The City of Hartford received grant assistance from CIRCA to hire a Green Infrastructure Specialist for 12 months. The Specialist assisted the City of Hartford with its rigorous, comprehensive climate resiliency effort – the Climate Stewardship Initiative (CSI) – which aims to improve quality of life through environmental stewardship, while advancing the economy, improving public health, and promoting social equity. Through the CSI, Hartford has collaborated with corporations, private foundations, and government agencies to make strides in five action areas (energy, land, transportation, waste, and water). Of these five areas, the city has the least expertise and the most need in the area of water – specifically in managing stormwater. The Green Infrastructure Specialist helped Hartford not only respond to threats of flooding, but also strategize proactively for the future by evaluating and advancing green infrastructure projects. This Municipal Resilience Grant award was for the amount of $100,000.
As an inland city, Hartford experiences severe challenges related to stormwater management. With large quantities of impervious surface, high levels of clay, and a failing levee system that protects the Connecticut River from rising, the City ground cannot absorb stormwater, which exacerbates the amount of runoff and flooding. Flooding in homes and businesses, even from relatively minor storm events, is already commonplace. The City has several important waterways, each of which has different challenges of which green infrastructure may help to address. First and foremost is the Connecticut River, which is prone to flooding and is lined with aging flood infrastructure rated poorly by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Park River and Gully Brook are additional waterways that benefit from the planning, research, and implementation offered by the city’s Green Infrastructure Specialist.
CIRCA’s support of this position ensures that City government has the expertise to develop and manage projects that will make Hartford more resilient and more livable. Goals of this CIRCA funded project include:
- Assess green infrastructure techniques best suited for Hartford.
- Identify locations and configurations where green infrastructure would be most successful.
- Review best practices nationally and re-write City specifications on materials used for milling/paving roads, sidewalks, parking lots and more to incorporate and, where possible, replace existing material specifications with greener solutions.
- Identify and implement green infrastructure improvements for City roads and pedestrian walkways and participate in the creation of the framework to guide the Green, Complete Streets program for the long-term.
- Conduct outreach to community groups in Hartford, as well as other cities to discuss best practices around the state and country regarding stormwater-related green infrastructure and impact on resilience and sustainability.
Shubhada Kambli, Hartford Sustainability Coordinator