Population Density in Three CT Cities Reaches Top 100 in USA, Data Shows

Bridgeport’s population density, 9,138 people per square mile, is among the top 60 nationally, according to data compiled by Governing magazine for jurisdictions with populations of at least 50,000.  Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, had a population of just over 145,000 living in 16 square miles, the data indicated, ranking at number 58.  It is one of three Connecticut cities in the top 100. The “dense” top ten:  Union City, New Jersey; West New York, New Jersey; Hoboken, New Jersey; New York, New York; Passaic, New Jersey; Somerville, Mass.; Huntington Park, CA.; San Francisco; Jersey City; Paterson, New Jersey and Cambridge, MA.   Boston ranks at #19; Providence is #54. 

Lower on the list of America’s most dense population centers is Hartford, 17 square miles and a population of 123,000, with a population density of 7,091 people per square mile; New Haven, just three notches below Hartford at 6,956, in a city of 130,000 covering 19 square miles.  Both were in the 100 most dense cities; Hartford at #97, New Haven at #100.

They are followed later by New Britain with a land area of 13 square miles at 5,419; West Haven, at 5,071 population density over 11 square miles, and Norwalk, with a population density of 3,869 in an area covering 23 square miles.  Waterbury, at 29 square miles, has a population density of 3,796; Stamford’s population density is 3,430 in a city of 38 square miles.

The data is based on the U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, estimates current through July 1, 2016.  Governing notes that “jurisdictions with the highest population densities tend to be concentrated in northern regions, particularly the New York metropolitan area.”

According to the 2010 Census, Connecticut overall ranked sixth in the nation in population density, with a population of 3,574,097 and 738 people per square mile.  The state’s population has dropped since that Census, and is now estimated at 3,568,174.  The nation’s densest populations, as of 2010, were in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

State’s First Law Incubators Set to Launch in Hartford, Bridgeport

Connecticut’s first law incubators are due to open early this year at the Center for Family Justice, a Bridgeport-based nonprofit, and at UConn School of Law,  being established to provide affordable legal services to people who need them and help lawyers establish solo practices. The Connecticut Community Law Center, an initiative of the law school and the Hartford County Bar Association, aims to help people who have traditionally been underserved by the justice system: low- and moderate-income clients who don’t qualify for legal aid but can’t afford standard legal fees, the UConn School of Law announced this month.

“Too many people face legal problems concerning essential human needs without proper representation because they fall into the growing access-to-justice gap, between the very poor who qualify for legal aid and those with the financial means to pay a private lawyer,” said attorney Mark Schreier, who was appointed director of the Connecticut Community Law Center. “Standing alone and without professional guidance, those individuals enter our justice system at a tremendous disadvantage.”

The incubator is set to open in February in William F. Starr Hall on the UConn Law campus in Hartford. In addition to the services of the director, the law school will provide office space and support – including training, guidance, and legal research resources – for up to six solo practitioners. The Hartford County Bar Association and the law school faculty will provide mentors, and Greater Hartford Legal Aid will help with training and referrals.

The subsidized working environment will allow participating lawyers to provide legal services at a modest cost that is lower than standard legal fees, with each lawyer setting the fee on a case by case basis. Schreier said he expects cases to involve a wide range of legal problems, including family, consumer, probate, housing, bankruptcy, employment, immigration, and other general civil matters.

In Bridgeport, the Center for Family Justice, a Bridgeport-based nonprofit that provides services to trauma survivors affected by domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse, will house the incubator.

The Center is working with Connecticut law schools to help build the center’s legal apparatus, Fairfield County Business Journal reported, with several professors from Quinnipiac University on the steering committee to help develop the parameters of the program.  Four attorneys are being sought.

Lawyers in the incubator program at the Center will provide the legal advices services and representation needed by victims of domestic violence, including restraining orders, divorce proceedings, child custody and support, housing and immigration issues.  An Open House was held in September to interest local attorneys in participating.

“A legal incubator is like a business incubator,” Jennifer Ferrante, who joined the Center for Family Justice staff as the coordinator for the new service, told the Journal.  At the center’s office at 753 Fairfield Ave., “We are going to be housing four attorneys here on site,” she said. Two of the first attorneys who applied and were accepted in the program are recent law school graduates.

