grow400
economy more prosperous

 
 
 
 
 
 

what we could become if we grew our population and economy: one of the nation's most prosperous regions

grow400: economy more prosperous 
We’ve long been a home for innovators, entrepreneurs, and inventors. Our centuries-old knack for invention has seeded a next-generation innovation economy that is growing fast. Our colleges are expanding, and we’ve upped our game on the talented workforce, job training, and “new economy” work settings. We know we have strengths in financial services, insurance, health care, and advanced manufacturing. We must harness these strengths for the good of all, ensuring that we create an inclusive regional economy with a cohesive identity. We must also acknowledge and support the role of small businesses and entrepreneurs in the work of building a strong economy for people of all interests and skillsets. We must grow our population and economy to thrive.
 

Areas of Focus: Growth/Population, Innovation/Business, Knowledge/Workforce

Recommendations & Actions

Growth & Population

Hartford is not too small but too dispersed. The wide dispersion of mills along the river tributaries created population and work centers all across the valley. We need to promote higher density concentrations in order to create livable, walkable, sustainable centers, add population, create jobs, attract and retain talent. The region has very low density, especially compared to New York and Boston.

The region has not yet fully leveraged the value of its mid-point location between the megaregions’ two major metropolitan centers. The high cost of living and housing in Boston and New York positions Hartford as an attractive mid-size city with urban assets at an affordable price with room to grow. The Valley’s inland position will also be a growing asset as coastal cities contend with rising sea levels and shoreline loss.

Invest in quality-of-place amenities throughout our region in order to retain and attract talent. Examples of this could be trails, parks and plazas, mobility assets, community spaces, quality schools, and other assets that contribute to a sense of community. The Valley can better support its assets through funding at a regional scale, as nearly every other state funds through county governments. These funding structures enhance collective ownership and equitably tie regional use of assets to their funding.

Increase actual and perceived connectivity of downtowns and town centers by having both housing and workplaces co-located in order to reduce travel demand. Continue preparing sites for development, through brownfields remediation and infrastructure projects; grow our urban centers to dramatically increase our urban population and density in walkable, vibrant centers near transit.

Develop Hartford and East Hartford as twin cities which grow together across the Connecticut River. As these centers grow, create more connectivity across the river that bypasses the Interstate system, ideally by way of two or three local street bridges. This greater cohesion will capitalize on the attractiveness of waterfront living, and share economic benefits between municipalities, that would then amplify across the region.

Promote the region as an affordable alternative with big city amenities without big city costs, as a place to stay and pursue a career, raise a family, and call home.

To support the region’s countless small businesses, a “Buy Local. Play Local.” campaign that encourages residents to visit businesses and attractions that contribute to the local economy will create more economic opportunities at home. With that, we should expand internal tourism and promote resident habits of visiting sites and centers around the valley to spur economy activity.

PROJECT
PROJECTArrowhead Gateway Redevelopment
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Redeveloping this vacant and blighting district will connect North End neighborhoods to downtown, create a gateway area, and add housing and commercial activity.
PROJECT
PROJECTDowntown Fire Station
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Redeveloping historic properties is a great way to provide attractive housing options, and repurposing a fire station for commercial uses invites creativity.
PROJECT
PROJECT55 Elm Street
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Redeveloping this large downtown property for residential uses will help bolster future Bushnell South developments, and give people park-adjacent living.
PROJECT
PROJECTCollinsville Axe Factory
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Resurrecting this mill complex will greatly benefit Collinsville, already a destination for antiques and recreation. This facility helped make the village what it is today.
PROJECT
PROJECTBushnell South
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Redeveloping parking craters near anchors like Bushnell Park and the Bushnell takes advantage of enormous opportunity for housing, retail and cultural offerings.
PROJECT
PROJECTAirport Expansion & Redevelopment
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Growing this economic lifeline to the region will bring increased economic connections to other regions, including tourism, business travel and freight operations.
PROJECT
PROJECTNorth Crossing (Downtown North)
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This project fills in parking craters, capitalizes on development around Dunkin' Donuts Park, and reconnects downtown and the North End. The city improves with work like this.
PROJECT
PROJECTMontgomery Mill
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The redevelopment of this mill began the work of making Windsor Locks a transit-oriented downtown, with a new train station in development right next door.
PROGRAM
PROGRAMAllHart
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AllHart helps new residents to the region get a sense for what the Hartford region has to offer, and works with other partners to host networking events.
PARTNER
PARTNERCT Main Street Center
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The Main Street Center empowers communities to provide vibrant centers that attract residents and businesses, through technical assistances, grants, and education.
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Business & Innovation

Draw on Hartford’s long history as a center for business innovation in insurance, manufacturing, aerospace, and medical technology. Support and create programs designed to encourage businesses of all sizes.

