Businesses save UConn championship parade

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April 14, 2011, 10:14 pm

(NECN: Brian Burnell, Hartford, Conn.) - In Connecticut winning on the basketball court has become almost commonplace. It started with the UConn women's team in 1995. The women have tacked on 6 more titles since then. On the men's side there was 1999, 2004 when both teams won national championships, and this year. Each title was followed by a parade and rally in Hartford but this year the prospects for a celebration were dimming.

 Michael Zaleski is the executive director of the Hartford Business Improvement District and he is part of the team that makes the parade happen.  "We've always had good support over the years. This year it was just one of those things where we needed to put out a plea to get things done. We got to a point in midweek where we didn't have the support that we needed to make the parade happen so we had to put out the call and while we weren't pleased to have to say the parade was in jeopardy we knew that we couldn't move forward without the business support."

As of yesterday organizers were only half way to their fund raising goal, needing an additional 25-thousand dollars to make the parade happen. Zaleski says businesses statewide answered the call.  

"We've had businesses large and small from large corporations to small heating and air conditioning businesses that called and said, 'Hey Mike we want to support the parade. We need to make sure that this happens on Sunday."

The parade will wind its way through the streets of Hartford going through the soldiers and sailors memorial arch in Bushnell Park and end up on the grounds of the state capital.  Governor Dannel Malloy says he's glad that this all came together.  

"I think it's a nice opportunity for us to celebrate the victory of this team and I'm looking forward to it."
It all steps off at 3pm on Sunday. 

Tags: Basketball, hartford, uconn, Brian Burnell
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