May,  2017 

Your copy of the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association 'News & Views' has arrived!   You will find that you can easily go to any subject in the table of contents by just clicking on it or just browse through the articles as you wish. Please have a look. 


Next Meeting 05/01/2017



The next meeting is Monday May 1st, 6:15 P.M. at The 224 Eco-Space, 224 Farmington Ave .  This will be a special meeting with a format to address six discussion/action topics which will comprise AHNA's current projects list.  It is very important that everyone possible attend so these projects will get the attention and involvement they deserve.


From The Chair

Thoughts from the Chair

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Asylum Hill! It's our season and it's our time to witness the good life in Asylum Hill. It's our season to live in a safe, clean, economically progressive and loving neighborhood.
Over 20 years ago a group of concerned neighborhood residents and stakeholders came together and formed a neighborhood problem solving team. The spirit of that team was to work hard to ensure that the Asylum Hill Neighborhood remained safe, clean, economically sound and that all residents could actually experience an awesome quality of life while residing in Asylum Hill. Today we are standing on the shoulders of the many dedicated Asylum Hill residents, stakeholders and concerned citizens who indeed worked hard to make our neighborhood what it is today.

Yvonne Matthews, Chair

HouseFrom the House

Greetings to my friends and neighbors in Asylum Hill!

A Pro-Connecticut Agenda
By Rep. Matt Ritter
College Loan Interest Rates

Student loan debt is a major concern for current and future graduates. College costs are soaring and students are saddled with more and more debt. To help students and grads, the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA) recently started offering borrowers the chance to refinance their school debt with a new program entitled Refi CT. This program from Connecticut's supplemental college-loan fund carries the option for a five-, 10-, or 15 year term and can help students refinance their loan with a fixed interest rate as low as 4.25 percent - which is usually more than a full percentage point lower than their original rate. Applications can be submitted online at There is no application or origination fee. Providing student loan debt relief is essential in making sure Connecticut remains an attractive place to live and work.

Investing in Albany Ave.

This week I'll be meeting with DOT to discuss the reconstruction project on Albany Avenue. This is a $30 million state/federal investment in our city.  The goal of the project is to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety throughout the corridor along with streetscape and beautification enhancements.

Read More

Hawks Eye View

April 2017

West Middle Community School is officially back on the hill. We are excited to share with you how our year has been going so far. It is hard to believe that we have already been in school over 145 days.
In September we opened our new building and Volunteer Center with a celebration planned by, members of West Middle's School, leadership, Governance Council, PTO and the community hosted by The Hartford. There were over 100 community members in attendance including Mayor Luke Bronin and Associate Superintendent Kate Carbone.
In addition to all of the great things happening. West Middle Community School is seeking volunteers for the new Volunteer Resource Center. Currently we have over 25 volunteers at work at West Middle. We are still looking for classroom support, helping hands for student activities, and many more opportunities.
On our pathway to excellence, West Middle Enrichment featured the first day of after-school program on September 8, sponsored by Lead Agency, Boys & Girls Club between the hours of 4-6 p.m. The first day proved to be a huge success with up-ward of 70 students enrolled in the after-school program during which time the students and staff were able to get acquainted, home-work & tutorial assistance was provided along with fun filled engaging programs/activities and free giveaways were provided to all participating students.

  Read More

AHThen  Exploring Asylum Hill 

Exploring Asylum Hill - Earth Day at Hartford Public High School

Saturday at Hartford Public High School was the ninth annual Earth Day, which is to say, major cleanup in the neighborhoods around the School. Asylum Hill received its share of the love both in terms of the litter pick-up and the attention to the Salvation Army Marshall House playground, not to mention of course the HPHS campus.
It began with words of encouragement from Mayor Bronin as well as Principal Maziarz, and the required safety reminders from Rick Papapietro from UTC. 
Having attended several of these events, I was familiar with the basic plan. Four groups of volunteers of a dozen or so students and a few adults, each with a separate geographical area to cleanup. Then several crews dedicated to the plants and scrubs in various parts of the campus, and a couple of construction projects. 
What stood out this year was the progress that has been made. Some of the same areas, such as the Marshall House playground or the area in front of the main entrance have been a selected sight several years in a row. The work that's being done now is building on the work of the past, not repeating it.  Even before the students began mulching the tulips and daffodils  near the main entrance, it looked beautiful, much better that in previous years after thy were done. And the playground didn't need near as much work as two years ago as you can see from the photos above. Even the playground equipment repairs from 2015 are holding up well.

Asylum Hill Then And Now
Courtesy of Hartford History Center

AH Then & Now 553 Asylum

The eastern most corner of Asylum Hill is now called ArtSpace, but it was once the site of the home of Lydia Sigourney. In this photo from the Hartford History Center Archives, It is listed as 553 Asylum.




