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By Nan Price, Content Manager, MetroHartford Alliance

Jalmar De Dios works in Communications and Economic Development at AVANGRID, Inc. He’s also a visionary and strategic leader who truly enjoys living and working in Hartford.

Why Hartford?

JALMAR DE DIOS: I moved to Connecticut in spring 2008. When I started spending time in Hartford, I recognized there’s a different mindset here. It’s a small city, but with a big city mindset in terms of the variety of things you can learn and see in the city. That’s why I chose to live here.

What makes Hartford unique?

JALMAR: Hartford is the one city in Connecticut that has everything: sports, culture, walkability. If I want to go out to a ball game, there’s the Hartford Yard Goats baseball or Hartford Athletics soccer. And I actually feel like I’m at a sporting event without having to go to Boston or New York. If you look around Connecticut, like no other city has that.

Hartford is the place to be for all the cultural things I enjoy—whether it’s the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, the Small State Big Beer Connecticut Craft Beer Festival, or Hartford Pride. You don’t have to leave the state for those cultural components.

I also love that you get the living experience of being able to go out and get to a park. For the diversity of things to do, I think Hartford has it above and beyond other cities in Connecticut. That’s what makes Hartford unique.

What impact do you hope to make here in the city?

JALMAR: When I used to work for previous administration, one of the things I thought we did well was incorporating all the city’s different neighborhoods into the mix. We have a lot of things going on in places like downtown area and in the West End near Elizabeth Park. I want to encourage people to utilize the entire city, visit places like Keeney Park or Goodwin Park and check out events like the local festivals. These are things that are for everybody.

That comradery between the different sectors of the city is going well, but I really do hope to get more involved and help it become more powerful, so everyone can see we’re a unified city.

NAN: How do you tell the story of Hartford?

JALMAR: I think the best way is to let people know Hartford is a city that’s open city to everything. Whatever experience you want to have you can have it here.

You get the best of everything in terms of arts, culture, sports, events—and affordability . If you look at some comparable cities, those that would have that much access, the cost of living is probably 30% to 40% more. So, you’re paying more to live in those cities, whereas in Hartford, it’s a lot less expensive and you get all of that.