In a recent interview with the Metro Hartford Alliance, the Executive Director of Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS), Marilyn Risi, responded to questions including:
“NAN: How was UAMS involved these improvements?
MARILYN: UAMS has provided a design committee meeting every month for the past 22 years. We’ve been involved in coordinating the streetscape projects and providing community input into many other projects that are being supported by the city and or state.
Our monthly meetings include representatives from the city, state, and the other agencies, including the MetroHartford Alliance, Hartford’s Neighborhood Revitalization Zones (NRZ), and the Blue Hills Civic Association, along with stakeholders from Saint Francis Hospital, the University of Hartford, and other local businesses. They have the opportunity to provide input into the development of the avenue, rather than someone coming in and telling them what is going to happen.
There have been many changes to both the city and to the Upper Albany area, but the mission remains the same. We are mission-focused. We support the residential issues. However, our main focus is to be a “one-stop shop” for the business owners lining Albany and Homestead Avenues. We really stepped in during the pandemic when business owners needed help with emergency grants. We serviced more than 100 businesses. Each one of them got $7,500 to assist them through the COVID-19 downturn when many had to close shop and deal with challenges related to the pandemic.
NAN: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment with this organization?
MARILYN: The investment in the community. The University of Hartford coming to Albany Avenue—that was a big deal. And to see the growth of some of the small businesses. That gives you a lot of pride. Our job has always been to improve what is here and attract that which will be complimentary. And what came provided more business to the existing businesses. This is a very important piece, because it’s always been about economic development.”
The entire interview may be viewed on the Hartford Chamber of Commerce website that is located at https://www.hartfordchamberct.com/about-us/newsroom/upper-albany-main-street-helps-revitalize-hartford/ and the Metro Hartford Alliance website at https://www.metrohartford.com/about-us/newsroom/upper-albany-main-street-helps-revitalize-hartford/