The American Bar Association counts more than 60 lawyer incubators around the country, three-fourths of them established since 2014. The Connecticut Community Law Center and the Justice Legal Center at the Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, will be the first in Connecticut.

Participating lawyers will spend 18 to 24 months at the Connecticut Community Law Center before moving on with their practices. The training and experience they receive will not only help them jump-start their practices, it will spread seeds of innovation in the delivery of legal services at an affordable cost, UConn Law Dean Timothy Fisher said.

Clients who qualify for services at the Hartford incubator will be those whose incomes exceed the limits for legal aid but fall within three times the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this would mean a maximum household income of $72,900. Clients wishing to apply for services may do so beginning in February, when information will be available at the center’s website: cclc.law.uconn.edu.

“I think it will give the low- and moderate-income community a real chance in getting their legal needs met and ending their cycles in abuse and poverty,” Ferrante said of the new Bridgeport center.

Planning for the legal incubator has been ongoing since 2009. Although the Center for Family Justice is focused on serving six Fairfield County municipalities – Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, Stratford and Trumbull – it also welcomes those seeking help from elsewhere in the state, officials said.

$80,000 in Grants Boost Preservation Initiatives in 7 CT Communities

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), the downtown revitalization and economic development non-profit, has selected seven organizations and municipalities to receive a share of $80,400 in 2016 Preservation of Place grants. The grants will be used to provide communities in Bridgeport, Canton, Haddam, Fairfield, New Britain, New Haven (Westville Village) and Simsbury with targeted resources to increase their capacity to plan for preservation and revitalization initiatives in their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. place

This year's awards are notable because two applicants, Canton and New Britain, sought the grant funds to pursue the creation of tax increment financing (TIF) districts, made possible through the passage of legislation in 2015 that was proposed by a coalition led by CMSC. TIF is a financing mechanism in which an investment in a specified area is repaid over time using the increased tax revenue generated by the investment.

"The projects funded through this year's Preservation of Place round have the potential to be transformative for these communities," said John Simone, CMSC's President & CEO.  "Canton and New Britain may very well become the models for creating successful TIF districts, while Haddam's award can help set the foundation for a unified, mixed-use commercial area that marries their historic charm with a modern, connected design. Certainly, all of the communities represented are as diverse in location as in their unique character, but each has something wonderful to offer, which will only be enhanced through the use of these grant funds."

The Preservation of Place grant program provides a source of funding for new initiatives that can be integrated into, and leverage, comprehensive Main Street preservation and revitalization programs.  The funds are meant to be flexible to meet individual community need.

The 2016 recipients of Preservation of Place grant funds are:BPT creates

  • Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District - Awarded $10,400 for Bridgeport CREATES, Phase II, to assist in the pre-development activities associated with the creation of a Maker Space/ Innovation Center.
  • Town of Canton - Awarded $10,000 for a Tax Increment Financing Master Plan for Collinsville Center & the Collins Company Complex to develop a viable TIF agreement, master plan and district to help develop the historic complex.
  • Town of Haddam - Awarded $10,000 for a Market Analysis & Village District Zoning Regulations for Tylerville in order to assess viable businesses and draft zoning regulations that will allow for and promote such businesses, as well as mixed-use development, in this historic area.
  • Town of Fairfield - Awarded $10,000 for a Signage & Wayfinding Program for Downtown & Neighboring Commercial Districts to help visitors and residents navigate their way around downtown Fairfield's many prominent cultural, tourist and academic attractions.
  • New Britain Downtown District - Awarded $10,000 to work in conjunction with the City on the Creation of a Tax Increment Financing District for transit oriented development around the CTfastrak terminus.
  • Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (New Haven) - Awarded $20,000 for the Westville Village Comprehensive Plan: The Visioning Phase, a comprehensive plan to guide a sustainable and place-based approach to long-term economic and physical development.
  • Simsbury Main Street Partnership - Awarded $10,000 for a Comprehensive Parking Study of Downtown to develop specific parking recommendations, including short- and long-term solutions.

Since 2008, the Preservation of Place grant program has leveraged over $1 million of investment in local Main Street initiatives. Connecticut Main Street Center and the Preservation of Place grant program receive support from the State Historic Preservation Office, with funds from the State of Connecticut through the Community Investment Act.

