Tom Condon

Tom Condon writes about urban and regional issues for the Mirror, including planning, transportation, land use, development and historic preservation. These were among his areas of interest in a 45-year career as a reporter, columnist and editorial writer for The Hartford Courant. Tom has won dozens of journalism and civic awards, and was elected to the New England Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2016. He is a native of New London, a graduate of The University of Notre Dame and the University of Connecticut School of Law, and is a Vietnam veteran.

Recent Posts

Housing shift: More apartments, fewer McMansions

The market is changing. Families are smaller. Young people are happy, at least for a time, to rent an apartment in a walkable, interesting city or town center. Many Boomers are looking to downsize. And for a quarter century, state officials have been trying to inject more affordable housing into more communities. Continue Reading →

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Has regionalism’s time finally come?

While autonomous municipal government — home rule — is the norm and likely to remain so, regional cooperation has been inching ahead. Now with the state and several large cities facing severe fiscal challenges, mayors such as Hartford’s Luke Bronin and others, including the state’s major municipal advocacy group, are pushing for more regional sharing. Continue Reading →

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Plan for XL Center to test value of entertainment

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is backing $250 million in bonding to make the aged XL Center in Hartford “look and feel like an entirely new building.” Intended primarily as a venue for UConn sports, chatter about the possibility of the return of major league hockey picked up last week when Malloy and Mayor Luke Bronin issued a long-shot invitation to the NHL’s New York Islanders to play there. Whether the transformation moves ahead is now up to the General Assembly. Continue Reading →

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Little Derby has a big plan

In 2003 the city demolished a row of 19th century brick buildings along Main Street to make way for a major development that never happened, leaving a vacant 19-acre site with little more than a rusting grain elevator. Now city officials hope to create a new neighborhood “that will put Derby on the map.” Continue Reading →

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Movement to complete state’s trails gaining momentum

For more than two decades, most of the new multi-use trails built in the state were almost entirely the work of local volunteers. In the past five years, however, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his transportation commissioner, James Redeker, have turned that narrative on its head. The state is now including non-motorized trails in its planning efforts and making major investments in them. Continue Reading →

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Bottling plant a wake-up call on state water

For decades, Connecticut residents have taken water for granted. But approval of a water bottling plant in Bloomfield, the coming of the state’s worst drought since the 1960s, and several other water controversies in recent years have put the spotlight on both the state’s lack of an overall water plan and questions about the transparency and accountability of the Metropolitan District Commission, the Hartford region’s big water and sewer agency. Continue Reading →

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Mill revivals could choke on their own success

In towns all over Connecticut there is such interest in revitalizing historic industrial properties that the movement could be stalled by its own success. All of the fiscal 2017 tax credits under the state historic rehabilitation tax credit program, a key part of the financing of many mill projects, were claimed in the first quarter of the fiscal year. Continue Reading →

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Historic Congregational churches struggle for survival and revival

The graceful and handsome “meetinghouses,” many with soaring white steeples, may be the state’s most enduring image, both for their beauty and their significance. But though these quietly majestic edifices and the communities they represent seem timeless, alas they are not, and keeping them going in the 21st century is becoming a challenge. Continue Reading →

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Last hope for a shoreline landmark

Seaside in Waterford is one of the last great buildings designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert, famous for the Woolworth Building, the U.S. Supreme Court and New Haven’s Union Station. Built by the sea as a tuberculosis sanitarium and later used as a facility for the intellectually disabled, the grand building is a deteriorating derelict after years of state indecision. Now the state is down to its last chance to save it. Continue Reading →

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Does Connecticut need a think tank?

Would regional government save money for Connecticut taxpayers? How should the state attempt to close the educational achievement gap? When faced with major questions such as these, policymakers in some other states turn to their independent, nonpartisan public policy research center to study the issues. Continue Reading →

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Stadium fiasco threatens novel renewal idea

The controversial delays and added costs at Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium not only put the 2016 Hartford Yard Goats baseball season on life support, it threatens what could be the city’s boldest renewal effort since the Front Street project began in the 1990s. Continue Reading →

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