Reports / Plans
On the heals of CTfastrak‘s launch in central Connecticut late last month, CRCOG has released Station Area Progress Reports for the twenty CTfastrak and CTrail/Hartford Line Station Areas. Produced at the request of the NHHS Rail/CTfastrak Corridor Advisory Committee and CTDOT, the Progress Reports provide:
- A brief description of each Station Area
- A snapshot of actual development completed or underway in the station areas, as well as other in-progress activities to prepare for and support transit-oriented development
- Next steps
Quarterly updates are planned to track progress on comprehensive planning, zoning, transportation and complete streets, infrastructure, brownfields, land assembly, economic analysis and development.
Click here to access a compendium of the Progress Reports.
Knowledge Corridor Talent and Workforce Study
CRCOG and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and as part of the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor project, developed this report to identify a strategy for dealing with some of the challenges facing the Knowledge Corridor: stagnant population growth, an aging population, and urban cores which are characterized by high poverty and unemployment. CRCOG and PVPC concluded that talent matters for economic development, and the Pioneer Valley’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) identified talent development and retention as a priority. The research for this report was done by the UMass Donahue Institute, which conducted stakeholder interviews and led five focus group meetings to identify regional priorities and promising programs and strategies.
Produced by the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc., this report identifies four main initiatives where the metro Hartford region must focus its economic development efforts: a Cluster Initiative that calls for fostering and growing industry clusters with a strong presence in the region; a Workforce Initiative focused on improving the workforce today while educating, training and recruiting the pipeline for tomorrow; an Infrastructure Initiative, designed to support infrastructure investments tied to business and job growth; and a Downtown Hartford Initiative, that rests on transforming downtown Hartford into a dynamic urban environment that is the epicenter of culture, entertainment and innovation. Specific goals and action steps are delineated for each initiative.
Commissioned by the Capitol Region Council of Governments and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission on behalf of the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor Consortium, this study was intended to help public and private parties capitalize on major federal and state infrastructure investment through identifying market-based TOD opportunities that exist around the planned NHHS and Vermonter Rail, and CTfastrak BRT systems. The study presents these opportunities within a corridor context, while incorporating national, regional and local analysis of demographic, economic and real estate market conditions. The Executive Summary outlines six key findings, specific state investment and anchor institution strategies and a TOD typology that describes the context for new development at each station area location. More information on this HUD-funded project can be found on the Sustainable Knowledge Corridor website.
CBIA, working in partnership with the Connecticut Community Colleges College of Technology’s Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing and UIL Holdings Corporation, surveyed the state’s manufacturers about their hiring expectations and workforce challenges. The findings highlight expected growth in the state’s manufacturing sector, a considerable number of projected full-time hires over the next few years, and the need for a pipeline of well-qualified workers to meet that demand. Statistics covering strategies for filling vacancies, specific jobs in demand, required core competencies and existing skills deficiencies, educational attainment levels and the importance of credentials are included in the 2014 report.
Metro Hartford Progress Points 2015
Developed by a group of key regional stakeholders, Metro Hartford Progress Points is a periodic ‘check-up’ to build greater understanding about issues facing the Greater Hartford community. The second edition of Progress Points takes a deeper look at key issues impacting our communities and how they are connected. The report asks how we can build on our strengths and fully utilize the assets that the region has to provide access to opportunity for all. Using key indicators to identify opportunities for action, the 2015 report focuses on the following regional priorities:
– Access to Better Schools
– Access to Better Jobs
– Access to Stronger Neighborhoods
The Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) has compiled a catalog of best practices publications, including case studies, plans, and research from various groups and agencies, which relate to TOD implementation and fostering employment opportunities in areas concentrated around transit systems. The documents in this library not only detail successes and challenges, but they also provide perspectives on the lessons learned for future planning.
CTOD has organized the library around three primary themes:
- An Introduction to Transit-Oriented Development
- Regional & Corridor Planning and Case Studies
- Employment & Economic Development
2015 Age-Friendly: Inspiring Communities Report
AARP International looked at efforts in the United States and worldwide to identify projects and programs that are worth sharing and, when possible, replicating. The 2015 Age-Friendly: Inspiring Communities Report presents a collection of age-friendly “good practices” and features 16 communities. The report is organized according to which of the World Health Organization’s “8 Domains of Age-Friendliness” (referred to in the U.S. as the “8 Domains of Livability”) the work most represents. However, since the efforts underway in each community touch upon needs in multiple domains, sub-domains are identified as well. Individually and together, the case studies show the inspiring work now underway to meet the needs of older adults. Creating great places for people of all ages enables older residents to participate in community life.
