Batterson Park is located about 10 miles from downtown Hartford. The current property spans over 500 acres with about 200 acres of parkland including the 165-acre lake. The lake was originally used as a drinking water reservoir before the Hartford Water Department donated the tract to the Parks Department in 1928. It served as Hartford’s beach for decades until it was closed in 2015 due to budget constraints. Parcels were sold off to balance the Hartford CT budget.

Batterson Park is meant to serve Greater Hartford families and provide a safe place to enjoy the outdoors and go to a beach. Many people lack access to beaches, and that is especially true for urban communities. Connecticut has 332 miles of coast, 87 miles of sandy beaches, but only 7 miles of beach fully open to the public.

In 20018 residents of Hartford and New Britain decided to start Batterson Park Conservancy Inc. (“BPC”), a 501c3 nonprofit modeled after Elizabeth Park Conservancy to preserve, protect and restore Batterson Park and its adjoining lands. From 2018 to 2021 we organized numerous meetings with Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Matt Ritter and the mayors of each city as well as community activists.

We successfully brought municipalities with varying priorities with a shared vision. As a result, In Hartford City Council unanimously approved a resolution to form the Batterson Park Conservancy in January, 2020.

The Conservancy then turned its focus on obtaining much-needed funding to restore the Park. We were united in our efforts to secure the state funding for this project, setting an example of “do it yourself” regionalism.

In March 2021 current Speaker of the House Matt Ritter announced his intention to secure funding to restore the park after years working with us and behind the scenes to organize the resurrection of this park. At a press conference at the park Speaker Ritter described the condition of the park as an “environmental injustice, "noting:

“It is completely inappropriate. It is completely unacceptable that just a few miles from the city of Hartford or New Britain, where some of our poorest residents live, that we took an open space – dedicated in the 1920s to give families a chance, without driving to a beach an hour and a half a way, to come with their families and sit outside, to swim, to play basketball – that we let it get to this.”

-Speaker of the Connecticut Matthew Ritter

With the passage of 2021’s budget, Speaker Ritter obtained $10 million to fully restore Batterson Park.

The importance of park preservation cannot be emphasized enough. Batterson Park’s restoration will restore 465 aces of sensitive wetlands, in addition to providing air-purifying landscape, a protected tree canopy and an environmental oasis. Moreover, this alliance underscores the tremendous benefits of inter-city cooperation and proves that there are distinct advantages to regionalism.