Hartford's Colt Park has received a $750,000 federal grant to undertake extensive renovations. The money will be matched by funds kicked in by the city and the state of Connecticut.
The grant will be used to make improvements to the park’s baseball field, install basketball courts and two new softball fields, as well as renovating sidewalks and lighting.
Park Superintendent James Woolsey told a press conference Thursday that Coltsville’s pending National Historic Park designation makes it an unusual urban national park.
“It’s the community that makes these places great," he said. "And for me, I’ve been here for the last four years now, working on this park here, and the community here is literally fabulous."
Colt Park was gifted to the city of Hartford in 1905 on the death of Elizabeth Colt, as an amenity for the working class residents in the area. It’s part of the Coltsville Historic District, which encompasses the former Colt revolver factory.
Mayor Luke Bronin said the origins of the park were an acknowledgement that alongside industrial innovation had to come inclusive community involvement.
“The idea that as the industrial revolution created tremendous fortunes and tremendous industry, that some of that should be reinvested in the community to give opportunity for recreation,” he said.
Rep. John Larson, the 1st District congressman who has championed national park status for Coltsville, said that tradition continues today.
“If you were walking through this park yesterday, it was jam-packed," he said, referencing the July 4 holiday. "And imagine how great it will continue to be once we officially open it as a National Historic Park.”