December 21, 2018– Trinfo.Café welcomed Mayor Luke Bronin last night for his December Town Hall Meeting. The location of this monthly event rotates in order to reach all of Hartford’s neighborhoods and spotlight different community organizations.
Carlos Espinosa, Director of Trinfo.Café and Office of Community relations, began by introducing the audience to Trinfo. He spoke of Trinfo’s rich history of serving Hartford residents for nearly 20 years. Trinfo Cafe provides access to computers and digital literacy to help bridge the digital divide. It’s also a place that brings together residents of Hartford, community organizations, and Trinity students, faculty, and staff.
Carlos said that Trinfo’s goal is to be a space “to create relationships between cross-sections of people that, oftentimes, wouldn’t come across one another.”
After Carlos’s remarks, Mayor Bronin opened the floor up to questions from the 20 members of the community at the event.
Amy, a Trinfo regular, couldn’t make the event, but she’d told Carlos earlier in the day about an issue she wanted to bring up.
So, on behalf of Amy, Carlos asked what the City is doing about the deteriorated sidewalks on Park Street. Mayor Bronin said he is aware of this problem and is working to fix the sidewalk in phases. The first phase will probably span one block of Park Street, and he said he’s working with Park Street businesses to identify the worst section.
One attendee asked what the City is doing for youthful offenders looking for a second chance. Mayor Bronin identified Hartford’s Reentry Welcome Center as a place that connects people to important resources to help them rebuild their lives after incarceration. He also spoke of the need to offer opportunities for young people to get involved in their communities, like the Youth Service Corps.
This sparked a discussion between two residents. They disagreed on the best way to rehabilitate youthful offenders, but both said they’d been involved in criminal activity as young men growing up in Hartford and were committed to solving the problems they see today.
Along the lines of this topic, one of the people in this discussion brought up the lack of understanding and trust between residents and police officers.
Another member of the audience, Rich Frieder, extended an invitation to join Know Thy Neighbor. The organization aims to build trust and understanding by hosting events where local residents can come get to know people in the Police and Fire Department.
The mayor also encouraged everyone to get involved with their Neighborhood Revitalization Zone (NRZ). At each NRZ meeting, representatives from Hartford Police, Fire, and City Hall are present and ready to address questions and comments.
Mayor Bronin closed the discussion by thanking the crowd for their questions and comments. He stayed after to follow up with community members individually. Three Youth Service Corps workers moved furniture and disposed of garbage, returning the space to order after the event ended.
Most people at the event formed new personal connections, and everyone walked away with more information about what’s happening in Hartford. As Carlos said in his opening remarks, “It’s really important that we continue to figure out ways of partnering with one another and broadening the kinds of relationships we have so that we can look for all kinds of opportunities.”