Riverfront Recapture Unveils Emerging Vision Plan for 60+ Acre Park on The Connecticut River

Riverfront Recapture has reached a significant milestone in the master planning process for their future park, unveiling the emerging vision plan for the future park on the Connecticut River. The master planning process began last December with the selection of Hargreaves Jones, a renowned leader in landscape architecture and design, to develop a master plan for a park that will transform over 60 acres of riverfront land into a vibrant community park. This visionary project marks a generational opportunity to breathe new life into a stretch of riverfront terrain separated from local communities by highways and infrastructure barriers. Hargreaves Jones has made significant strides in synthesizing a plan that balances the collective feedback of the community with the challenges of floodplain development, incorporating resilience by adapting to seasonal river fluctuations and celebrating the region’s ecological and cultural heritage. The vision plan has successfully captured the collective aspirations of the local community and Riverfront Recapture, paving the way for the realization of this transformative project. 

“We are excited to enter the final phase of the master planning process,” said Michael Zaleski, President & CEO of Riverfront Recapture. “The emerging vision plan reflects the big dreams of future park users, stakeholders, and project investors, and will connect even more people with the Connecticut River.”

The master planning process reflects Riverfront Recapture’s commitment to inclusive community engagement. The emerging vision plan has been shaped through the insights and feedback of over 1,500 individuals who participated in site walks, surveys, community workshops, and pop-up events. This collaborative process, facilitated by Hive Public Space, ensures that the park’s design will reflect the diverse needs and desires of the communities it serves and provides access to future park users of all ages and abilities. 

“This is a transformational opportunity to reconnect Windsor and Hartford to the Connecticut River while creating a world-class amenity for the community, and a destination for visitors,” said Mary Margaret Jones, President & CEO of Hargreaves Jones

Sitting outside the Hartford levee system, the site experiences seasonal flooding—making for a dynamic park that is in sync with the river beside it a key feature of the design. This is a park that will welcome the water. The vision for the park is bold—and will create a new, iconic destination for the community and visitors alike while telling the stories of the people who have cultivated and cared for the land throughout history and creating a community hub that will serve generations to come. With the Hartford levee system to the south and active rail lines to the east, the park’s strategic location presents a canvas for reimagining public engagement with a more dynamic riverfront. 

The emerging vision plan showcases programmatic areas of the future park that provide space for play, relaxation, events, and access to the river. Additional plan elements include community plazas, boat docks, fishing piers, playgrounds, picnic areas, and distinct yet interconnected ecological zones that foster biodiversity, provide environmental education, and promote ecological restoration, as well as Garmany Cove, which serves as both a recreational hub and vital habitat preservation zone, and the Joe Marfuggi Riverwalk, facilitating regional connectivity from South Windsor to Hartford and East Hartford. 

Throughout the summer, the project team will continue to collect feedback on the emerging vision plan from stakeholders, funders, and future park users of all ages and abilities. A summer listening tour and survey will begin on June 22 at the Hartbeat Music Festival. This feedback will then be used by Hargreaves Jones, Hive Public Space, Sage & Coombe Architects, Fuss & O’Neill, HR&A Advisors, Trophy Point, and the team at Riverfront Recapture to refine the vision plan, which will include commercial development, community spaces, natural areas, and recreation opportunities. The master plan will be unveiled at an on-site celebration this September (Date TBA).