Create a wide range of jobs, including middle-income employment that facilitates upward mobility.

Continue the Valley and Capital City’s recent resurgence as a center for innovation by encouraging imagination, ingenuity, and invention; build support entities for the entrepreneurial business cycle with safety nets for failure and restarts; and encourage venture capital activity around new and small business startups.

This could be accomplished through investing in high-speed internet, bolstering the airport with direct routes to national and international destinations, a new northeast rail corridor with higher or high-speed rail from New York to Boston. All of this is to encourage investment from sources outside the region.

Open up opportunities for insurance trusts, and leverage corporate investments to the mutual benefit of the regional and the company. Create a campaign to encourage companies and corporations, even those with a national or international footprint, to invest locally.

PROJECT
PROJECTHartford Citywide WiFi
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The pandemic demonstrated the need to close the internet-access gap for Hartford residents. The City and foundations are working to create a citywide access network.
PROJECT
PROJECTChrist Church Cathedral
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This project demonstrates the value that sacred spaces can add to community life, as the Cathedral redesigned their sanctuary to be an event venue as well.
PROJECT
PROJECTGravel Pit Solar Project
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The future development potential of a closed gravel pit seemed limited, until the proposal of using it for a solar array brought opportunity, and increased energy independence.
PROJECT
PROJECTAirport Expansion & Redevelopment
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Growing this economic lifeline to the region will bring increased economic connections to other regions, including tourism, business travel and freight operations.
PROJECT
PROJECTPratt Street Redevelopment
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Hartford's premier outdoor district continues to undergoes its evolution. New shops are opening, and more events are planned to maximize the outdoor patio.
PROJECT
PROJECTGoodwin University Development
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Along with creating new programs to train residents for manufacturing and healthcare careers, Goodwin is also creating new amenities in East Hartford.
PROJECT
PROJECTGastroPark
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Innovative spaces like this food truck food court build better community bonds, spurring entrepreneurship and other creative ventures.
PROJECT
PROJECTParkville Market
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This cultural amenity cultivates small businesses and food entrepreneurs, while also anchoring the Parkville neighborhood. It's transit accessible to boot!
PROJECT
PROJECTParkville Arts & Innovation District
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Parkville still has several undeveloped mill buildings and parking lots, while being transit adjacent. A lot of interest is coming together to create to capitalize on this district.
PROJECT
PROJECTSwift Factory
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Redeveloping this former factory in Hartford's North End has brought a business incubator, space rental for small businesses, a library branch, and a bank location.
PARTNER
PARTNERMetroHartford Alliance
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Knowledge & Workforce

The Rift Valley is lined with a string of major educational institutions, from New Haven to Northampton. The Knowledge Corridor branding should be elevated to highlight the region’s pipeline of advanced research, innovation, and high-quality talent. We must attract and retain talent from the Corridor.

As the economy changes, the region’s educational institutions must be strategic and nimble enough to educate the future workforce for jobs the economy will need, based upon the region’s strengths and workforce prospects.

Expand choices for co-working spaces, training centers, and accelerators. This will make the region attractive to startup companies looking for an affordable option with direct access to the numerous well-connected companies already in the region.

PROJECT
PROJECTNew Park Corridor
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This corridor parallels Fastrak, converting a lot of undeveloped lots into new apartment buildings, many with mixed-use spaces. This supports the Home Design District as well.
PROJECT
PROJECTGoodwin University Development
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Goodwin offers many training programs for manufacturing and healthcare careers. They also partner with local employers to help with job placement.
PROJECT
PROJECTPark Street Library @ The Lyric
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Libraries offer great programs for the community, including education and job training programs. This redeveloped and enlarged library also anchors Park Street.
PROJECT
PROJECTSwift Factory
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Redeveloping this former factory in Hartford's North End has brought a business incubator, space rental for small businesses, a library branch, and a bank location.
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Resources:

Innovation & Business: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CRCOG 2019), Final Report of the Connecticut Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth (2018)

Knowledge & Workforce: Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CRCOG 2019), Metro Hartford TOD – Connecting People, Places, and Jobs (HFPG 2019), Knowledge Corridor, Knowledge Corridor Rail Workshop (RPA 2016)

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