September 30 - October 7, 1998

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$1 Million Grant Awarded to SAMA
State Senator John Fonfara and Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin B. Sullivan of West Hanford announced the State Bond Commission has approved a $1 million grant-in-aid to the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) of Hartford to finance a revolving loan program for small and minority businesses in the Park Street, Frog Hollow and South Green areas.

Senator Fonfara said, "I am pleased and proud to have been a part of the effort to provide new resources for the Spanish American Merchants Association Revolving Loan Fund. SAMA plays a vibrant and very important role in the economic vitality of the Latino community in Hartford"

"I'm delighted we were able to help secure this important funding for the Spanish American Merchants Association," said Senator Sullivan. "This infusion of money will allow the association to use this revolving fund to provide more low interest loans for businesses in order to spur economic growth and improve the job situation in the Park Street area."

Julio Mendoza, Executive Director of SAMA. Mendoza said the revolving loan program will be able to help 20 businesses, and that will lead to the creation of some 200 jobs. That includes a manufacturing facility that will bring 50 new jobs to the area.

Arts Council and Business for Downtown Form Partnership
The Greater Hartford Arts Council and Business for Downtown Hartford (BFDH) have officially joined forces to help promote the Arts and Entertainment District in downtown Hartford. Arts Council Executive Director Robb Hankins, who will be stepping down from his post this month after serving five years, said, "It's a natural to align the arts and entertainment community with the network of quality restaurants and retailers in downtown."

The alliance's first joint projects will be the co-promotion of this month's Aetna First Thursday and the Family Saturday event in Bushnell Park this Saturday and an effort to revive the Internet-based events calendar that was initially launched by BFDH in 1996.

Other projects may include the development of promotions for Hartford visitors, including hotel packages that will encourage overnight stays in Hartford featuring a built-in entertainment component.

Polish-Americans to Celebrate Heritage on Oct. 11
Greater Hartford's Polish-American community will hold a wreath laying ceremony and celebration next Sunday, October 11. The day will begin with a mass at SS. Cyril & Methodius Church followed by a procession to the Pulaski statue on Main Street, where a memorial wreath will be placed in honor of Polish-American veterans. Following the ceremony, a celebration will be held at the Polish-American Home on Charter Oak Avenue beginning at 11:30 am. Music from John Jeski and Jeff Banas, cultural displays and performances and plenty of Polish food will be features.

Bushnell Park Map Enhances Foliage Walk
The changing fall foliage of Bushnell Park's more than 700 trees -some well over one-hundred years old- will be featured at a free Fall Foliage Walk at 12 noon tomorrow, October 1. The walk is sponsored by the Bushnell Park Foundation. The 40-minute guided walk will also introduce a revised edition of the popular Bushnell Park Tree-Walk Map.

The map includes four self-guided tours of the Park, featuring 50 common and rare species of trees, including many new trees planted by the Foundation since 1991. The Fall Foliage Walk will be lead by tree enthusiast Ed Richardson, a past Board member of the Foundation and Glastonbury resident.

According to Maxine Stewart, President of the Bushnell Park Foundation, "The time and resources that have gone into replanting and improving Hartford's 144-year old Park are apparent."

Walkers should meet at the Memorial Arch at Noon. Rain date is October 2. For more information, call the Bushnell Park Foundation (860) 232-6710. Additional copies of the Tree Walk Map may be obtained after October 5 by contacting the Department of Environmental Protection, Maps & Publications Unit, 79 Elm Street, Hartford.

Bushnell Park is one of the oldest parks in the nation and Hartford is the first city in America to have built a public park designed, voted upon and paid for by its citizens.

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