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Old 01-10-2013, 04:27 PM
 
37 posts, read 68,908 times
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I left Manchester in 1963 after I graduated from MHS. While I was in college my parents retired to Cape Cod. I visited Manchester on and off to see friends during my college years and went to one HS reunion in the early 90's (not held in Manchester.) My recollections of Manchester are very positive - a nice middle class suburb of Hartford, good schools, great recreational programs for the kids, Mary Cheney Library, St. James Church (where I was an altar boy) swimming at Globe Hollow, ice skating at Center Springs Park, etc. What got me back to thinking about Manchester was the Parkade which I Googled and learned that much of it has been demolished with big redevelopment plans.

I've heard both positive and negative about Manchester in recent years. What's the real story?

Thanks,
Friar1610
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
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Like any town there are good and bad things going on in Manchester today. You would probably not recognize parts of it today because of the dramatic changes that have occurred. First has to be the Buckland hills area up near I-84. Buckland Street, Pleasant Valley Road and the newer Buckland Hills Drive that is an extension of what was Hale Road are the heart of one of the largest and busiest retail districts in New England. Along these roads are just about every major national store and restaurant in the country and traffic that goes along with it. In addition a number of upscale apartment complexes have been built in the area making it a place where young people live and play.

With this however, the older traditional shopping districts in Manchester have suffered. Downtown and Broad Street have suffered and are not anything like they once were. Gone from downtown are the major stores and businesses that were once the heart of the town. The area has found some new and interesting replacements (mostly restaurants) though and the area is likely to rebound as more new businesses come in. Over on Broad Street, the old Parkade Shopping Center has been knocked down by the town after having sat vacant and deteriorated for years. The theaters thougha re still there and the Middle Turnpike side of the Parkade seems to be doing very well with a Stop & Shop Supermarket and a large array of service stores. The venerable Shady Glen is still there and has changed little since its opening including the great ice cream and burgers they are known for.

Another change is that the old Chenny Company is no longer in existance and their old mill buildings have now been converted to housing and offices. And the old Chenny mansions with their massive lawns are still there. Some neighborhoods in Manchester have gone down a bit and some have improved. The town has seen some new lower income residents come in from cities like Hartford so there are some issues relating to that now in town and the schools. Schools now perform well under the state averages on the Connecticut Mastery and Connecticut Academic Performance Tests. The high school has had some issues recently with problem students but the town has been pretty quick to try and resolve them.

All this said, Manchester is a nice enough town that has seen a lot of changes since 1963. Still it is better than a lot of old mill towns overall and looks to have a bright future as well. Jay
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:01 AM
 
37 posts, read 68,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post

All this said, Manchester is a nice enough town that has seen a lot of changes since 1963. Still it is better than a lot of old mill towns overall and looks to have a bright future as well. Jay
Jay,

Thank you very much for a comprehensive summary. I don't get down that way much these days but hope I'll have a chance to poke around the area for a few hours sometime.

Friar1610
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Live in NY State, work in CT
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Haven't heard from JViello in awhile, I bet he'd have a lot to say about this topic.....
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
24,576 posts, read 40,130,038 times
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Originally Posted by 7 Wishes View Post
Haven't heard from JViello in awhile, I bet he'd have a lot to say about this topic.....
Yeah, he seems to have left our board some time ago. Not sure why but I agree he would have been able to offer a more more. There was a new poster that I thought may be him but they said no they were not. Still I can't believe he does not visit here to see what is going on. Maybe he will one day surprise us and return. Jay
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:52 PM
 
37 posts, read 68,908 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCT View Post
And the old Chenny mansions with their massive lawns are still there.
One thing I neglected to mention earlier is that I actually lived in a Cheney mansion. It had been converted to apartments (I suspect that these days it's become condos.) It was on Otis St. The yard was huge and we (me and the other kids in the neighborhood) had plenty of room to play baseball there. (There was one crabby lady in the apartment that didn't like kids playing ball but we found ways to subvert her.) The Cheney mills were very close by. One of the earliest mills to be "repurposed" was turned into a King's Department Store when I was probably in junior high. I've lived a lot of places where old factories, warehouse, etc. have been turned into trendy offices, condos, etc. so I can imagine those old mills may have be turned into some neat things.

Friar1610
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:02 PM
 
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friar I lived on Forest ST in the condos across from the mansions till like 3 years ago. mansions are all still nice and mostly single family. Mills are decent, but some are low income now.

we sold 3 years ago because of increasing numbers of section 8 tenants in our condo complex and well it was just time. Main street has some great potential but the town rather encourage development in Buckland or dump money into the parkade. id say its trending more like E Hartford than Middletown as to say not trending the right way.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:56 PM
 
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I grew up in Manchester in the 70s/80s and lived there until 2001. There still are many good restaurants, its a shopping meca near the South Windsor and Vernon borders, and the highway connectors of 384 and 291 make getting around the state and beyond easy. Just ate a wonderful Shady Glen cheeseburger there yesterday surrounded by the same decor from my youth. Some very nice new neighborhoods were developed the last decade or so off of Keeney Street. But overall, I moved out of town due to its general decline and change in its makeup. The schools are below average and it's much more a working class town than when I grew up.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:23 PM
 
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traffick and shopping
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Old 01-25-2013, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Lexington Park, MD
27 posts, read 34,526 times
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I agree with what Jay replied, along with some other posters, each town has it's good and bad aspects.

I recently moved to CT from MD. We are a lesbian couple, and West Hartford (WeHa) was suggested for us when we relocated, as well as Manchester, and a few other towns. I really LOVE Manny-chester (Manchester . We live in an apartment complex called Vintage at the Grove, we feel we are nestled enough back from the road-I think it's Buckland Parkway and I really don't know the names of any other off the top of my head-I'd get lost in a phone booth.

We love the apartment complex we live in, it's a little pricey in some terms, but I love the convenience of a lot of things it gives. Additionally, I moved from an area where I lived 1.5 hours from the nearest main highway/beltway and about the same distance from an airport, and 45 minutes from the nearest "mall". I love how things are so convenient and close here. I have not experienced any really bad or near-death experiences (that is if you don't count driving-LOL-not sure if I am the problem or if everyone else is!)LOL!

I hope this helps some!
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