Toss around phrases like “waterfront planning,” “economic development,” and “environmental maintenance,” and people’s eyes start to glaze over. So instead, we’ll tell you our story in numbers. Nearly one million people visit the Riverfront each year. We manage the Riverfront’s four parks and the hundreds of rangers and volunteers who keep things running smoothly, from events to recreational programming to landscaping to cleanup. We partner with Harford and East Hartford and a public works entity, the Metropolitan District, to support and maintain the Riverfront. We act as a catalyst for economic growth. For all this, we don’t want thanks or accolades. We just want you to come down and enjoy the Riverfront.
We’ve organized our functions into three activity clusters around a single unifying goal of making this region a better place to live, work and visit:
Entertainment & Events
We offer free, family-friendly entertainment in the Riverfront parks, ranging from cultural performances and festivals to sporting events that reflect the region’s diverse cultures. These include:
Recreation & Outdoor Adventures
Within the four parks Riverfront has created and now manages, we offer ample opportunity for both group and personal recreation.
Our Community Rowing Program offers recreational and competitive sessions to adults and high school students as well as an adaptive rowing program for people with physical disabilities and/or visual impairments.
Riverfront Adventure uses a climbing tower, dragon boats, low- and high-challenge course elements and other group activities to teach leadership, problem solving, goal setting and other skills critical for success in the classroom and the workplace.
A Sporting Chance for Youth provides an introduction to healthy activity in the parks. Cricket, football, high school cross-country and other teams use the athletic fields and trails, and individuals create their own outdoor adventures by walking, mountain biking and getting close to nature.
Urban & Environmental Recapture
Riverfront Recapture is a driving force in urban planning, economic development and environmental maintenance.
We partner with the City of Hartford, the Town of East Hartford, and the Metropolitan District (MDC) to manage the four Riverfront parks. The MDC delivers day-to-day park maintenance and provides funding for our park ambassadors, the Riverfront Rangers.
We’ve restored public access and revitalized much of the Riverfront and that effort continues with planning underway for a riverwalk connection between downtown Hartford and Charter Oak Landing and a new entrance to the Riverfront near Coltsville, the site of a proposed national historical park.
Riverfront parks have become catalysts for economic investment. Restored access to the Riverfront has generated billions of dollars in development on land near the parks with hotels, a convention center, a science center, an entertainment complex, a college campus and hundreds of planned apartments.
Before he designated the Connecticut River as America’s first National Blueway, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited the Riverfront in 2012 and said: “It’s great to see such robust efforts underway to restore this river and to fully realize its recreational, environmental and economic benefits to the community.”