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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Parks & Playgrounds

Mission: Riverfront Recapture’s mission has three goals: 1) create accessible Riverfront parks and public recreational facilities to improve MetroHartford’s quality of life; 2) make the Riverfront an attractive destination for visitors and residents; and 3) use the revitalized Riverfront as a catalyst for investment to create jobs and improve residents’ standard of living.  We meet those goals with an innovative and nationally recognized combination of park development and programming.  In addition to beautiful, safe and well-maintained parks, we offer recreational and athletic activities, festivals and artistic performances, and programs that particularly serve MetroHartford’s youngest and most underserved residents.

Geographic areas served: Connecticut

Programs: Entertainment and events: riverfront recapture offers family-friendly entertainment in the parks, ranging from cultural performances and festivals to sporting events. Riverfront recapture produces many events such as riverfest - a celebration of independence day with fireworks and entertainment, the dragon boat race and asian festival, and a pops concert series. Riverfront also collaborated with other organizations to present a diverse schedule of events such as samba fest, the ray gonzalez latin jazz festival, pipes in the valley - a celebration of celtic music and culture, taste of the caribbean, which is a festival of food , music and dance, and a performance by connecticut ballet. The riverfront is a popular site for charity walks and 5k runs. In 2014, riverside park in hartford was the site of the merrell down 'n' dirty mud run which attracted participants from several states. Sporting events generally involve participant fees, but all of the public events are free to attend. In 2014, all of these activities attracted 349,000 visitors to the riverfront.

recreation and outdoor adventures: these activities range from structured programs such as the community rowing program to more passive activities such as the lincoln financial sculpture walk tours. The parks, on both banks of the connecticut river in hartford and east hartford, and the river, provide venues for a variety of land and water recreation. The community rowing program serves adults and high school students from "learn to row" to masters experience levels. The season culminates in the annual head of the riverfront regatta which attracted 3,000 participants plus 7,000 spectators, placing it in the top ten one-day regattas in the u. S. Riverside park is home base for the riverfront adventure program which includes a ropes course and dragon boating. A majority of the participants are youth groups, but companies also come out for team-building experiences. Riverfront encourages general use of the parks for picnicking, running, walking, birding, and bicycling, etc. The athletic fields' uses include softball, cricket, and pop warner football. Public boating is possible from three boat launches. Riverfront partners with a number of schools and groups for all of our programs. A sporting chance for youth is an event held in june to bring in young people so that they can sample all of the offerings that promote health and well-being and invite them to return throughout the year. All of these activities combined with daily park usage, attracted 548,000 people in 2014.

park management and development: no major construction was underway in 2014, but $1. 5 million in state funding was approved for design and permitting, as well as a temporary path for the riverwalk south project, which will connect mortensen riverfront plaza to charter oak landing. The metropolitan district commission provides maintenance in the parks, but expenses related to the upkeep of the boathouse and other park elements, such as the sculptures, are paid by riverfront recapture. Volunteer groups have become increasingly important in keeping the parks clean and well-maintained and turned out for numerous park cleanups in 2014. Funding was also received for an upgrade of park lighting to more economical led fixtures, with installation to be started in 2015. Additional funding is required to complete the 2-year project to upgrade almost 400 lights. The park system consists of 148 acres owned by hartford and east hartford. The municipalities are connected by walkways on the founders and charter oak bridges. The riverfront has been a catalyst for economic investment with the development of hotels, a convention center, a science center, and entertainment complex, and housing on adjacent land. Rangers provide hospitality and information, in addition to creating a secure environment for park visitors. Rangers are responsible for opening and closing the parks on a daily basis throughout the year. Between may and october, the busy season for the parks, the rangers have an increased presence. They provide information and directions to park visitors, assist with parking and boat launch activities, and enforce park rules. They are in radio contact with the police departments of hartford and east hartford should a public safety or medical emergency occur. In 2014, 19 individuals were employed as rangers, including seasonal part-time staff and the year-round, full-time director of the program.

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