Three Connecticut Cities Among Nation’s Top 300 Fastest Growing Economies

Bridgeport is not only Connecticut’s largest city by population, it is the city which has expanded – in socioeconomic terms – more than any other in the state between 2008 and 2014, according to an analysis released by WalletHub. Bridgeport ranked at number 230 nationally, one of three Connecticut communities – all in Fairfield County – that reached the top 300 across the country.  The others are Stamford, ranked at number 265, and Norwalk, at number 293.Bridgeport_CT

In 2014, the U.S. recorded its lowest population gain since the Great Depression. Growth stood at .73 percent, largely in contrast with the 5 percent of the 1990s, a period of prosperity, WalletHub pointed out.  Demographer William H. Frey of the Brookings Institution attributed the decline to the economic downturn. Not only did the crisis deter job-seeking migrants from flocking to the U.S., but it also discouraged couples from having children, he noted. Meanwhile, population numbers shifted across states, creating short- and long-term effects on local economies, WalletHub indicated.

In order to identify the cities that have expanded most rapidly in socioeconomic terms between 2008 and 2014, WalletHub compared 515 U.S. cities of varying sizes across 10 key metrics, ranging from population growth to unemployment rate decrease.

The other Connecticut cities that ranked on the overall list of cities were New Britain (344), Danbury (355), Hartford (374), New Haven (425), and Waterbury (504).

Eleven of the twelve top-ranked cities – regardless of size - were all in Texas, led by Odessa, Frisco, Midland, Mission College Station, and Killeen.  When the list was broken down by city population, Connecticut did not have a top-100 city in economic growth.wh-best-badges-150x1503

On the list of small cities, Norwalk ranked at 109, New Britain at number 129 and Danbury at number 132.  Among mid-size cities, Bridgeport was ranked at number 110, Stamford ranked at number 123, Hartford was at number 187 and New Haven and Waterbury were at 212 and 239 respectively.  Midsize cities are those with between 100,000 and 300,000 people; small cities have fewer than 100,000 people.

Large cities with the most growth were Austin, Miami, Fort Worth, Denver and Corpus Christi.  At the bottom of the large city list were Mesa, St. Louis, Tucson, Cleveland and Detroit.  Leading the list of mid-size cities were five Texas communities; on the list of small cities Texas had four of the five top-ranked communities exhibiting the most growth.

The factors considered included socio-demographic landscape (population growth, working-age population growth, and poverty rate decrease), and jobs and economic environment (median household income growth, unemployment rate decrease, job growth, ratio of full-time to part-time jobs, and growth of regional GNP per capita).

mapJoan Fitzgerald, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University, told WalletHub: “It is not an accident that many of the fastest growing cities have thriving high tech and biotech sectors along with financial services and usually a strong health care sector.  But another priority has to be balance.  In many cities, manufacturing loses out over other uses.”

Added Boston University Professor of Economics Kevin Lang: “it is not so much that population growth encourages employment as that employment opportunities encourage population growth.  Of course, this, in turn, creates further employment opportunities.”

Last month, the  Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford metro area ranked second nationally among the top ten best places for female entrepreneurs, in an analysis by  Nerdwallet, a personal finance information service geared toward helping consumers make informed financial decisions.  That ranking analyzed the U.S. Census Bureau’s survey of business owners and data from the Small Business Administration to come up with the national rankings. The top ranked city for female entrepreneurs was Boulder.  Joining Norwalk-Stamford-Bridgeport in the top five were Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Santa Cruz -Watsonville, and Santa Rosa.  Researchers found that seven of the top 10 metro areas for female business owners -- based on business climate, local economic health and financing opportunities -- are in California or Colorado.

The data sources used in the WalletHub analysis included the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis.



