children in Ellington to enjoy.

* A common theme we’ve heard throughout our Listening Tour has been the decline in volunteerism, which was brought up during our last stop as well. In response, Jay Williams announced that the Hartford Foundation will host a volunteer symposium sometime in 2019.

* There is a lack of affordable transportation in Tolland and Ellington, which has been another common theme we’ve heard throughout our tour. How can we increase access to quality transportation for all residents?

* Unlike other towns in our region, residents of Tolland and Ellington have been hit hard by the crumbling foundation issue that has been highlighted in the media lately.

 

Thank you to everyone who attended. If there are any additional ideas you would like share, please email them to together2018@hfpg.org. We would love to hear from you!

This was our final stop of 2018. Over the past ten months, we have heard from residents of 23 out the 29 towns we serve in the Greater Hartford area. However, if we didn’t make it to your community, not to worry! We will be back on the road in early 2019 to meet with residents in the remaining towns to learn how we can work together to make every community in the our region an even better place to live. Keep an eye on greatertogether2018.org for more information about the next leg of our tour.

VIDEO: Full Event


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