Click here to access the report and to review the Civic Participation and Employment section (Domain 6).
Downtown Revitalization Guide
(Re)Building Downtown: A Guidebook for Revitalization is a new guide from Smart Growth America for local elected officials who want to re-invigorate and strengthen neighborhood centers of economy, culture, and history through a smart growth approach to development. The guide lays out in straightforward language seven main steps to take, and it’s designed to be used by any community, no matter where you are in the revitalization process.
Click here to access the report.
CRCOG’s innovative booklet of Sustainable Land Use Model Regulations equips towns with model regulatory language covering ten specific topic areas, including Compact, Mixed-Use Development Patterns (with a focus on infill development and off-street parking, inclusionary workforce housing and mixed-use transit oriented development). The project, funded by a HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant, also included the creation of renderings to help communities visualize the physical impact of implementing the regulations. The visualizations were created for urban, suburban and rural communities at both a bird’s eye and street-level view. Click here to access: specific regulations by topic, the complete compendium of regulations, the accompanying visualizations and a video about the project.
The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) is the largest, most representative business organization in the state. Its members include businesses of all sizes from nearly all industries in Connecticut. They are the leading voice at the State Capitol and before regulatory agencies for policies that promote economic growth, a fiscally responsible state government, and a dynamic business climate. CBIA is dedicated to improving Connecticut’s economic competitiveness through the CT20x17 campaign, which is aimed at moving Connecticut into the top 20 states for business by 2017. Learn more at www.ct2017.org.
Get Into Energy CT is the website of the Connecticut Energy Workforce Development Consortium (CTEWDC), a public-private partnership of representatives from energy-related businesses, government, and academia. Get Into Energy CT is a resource for: energy companies developing and expanding their talent pool; students and jobseekers exploring energy careers, scholarships, and training; and teachers seeking to broaden students’ understanding of concepts and career pathways in energy and green technology. Their mission is to meet the evolving workforce needs of Connecticut’s traditional and alternative energy suppliers and energy-efficiency companies.
The Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CERC) is a nonprofit corporation and public-private partnership that provides economic development services consistent with state strategies, leveraging Connecticut’s unique advantages as a premier business location. CERC SiteFinder® is Connecticut’s local source for free commercial real estate and demographic data to help businesses analyze a potential investment. CERC also sponsors the Connecticut’s Business Response Center, an on-line portal that provides quick and easy access to the business information needed to start, expand or relocate a business in the great state of Connecticut. The site also includes information about licensing, additional resources to help grow your business, and a comprehensive database of business programs and services.
The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) is a not-for-profit membership organization committed to advancing the practice and process of economic development in Connecticut. The Association provides a forum and support for Connecticut’s economic development community by providing opportunities for educational and professional development; networking with members at meetings that focus on projects located in our communities; and a lunch and learn webinar series (CEDAS Academy). CEDAS also partnered with others to provide a free two-hour workshop covering the fundamentals of municipal economic development, awards professional development scholarships, and provides public policy updates. You can learn more about CEDAS by visiting their website at: www.CEDAS.org.
Capital Workforce Partners is the Workforce Investment Board covering the CRCOG region in north central Connecticut and is all about finding “Jobs for People and People for Jobs.” They promote and invest in youth and future workforce solutions. They identify and support the development of sustainable career paths for adult workers. And, they assist employers in targeted industries, helping them grow and remain competitive. Visit their website for additional information or click here to access their latest Annual Report.
New England’s Knowledge Corridor Partnership — formerly the Hartford-Springfield Economic Partnership — was founded in September 2000 with the support of the governors of Connecticut and Massachusetts. NEKC is an interstate collaborative of 28 regional economic development, planning, business, tourism and educational institutions with a shared interest in advancing the region’s economic progress. The area transcends political boundaries, comprising New Haven, Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties in Connecticut and Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin counties in Massachusetts. The region is linked by a shared industrial history, economy and workforce, as well as key features such as Bradley International Airport, rail lines, Interstate 91 and the Connecticut River. The NEKC Partnership markets the region as “New England’s Knowledge Corridor,” emphasizing the area’s rich history of innovation, invention and world-class educational assets. For more information, visit www.KnowledgeCorridor.org.