Norwalk Joins Stamford, Bridgeport in Rebranding Efforts to Attract Business

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and Economic Development Director Elizabeth Stocker have selected South Norwalk-based branding and design firm, Zunda Group, to develop a strategic marketing plan that will include a brand implementation program.. With this week's announcement, Norwalk becomes the third major municipality in Fairfield County to turn to a rebranding initiative to boost business prospects and spark interest among potential developers. Bridgeport and Stamford have similar efforts either underway or in the planning stages.rebranding

Mayor Rilling said that “Norwalk recognizes the power of presenting the city with a strong brand image” and is moving forward as part of his recently released economic development action plan, which aims to capitalize on the city’s assets, attract and sustain new business, develop its workforce, and to continually improve its quality of life.

Rilling stated that “essential to the plan’s success is the city’s ability to communicate and build local pride around an ownable brand position that brings to life Norwalk’s unique personality and benefits.   Norwalk has an eye on the future and the new brand will elevate its position as a destination to live, work and play.”  The new branding and marketing communication is targeted to launch in early 2016.

Norwalk doesn’t need to look far to see other municipal branding efforts underway. map

Thomas Madden, Stamford’s economic development director, told the Fairfield County Business Journal this summer that the city Office of Economic Development is working on a multiphase plan to make Stamford more attractive to businesses in a nationally competitive market. Initiatives include conducting research on Stamford’s economic landscape, outreach, rebranding and improving digital resources, the business paper reported.

“It puts us on par with a lot of the economic development corporations to make sure we have the right information out there to make businesses look at Stamford,” Madden said, noting that it is the first time this type of project has been undertaken in Stamford. Planning began about a year ago, and the nonprofit Stamford Partnership, a civic organization, is leading the effort with Stamford-based brand development company Daymon Worldwide handling the marketing.

Daymon is to conduct surveys and focus groups in Stamford and in the tristate area exploring people’s views on Stamford. The data will guide which industries Stamford should focus on and provide guidance to the city’s Office of Economic Development regarding information about income level, incentives, taxes and transportation that can be highlighted in brochures to distribute to businesses considering Stamford as a location. It is anticipated that Stamford will begin using a new logo and launch a marketing campaign as part of the initiative.mq1

In Bridgeport, the administration of incumbent Mayor Bill Finch is already working with a pair of companies -- Mandate Media of Oregon and Gum Spirits of Maine – on an advertising campaign launched late last year, “Better Every Day.”  Mandate has created an economic development website, www.bridgeportbettereveryday.com, along with a digital and web-based marketing strategy for the city.  Ads have been seen not only locally but in statewide media, such as the website CT Capitol Report.  Gum Spirits was to develop radio and television spots focused on local success stories and revitalization efforts, according to plans for the initiative, and a series of videos are currently posted on the website.

According to the website, which touts the Park City as a “great place” to live, “Bridgeport is a city on the way up. We've got a lot of work to do, but we're investing in the future, making our city a place where our kids and grandkids will choose to live, work and raise their families. We're improving the city by building schools, re-opening parks, making downtown more vibrant, and developing the waterfront.”  The website is separate and distinct from the official Bridgeport government website, which features a range of city services traditionally highlighted on municipal sites.

In Norwalk, Zunda Group is owned and managed by longtime Norwalk business leaders Charles Zunda and Gary Seve Esposito. In announcing the selection, the city stressed that the firm “has enjoyed a 35 year history of building and positioning strong, relevant brands.”  Zunda Group has proven success with Connecticut based brands like Newman’s Own, start-up brands like Chobani, and global brands such as Dove, city officials pointed out.  The local Norwalk community is invited to share their feedback about Norwalk by completing a voluntary public survey that is available from September 8 through September 22 at www.norwalkct.org/survey



Income Inequality Around Bridgeport Has Grown, Among Nation’s Largest Gaps, Research Shows

Commuting zones surrounding Bridgeport are among the commuting regions in the United States where neighborhood income inequality has grown notably most severe over the past 20 years, according to a new analysis developed by the Urban Institute and published in Governing magazine. From 1990 to 2010, inequality in the United States increased in many ways, the report explains, highlighting that the income, wealth, and educational attainment of residents in the most privileged neighborhoods in the U.S. escalated rapidly over these two decades. Meanwhile, “residents of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods gained little; many of these neighborhoods grew poorer,” the report indicated.

WOrlds ApartAs a result, the study found that inequality between “top and bottom income” neighborhoods intensified in the great majority of commuting zones. Even where inequality dropped, the story was not always positive: it often occurred because top-neighborhood incomes fell in the wake of economic stagnation.

