Design District Meeting Minutes


Design District August Meeting

August 12th 2020 Via Zoom

  1. Chelsea O’Donnell, Journey Communications
  2. Chris Conway, WH Chamber
  3. Kate Kobs, WH Chamber
  4. Cathy Davis, Bartlett Brainard
  5. Holly Callanan, GHAR
  6. Gina Bunch, Daley Moving
  7. Kristen Gorski, West Hartford Economic Development
  8. John Powers, cloverNINE green building
  9. Mike Alquist, WHPD
  10. Dave Chmielewski, Directline Media
  11. Eric Brown, West Hartford Lock


Cathy Davis, Bartlett Brainard  – quite busy from the storm. Lots of roof activity. Finishing up big projects that got dragged out because of COVID. 

Holly Callanan, GHAR – Food truck fundraiser last week, free shredding event and food drive this coming weekend, Saturday 9am-12pm. Bring some non-perishable goods. Looking at outdoor, community-focused events for GHAR members. Share the event on their Facebook page.

Gina Bunch, Daley Moving – doing moving assistance for the schools. Need to reduce class sizes, half of all desks need to be removed. 60 trailer loads from the Farmington school system alone. 

John Powers, cloverNINE green building – Santa Fe house moving along, working on a handicapped house in West Hartford. Deflecting work left and right. 

Eric Brown, WH Lock – still working on the move, lost some time with power outages but should be in by September 1st. Excited to see the new space!

Mike Alquist, WHPD – smash and grab burglaries, mostly ATM’s in liquor and convenience stores. Stolen cars have quieted down, people are locking their cars and people are home. It’s been fairly quiet. Regarding someone being approached by panhandlers at Cumberland Farms, WHPD has been working with the owner to remove anyone being aggressive. Mask initiatives are being looked at to encourage people, especially in WH Center.

Chris Conway, WH Chamber – golf tournament is in “full swing”, Daley is a sponsor for the longest drive. There are still opportunities to play and sponsor – get in touch with Chris today if you want to be involved. Chamber had a great virtual small business forum with Jillian Gilchrest, Sen. Murphy and Blumenthal came on the call. Interesting insights into how small businesses are slipping through the cracks with regards to unemployment. A letter was developed and sent to Washington based on some of the feedback and information coming through from the small business community locally. 

Kristen Gorski, WH Economic Development – storm restoration in full swing, only 14 individual properties without power as per yesterday. Worked with Eversource directly, put a lot of pressure on to be prioritized. Still working with Frontier, Comcast, GoNetSpeed, Verizon etc to make sure internet and cable is all up and running. With people working from home, this is a major priority. Public Works will be canvassing town to look at branches and debris over the next three weeks and collecting debris from homes. 

One Park Development on Park Road – 295 residential market rate development – allows sisters to maintain residence. $66 million project – major historic restoration – town council approved a tax abatement for the property since it was never a taxable property in the first place and it will be a major economic driver in the area. 

540 New Park – 52 mixed income units is full steam ahead, old Acme Auto property. 1500 sq ft retail space also available. 18 months of construction. 

New Park Avenue streetscaping – $3.7m road reconstruction, sidewalks, lighting, beautification – from NB Avenue to Aldi. Survey and design done in house, starting as early as next week and will take a month, design six months, construction 12 months. Kristen will be looking for input either at the next meeting or in a separate meeting. Center barriers with landscaping and looking at traffic calming. Turn lanes and bike lanes will be looked at and enhanced. Hoping to get some branding/banner support. EXCITING!

GastroPark is still working on buildout and getting pretty close to request inspections to open the back outdoor area. They are looking for additional funding in order to build out the interior. 

WeHa Brewing is also looking to start up, still working on lease negotiations and looking at crowdfunding opportunities. 

Chelsea O’Donnell, Journey Communications – see attached presentation. 

Dave Chmielewski, Directline Media – preview of 2020 commercial was shown to the group. Dave is happy to share the link. Please email him at