Federal, state and municipal lawmakers hailed Acting Associate Director for Park Planning, Facilities, and Lands, National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior William D. Shaddox's testimony this afternoon as another positive step towards turning the Coltsville Historic District into a National Historical Park Wednesday.
During a hearing on the legislation that would establish Coltsville as a National Historical Park held by the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Shaddox echoed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar's statement in Hartford that, "Coltsville again promises to be an economic engine, producing jobs and spurring growth in the Hartford area."
"With today's hearing, Coltsville's drive to become a national park continues to gain steam," Senator Joseph Lieberman said. "Coltsville's past is as compelling as its future potential, and the spirit of innovation fostered there helps maintain Connecticut's proud tradition of manufacturing everything from small arms to jet engines and even submarines."
"Today's testimony by Mr. Shaddox once again recognizes the historical significance of Coltsville and the potential economic benefits National Park status the holds for Hartford and the entire state," Congressman John Larson (CT-01) said. "While the bill still needs to pass Congress, today's hearing shows that this near 10-year project has momentum and I am confident that we will ultimately succeed in making Coltsville a National Historical Park."
The Coltsville project dates back to 2002 when then-Senator Chris Dodd, Senator Lieberman and Congressman Larson introduced preliminary legislation calling for a study on the feasibility of the project. Since then, the project has garnered support from various federal, state and municipal officials, as well as community and business leaders.
Most recently Governor Dannel Malloy, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Pedro Segarra and Congressman Larson hosted Secretary Salazar at Coltsville and gave him a tour of the project.
"Coltsville is an iconic and valuable site for Hartford and the State of Connecticut," Governor Malloy said. "Its designation as a National Historical Park has the potential to attract tourism dollars and expanded economic development in the area. Taking a piece of our state's past and using it to help invest in our future makes sense."
"Today's hearing is an important next step toward recognition of Coltsville as an important historic landmark that marks the rise of precision manufacturing in our country -- an industry that helped make America a world leader," Senator Blumenthal said. "We honor the Colt Legacy and bring needed jobs to Connecticut by designating these buildings and the surrounding area as a National Park."
"This positive momentum is inspiring. There is no better place to showcase democracy than in Hartford, and in particular, with Coltsville as a National Park. This distinction will capitalize on the progress we have made in this neighborhood, and throughout the city, through the investment in new schools and homes. It will also complement our iQuilt Partnership by connecting new and exciting developments Downtown and to our cultural assets and historic park system," said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra.
Today's hearing paves the way for a potential subcommittee markup, clearing the bill for consideration by the committee for the Senate floor.