The research report, “World Apart:  Inequality between America’s Most and Least Affluent Neighborhoods,” found that “the national trend toward rising incomes among top-earning households” was reflected in the nation’s top tracts show growth from $123,000 to $138,300, over 12 percent” during the period 1990-2010.  Some top neighborhoods, including those surrounding Bridgeport, “had increases of over $30,000 at the top.”

Annual income in bottom tracts, meanwhile, grew from $36,800 to $37,150 – less than 1 percent over the twenty year period.  The average income of bottom tracts declined in 209 of the 570 commuting zones studied, the report indicated.  The most severe losses at the bottom among large commuting zones, the report found, occurred in Bridgeport, Newark and Dallas. Bridgeport is one of the ten cities with the largest “neighborhood inequality index.”

The report flatly stated that “Bridgeport, which includes the entirety of Connecticut, already was one of the most unequal commuting zones in 1990.  Its top and bottom neighborhoods pulled further apart in income between 1990 and 2010; practically all its top neighborhoods are still in the suburbs and practically all its bottom neighborhoods are in central cities.”bgpt NH

The only cities with commuting zones of over 250,000 people with a higher “neighborhood inequality index” than Bridgeport, as of 2010, are Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Columbus, Houston, Nashville, Richmond, and St. Louis.

As a result of changes at the top and bottom, the report noted, income inequality between top and bottom tracts grew from 1990 to 2010 in 433 of the 570 commuting zones. In 237 CZs, income inequality grew because of rapid increases at the top coupled with modest increases at the bottom.

To understand the differences between neighborhoods that share the same housing and labor markets, the Urban Institute analysis used commuting zones (CZs), county-based regions defined in the 1990s. Unlike metropolitan areas, commuting zones cover the entirety of the United States, and their definitions are constant over time.

The study ranked every CZ’s tracts from lowest to highest neighborhood advantage score. Then they identified the top 10 percent and the bottom 10 percent of tracts—the most advantaged and least advantaged neighborhoods in each CZ—for further exploration. There are described as top and bottom tracts. The study analyzed the 570 CZs that had at least 10 census tracts in 2010.

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. The organization’s website explains that “For nearly five decades, urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector.”

Hartford, Bridgeport Turn to Splashy Websites, Slogans to Promote Cities

Connecticut’s major cities have dual personalities on the internet – one aimed primarily at city residents, the other at potential visitors and prospective residents.  While one site is chock full of detailed information that is the lifeline for locals – with listings of city agencies, services, and department contacts – the other is dominated by splashy photographs, engaging messages, and enticing activities. Such is the mhartfordarketing of urban cores in the age of the internet, mobile technology and social media – with an eye towards economic development and young professionals seeking an urban address.

In Hartford, the government site is www.hartford.gov and the event-laden site is www.hartford.com   The marketing site currently features a photo of the National Champion UConn Huskies basketball team, which fills the entire home page, save for links to Upcoming Events and Restaurants & Bars.  The menu includes Things to Do, Places to Go, and Everything Else (such as a category named Awesome Things).  The theme Hartford Has It, the city’s tagline, appears on both sites.

The www.hartford.gov site is led by an announcement of road closures in the city due to construction, and features links to government agencies, business services and visitors information, and police.  Hartford history highlights and facts about the city are included, along with a heading called “residents,” which includes a directory of city services, public health, public safety, family services and a link to “Pay Your Taxes.”hartford.gov

In Bridgeport, the city services site is  www.bridgeportct.gov but most of the advertising, including a full-page ad in the latest issue of the Fairfield County Business Journal, is for www.bridgeportbettereveryday.com   The site, which features the headline “Park City” above “bridgeport, ct” highlights livability, green Bridgeport, schools, parks and jobs & economy.  The theme of the site, “Bridgeport is getting better every day,” is reflected in the site’s URL, and the text featured on the home page:

“Bridgeport is a city on the way up. We've got a lot of work to do, but we're investing in the future, making our city a place where our kids and grandkids will choose to live, work and raise their families. We're improving the city by building schools, re-opening parks, making downtown more vibrant, and developing the waterfront. And by investing in cleaner energy, we're creabridgeport govbridgeportbetterting better jobs and our kids will breathe cleaner air. Bridgeport is getting better every day.”