Georges Needs A Kidney Part 3.1


If you're new to this series, you may want to read the first two installments, is part one where I explain how I got involved and part 2 was published in the AHNA April News & Views at
At the end of the second article I had completed taking a battery of blood tests (16 in all) to check for my compatibility and basic health. At the time I wrote it, I hadn't received the results. Now I have.
The good news is that I passed all of the 16 except the compatibility test. I am not a direct match for Georges. This will be good news when we find another pair that we can exchange with.
But it turns out that the blood tests are not the whole story. The next step was what is called a 24-hour urine test. If you really want the details you can always google it. Suffice it to say it's a way of being sure both that my kidneys are good enough to give and that I can spare one. This may not be the way they say it, but it's the way I see it.


New Speed Hump Program

The City of Hartford has released a new program for site selection and installation of speed humps.  This new program works with the city's NRZ organizations to identify locations for proposed speed humps.  Below is a list of documents outlining this effort, the guidelines and forms necessary for neighborhood residents working through their local NRZ to request new speed humps in their neighborhood.  AHNA will be addressing this issue directly at our next meeting, Monday May 1st.


I84 Projects Update

On April 20 th , CT DOT held their 12 th Open Planning Studio both to update citizens about progress on the project, and to continue to look for feedback. The project currently has three distinct but connected areas of focus.
The first is the viaduct area of I-84 from Sisson Ave past Union Station. Design work continues on this project and several of the original options have been abandoned with the ground level/decked over version looking most favorable.
The second area of focus is on Union Station. Since it is increasingly likely that the rail line will be moved away from it's current location, and that the buses will continue to use this historic building, other uses for much of the space is being contemplated.
The third area of focus is I-84 and I-91 east of the viaduct, often referred to as Representative Larson's proposal. It focuses on the area of I-91 along the river and the advantage of burying the highway there to gain valuable riverfront property that could serve to improve the quality of life for both Hartford and East Hartford.
The challenge here becomes one of complexity. With all three of these areas of focus being studied and planned for, changes in one necessarily have an effect on the others, which need to be considered.




Pivotal Hartford: Faces of Change, Opening Night

The Golden Thread and photographer Ruedi Hofmann created an innovative and meaningful community art project titled "Pivotal Hartford: Faces of Change." This multi-media project includes photography, film, and spoken word, combined in an exciting way that has yet to be seen in our region, creating an outstanding artistic experience. Pivotal Hartford celebrates a diverse collection of people that make an effort to create a strong and vibrant Hartford. Pivotal Hartford began pre-production in March of 2016 and opened Thursday April 27 th in the gallery at the Bushnell. The ultimate goal will be to rotate the exhibit to new sites throughout Hartford.
Pivotal Hartford, by focusing on what is good in our community, will build a strong sense of community identity and pride and bring people together who might not otherwise come into contact with each other. An additional goal for this project will include furthering the conversation on the dynamics of community and to inspire those who visit the exhibit to help make Hartford safer, stronger, and more vibrant. Through Pivotal Hartford, The Golden Thread and Ruedi Hofmann hope to create a shared artistic experience that will become a powerful uniting force for the City of Hartford.

Excerpts above are from a Pivotal Hartford web link:

Pivotal Hartford: Faces of Change


Good Friday in Asylum Hill

It was a beautiful sunny spring afternoon that brought out Christians from eight of the churches in Asylum Hill to celebrate one of the holiest days of their calendar, Good Friday.
Remembering the day that Jesus Christ died, it is the culmination of the Lenten season, a period of penance, reflection and repentance.
This annual tradition brings together members of these faith communities to share a brief service in each of the eight locations. The character of each different community was evident both in the musical selection as well as the reflection by each pastor.
 Beginning at Trinity Episcopal Church at Sigourney St near Farmington Ave, and reflecting on the role of Peter, everyone was invited to take a nail and later to place it in a common pail, a stark representation of each one's participation in the passion of Jesus. Then processing behind a large wooden cross, a reminder of the instrument of Jesus' death, and singing a short refrain together they processed to the Cathedral of St. Joseph. There the reflection was on Simon the Cyrene as revealed in the gospels .The series continued through the Cathedral's parking lot across Asylum Ave to Asylum Hill Congregational Church where Rev. Matt Laney reflected on the role of the Roman Centurion.
Then in succession the group of about a hundred visited Asylum Ave. Baptist Church, Glory Chapel, Grace Lutheran Church, and Immanuel Congregational Church, finally concluding at Riverfront Family Church, the newest congregation to take up residence in Asylum Hill at the 224, 224 Farmington Ave.
It was a beautiful reminder of the common faith that unites so many as well as the varied expressions of faith and devotion that celebrate their diversity.


Arts and Music on the Hill



Hartford News AHNA Supplement

As part of our communications efforts we publish our newsletter 'AHNA News and Views' as a supplement in the Hartford News monthly.  To cover the printing costs we need to secure ads generating $500.00 dollars each month.  This provides us with four pages with color.  If you, an organization you work for or belong to would like to help support this effort please see the order form below.  Please contact the editor at  if you know of anyone or business you think we might reach out to for support.  Thank you.


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Events Calendar


Please click on the following link to go to our online Events Calendar.

From The Editor
If you have any comments, suggestions or submissions please contact me via email at 
Paul O'Mara Communications Committee Chair
Contact Us
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