- Connecticut Main Street Center
- Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
- Connecticut Department of Labor
- Hartford Business Journal
- Northeast Economic Developers Association (NEDA)
- Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT)
- CTNext-Connecticut’s Innovation Ecosystem
- Connecticut Health Council
- Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services
- Aerospace Components Manufacturers
The Lincoln Financial Foundation believes that strong and vibrant communities can ensure a high quality of life for individuals and families. The Foundation’s Economic and Workforce Development grants support adult education, job skills training and opportunities to enhance the workforce with the overarching intent of economic development for the area. Specifically:
- Economic development programs promote job creation and a trained workforce for in-demand occupations.
- Economic development programs provide opportunities to create and grow local businesses.
- Adult programs provide advancement through GED, financial literacy, English as a second language, entrepreneurial thinking and skills to lead a productive life.
Grant requests under this category will be accepted until September 16, 2015. Visit the Foundation’s website for more information, including grant guidelines, and to access their on-line application.
The 1772 Foundation has announced that funding in the form of 1:1 matching grants of up to $15,000 will be made available for the following historic preservation projects: exterior painting; finishes and surface restoration; fire detection, lightning protection and security systems; porch, roof and window repair/restoration; structural foundation and sill repair/replacement; and chimney and masonry repointing.
To demonstrate the sustainability of historic sites, applicants may be required to submit a cyclical maintenance plan, condition assessment, restoration plan or stewardship plan that has been prepared or updated within the last five years. If an appropriate plan does not exist, the Foundation will consider providing support for development of a plan on a case-by-case basis.
All organizations who wish to be considered should send a one-page letter of inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org and use 1772 Foundation in the subject line. The letter should include: the amount of your request, the purpose of the grant including the name and address of the historic resource for which project funding will be used, the matching funds you have or plan to have, the time frame for project completion and ownership status (own or lease) for the site. Also, please attach a current photo which best shows site condition, no more than 1.5MB, and provide web address for the site/organization.
Letters of inquiry will be accepted until May 1, 2015. Invited applications will be due June 5, 2015. Not all letters of inquiry will result in invitations to submit full applications. To be eligible to apply, organizations must have a 501c3 IRS designation. Funding will not be provided for schools or churches.
Clicker here to access the Foundation’s website and download the grant announcement and application.
The Center for a New American Dream is now accepting applications (through May 31, 2015) for its 2015 Get2gether Neighborhood Challenge Grant. New Dream will help teams raise funds for a project to improve their neighborhoods and will match funds raised by each selected team up to $2,000. The proposed project must be focused on building a local economy, greening your community, or be linked to a sharing system. It should be replicable in other areas around the country and must be completed before March 31, 2016. Click here to learn more about the program, past project winners and to link to the online application.
In the News
National Main Street Center, Inc. and Project for Public Spaces Bring New Placemaking Training to Five Pilot States (Posted December 14, 2015)
Chicago – The National Main Street Center, Inc. (NMSC) and Project for Public Spaces (PPS) are launching Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities, a series of intensive trainings designed to strengthen and expand Main Street’s capacity for implementing Placemaking strategies and public space improvements.
Between January and June 2016, NMSC and PPS will bring the Cultivating Place in Main Street Communities training program to five pilot states, including Alabama, Connecticut, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon. NMSC and PPS will partner with Main Street Alabama, Connecticut Main Street Center, Missouri Main Street Connection, Montana Main Street, and Oregon Main Street to convene 35 communities in each state—with the potential to reach up to 175 communities in this first round.
Additionally, local and regional representatives of federal agencies and philanthropic foundations will be in attendance, working with trainers and trainees to identify ways to successfully grow, implement, and sustain Placemaking efforts in these states after the training.
“As a citizen-led process, Placemaking is a powerful, affordable, and effective way to activate downtowns and community gathering places,” said Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, Inc. “The community engagement and momentum generated by Placemaking is essential in generating longer-term positive economic outcomes across America’s Main Streets.”
Click here to read the full press release.
Governor Signs Law Expanding Tax Increment Financing in Connecticut
On June 19, 2015, Governor Malloy signed into law Public Act 15-57, An Act Establishing Tax Increment Financing Districts to allow for the use of incremental property taxes generated in a development district for infrastructure improvements, development projects and other costs associated with development. The Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association partnered with the Connecticut Economic Development Association, Connecticut Main Street and Pullman & Comely, LLC to propose this legislation which will help greatly with municipal development often stemming from planning and visioning efforts.