Individual can sign up for emails from the city in order to “Be the first to know about the ways Bridgeport is getting better every day.”  Material on the site is copyrighted by the City of Bridgeport.

The site points out that:bridgeport ad

  • Bridgeport is becoming one of America’s greenest cities.
  • We’ve got a long way to go, but schools in Bridgeport are getting better every day.
  • Bridgeport’s been known as “Park City” for well over a century. And for good reason.
  • Bridgeport is a great place to live for families, young professionals, seniors, and everyone in between.

In New Haven, the city government website, www.cityofnewhaven.com, includes a home page message from Mayor Toni Harp, and an array of links to various city services.  Although not produced by the city, the websites www.infonewhaven.com and www.visitnewhaven.com offer information, events, and entertainment information about the city.

new haven



Three CT Metro Regions Reach Top 50 in USA for Well-Being of Residents

The well-being of residents in three of Connecticut’s metropolitan areas are among the nation’s top 50, ranking at #36, #37 and #48 in a national survey of community well-being that evaluated the top 100 metro regions in the country. The 2014 Community Well-Being Rankings are the latest annual surveys by the polling company Gallup and the consulting firm Healthways. Reaching the top 50 from Connecticut were the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region (#36), West Hartford-Hartford-East Hartford (#37), and New Haven-Milford (#48), based on U.S. Census tract data. wbi_logo

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, surveyed residents to get a sense of their social, physical and financial health, as well as their sense of purpose and connections to their community -- all factors that contribute greatly to worker productivity, societal health costs and the economic competitiveness of a place, according to the polling firms as reported by Governing Magazine.

The 2014 rankings are based on 55-question surveys of about 176,000 people across all 50 states. The score for each community included metrics affecting overall well-being and five elements of well-being:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

mapThe Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region ranked #5 in physical health, #43 in financial health, #58 in community ties, #63 in sense of purpose and #88 in social health.

The Hartford - West Hartford – East Hartford region ranked #18 in financial health, #20 in physical health, #30 in social health, #61 in sense of purpose and #62 in community ties.

The New Haven-Milford region ranked #6 in physical health, #47 in sense of purpose, #48 in social ties, #50 in financial ties, and #91 in community ties.

The South, Southwest and West Coast dominated the top 30, with Boston the only Northeast city, reaching that high.  California, North Carolina, Texas all have two communities in the top 10.report cover

Leading the list was Florida’s North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton area, which performed especially well in financial and physical health. Honolulu, Raleigh, California’s Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura area and El Paso, Texas, rounded out the top five.

El Paso was the only community to take the top ranking in two categories: sense of purpose and physical health.  That was also the only category to see a Connecticut metropolitan area reach the top 10. Elsewhere in New England, Providence-Warwick ranked #70.

The survey found that residents of high well-being communities exercise more frequently -- an important aspect of physical well-being -- but they are also more likely to report that someone close to them encourages them to be healthy, a critical component of social well-being. They are much less likely to be obese, they have fewer significant chronic health conditions, and they feel safe where they live. Those who feel safe where they live are, in turn, more likely to have access to a safe place to exercise and access to fresh produce, which are important community characteristics that are linked to lower levels of obesity.

Each community, defined as a metropolitan statistical area under the U.S. Census Bureau, received a rank in each category according to the strength of the responses from their residents and an overall rank as well.

Residents of the top well-being locations in the U.S. are “more likely to be thriving across each of the five critical elements of well-being, thus capitalizing on the synergistic benefits of each element acting in concert with one another,” the survey analysis indicated. “This may reflect what is perhaps the most important factor separating the nation's high well-being communities from those with lower well-being: a holistic view of well-being.”

Eight Communities to Receive Funds to Support Downtown Improvement Initiatives

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), the downtown revitalization and economic development non-profit, is awarding eight organizations and municipalities a total of $80,000 in 2015 Preservation of Place grants.  The grants will be used to provide Bridgeport, Canton, Hartford, New Milford, Newtown, Putnam, Torrington, and Windsor Locks with targeted resources to increase their capacity to plan for preservation and revitalization initiatives in their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.preservation of place The Preservation of Place grant program provides a source of funding for new initiatives that can be integrated into, and leverage, comprehensive Main Street preservation and revitalization programs.  The funds are meant to be flexible to meet individual community need.

The 2015 recipients of Preservation of Place Grant funds are:

  • Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District for a feasibility study of the creation of a regional food hub and community supported agriculture in downtown BridgeportCT Main Street LOGO
  • Town of Canton for a comprehensive market study and brand strategy for Collinsville
  • Hartford Business Improvement District for the creation of a community vision plan for a six block area of the Asylum Hill neighborhood
  • Town of New Milford for a historic downtown New Milford branding & marketing program
  • Town of Newtown for the Sandy Hook Village Signage & Wayfinding Design Plan
  • Town of Putnam for Downtown Putnam design guidelines & standards
  • City of Torrington for a Downtown Torrington market study & branding/imaging program
  • Town of Windsor Locks for the historic train station reuse studytorrington

"Historic preservation and the revitalization of our Main Streets create jobs, bring vacant buildings back on the tax rolls and add value and vitality to adjacent buildings and neighborhoods," said John Simone, CMSC President & CEO.

"The diversity of locations, from the Northwest Corner of Connecticut to New London, matched with the diversity of projects, from creative placemaking in urban open spaces to organizational and leadership development that will improve the management function in downtown, will allow each community to respond to their greatest current need, actively creating their direction of growth," he added.

Since 2008, CMSC has awarded $446,130 through the Preservation of Place grant program to twenty four Connecticut communities, leveraging over $1 million in local Main Street initiatives.  The program receives support from the State Historic Preservation Office with funds from the Community Investment Act. A year ago, a total of $70,000 in grants were awarded to Bridgeport, Canton, Essex, New London, Norwalk, the Northwest corner, and Willimantic.

The mission of Connecticut Main Street Center is to be the champion and leading resource for vibrant and sustainable Main Streets as foundations for healthy communities. CMSC is dedicated to community and economic development within the context of historic preservation, and is committed to bringing Connecticut's commercial districts back to life, socially and economically.

Two CT Metro Regions Among Nation's Best for Young Workers

Two of Connecticut’s metropolitan regions have among the highest median earnings for full-time workers age 18 to 34, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.  The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area ranked #5, with Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford ranked #6, just ahead of New York-Newark-Jersey City.  Connecticut and California were the only states to have two regions among the top ten. The media incomapme in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metropolitan area was $42,757, and the Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford region was $42,322 for 18-34 year olds working full-time, according to the data, highlighted in an article posted to The Atlantic’s CityLab website.

Those median salaries in Connecticut compare to a media of $33,883 for the same age category nationwide.    The data indicates that 21.9 percent of the region’s population is age 18-34 in the Hartford metro area; 19.9 percent in the Stamford centered region.

Nationwide, the website points out “since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care.”  The Atlantic reported earlier this month that “overall U.S. wages are barely growing, and wages for young people are growing 60 percent more slowly than overall U.S. wages.”

“When you dig into the numbers,” the website continues, “the Hartford, Connecticut, metro area emerges, beaconlike, in the darkness: It has become one of the most lucrative job markets for young Americans.”ef5a6bf26

The report notes “a higher median income for young workers than in New York, Seattle, or Chicago. Millennial wages in many smaller metropolitan areas, including Austin, Minneapolis, and Denver, also lag behind Hartford's.”  The Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford region offers the combination of strong median income and a cost of living that isn’t rising at the rate of other metropolitan areas, which makes the regioncitylab “looking remarkably attractive.”

Also this month, the real estate website Zillow predicts “a big year for home buyers in 2015, with more millennials entering the market amid rising rents.”   Zillow’s annual housing predictions identified the five best housing markets for first-time homebuyers in the year ahead, and ranked Hartford at #2, just behind Pittsburgh and ahead of Chicago, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

Lookinzillowg ahead to 2015, Hartford was among the “markets most favorable to first-time buyers … with strong income growth among 23-34 year olds, significant growth in the number of entry-level homes on the market and home prices that won’t take a big chunk out of buyers’ paychecks.”