Click here to access a copy of the signed legislation.
Connecticut Residents asked to “Pick Up the Phone!” to Support Community Well-Being Survey
How happy are you? Have you seen a dentist lately? Are local government officials responsive to your needs? Those are some of the questions being asked by friendly survey-takers helping Data Haven and dozens of leading community and charitable groups complete the largest-ever well-being survey of area residents. A record number of participants will pick up the phone—over 15,000 by the time the 2015 Community Wellbeing Survey is complete.
Data Haven, the non-profit group leading the collection and study of neighborhood-level public data on key social and economic indicators, announced the commencement of the program in mid-April. With over 15,000 respondents, it is believed to be the most intensive effort of its kind in the United States.
This nationally recognized program provides neighborhood and regional-level information not available from any other source on community vitality, health, family economic security, and individual happiness. Other topics such as civic engagement, transportation, housing and employment—even satisfaction with government and community life—are included. Residents throughout Connecticut and an adjacent section of New York State will receive phone calls from survey takers at the Siena College Research Institute, generally appearing as a 518 area code, beginning the week of May 1st. Calls will continue through the spring and summer. The mission of the initiative is to produce the highest-quality, neighborhood-level information on issues that are most meaningful to local residents, and to foster collaboration between the hundreds of organizations, institutions, businesses and agencies that are working to build stronger communities.
CRCOG is one of the project’s nearly 100 government, academic, health-care, and community partners. For more information on the project and the supporting organizations, please read the project press release. Also, please feel free to post the press release, and share it with others in your community to help encourage response.
MetroQuest Survey is Open and Seeking Input on Transit-Oriented Development
The New England’s Sustainable Knowledge Corridor (SKC) Consortium and the Capitol Region Council of Governments welcome everyone to share ideas and opinions about development priorities around regional bus rapid transit and commuter rail stations by taking a brief web-based survey. The MetroQuest survey is now open to the public, and will be running through May 31, 2015. Whether you are a regular user of CTfastrak, or someone who is excited about the upcoming improvements to the region’s commuter rail service, this survey offers the public a chance to engage in the transit-oriented development conversation happening in central Connecticut. The SKC and CRCOG encourage the public to rank and comment on the importance of potential development features, station types, and neighborhood characteristics in proximity to stations that would inspire you or others you know to use and/or live near bus rapid transit and commuter rail services.
To take the survey, click here.
CRCOG Celebrates the Launch of the CTfastrak Rapid Transit Line in the Region
Hartford, Connecticut – Chip Beckett, Chair of the CRCOG Policy Board and Chair of the Glastonbury Town Council hailed the impending opening on March 28, 2015 of CTfastrak as providing a world of opportunity for employers seeking to access skilled labor, and residents looking for improved access to educational and employment opportunities.
“We recognize that it will take several years for CTfastrak to realize its full potential, but that potential goes far beyond an affordable, quick and efficient rapid transit system,” says Chip Beckett, Chairman of the Capitol Region Council of Governments. There are over 110,000 jobs within a half mile of the CTfastrak corridor, including linked feeder bus service areas. CRCOG expects 11,000 riders in the first year of operation increasing over time to 16,000.
CTfastrak joins dozens of successful Bus Rapid Transit projects in the country – from east coast Boston to west coast Los Angeles. CRCOG began working on Bus Rapid Transit in 1998 with visits to similar systems in Pittsburgh and Ottawa, Canada. In 2001, CRCOG issued the Regional Transit Strategy which defined a new vision for a transit system that would serve travel needs within the Region, provide transit links to cities outside the Region, and provide travelers with more transportation choices. CTfastrak—a key element of that regional strategy—is now coming to life.
Click here to read the entire press release.
CT Innovations Makes VC100 List
State investment agency Connecticut Innovations has been named to Entrepreneur’s VC100 list. The list is of the most active venture capital firms funding U.S. startups. Entrepreneur, a magazine covering startups, used 2013 data in putting CI on the list. CI makes loans to first and second stage companies in the hopes of creating homegrown industries in Connecticut. The VC100 list is a simple ranking of total capital invested but provides a resource to startups looking for sources of money.