The Cities Project is collaborative journalism and reporting on how to revitalize Connecticut cities from The Connecticut Mirror, Connecticut Public Radio, Hearst Connecticut Media, The Hartford Courant, the Republican-American (of Waterbury), the Hartford Business Journal, and Purple States.

Bridgeport can learn from Springfield’s revitalization

By and , Hearst Connecticut Media | August 16, 2019

This welcome to Bridgeport sign sits at the bottom of the northbound I-95 exit on East Main Street near Steelpointe in Bridgeport. Credit: Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media To the world outside its borders, Bridgeport doesn’t have a sterling reputation. On those rare occasions when it’s referenced in popular culture, it’s in a…

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Focus group: Bridgeport needs to play up its assets

By , Hearst Connecticut Media | August 16, 2019

Dan Pflug doesn’t visit Bridgeport much, but when he passes over the city on Interstate 95, its abandoned buildings strike him as a missed opportunity. The Easton resident said adding amenities, such as more housing — and maybe even bike trails that people could use to commute to the train station — could help. “I…

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Some cities and towns see tax-break deals as key to economic growth

By , and , Hartford Business Journal | August 12, 2019

A number of Connecticut municipalities use tax breaks or incentives to stimulate growth. But for some, particularly cities like Hartford and New Haven with high tax rates, they can be the literal lifeblood of much of the economic development that occurs within their borders. Even towns with lower property-tax rates like Windsor resort to tax-fixing…

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A major tax deal for a prominent Hartford landlord

By and , Hartford Business Journal | August 12, 2019

A recent and notable tax-break deal the city of Hartford hatched in recent years was with one of its most prominent downtown landlords: Shelbourne Global. Shelbourne is a New York realty investor/developer/landlord that has purchased more than $200 million in Hartford real estate over the last few years, including some of downtown’s most prized Class…

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Back to the future with transit-oriented development

By , CT Mirror | July 31, 2019

New Britain — The decades after World War II were unkind to many Connecticut cities, New Britain among them. The Hardware City lost jobs, was carved up by highways and saw residents depart for the suburbs. Its once bustling downtown began to look desolate, almost like an archeological site. Not anymore. Downtown New Britain is steadily…

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Lack of graduate urban planning programs hurting state

By , Republican American | July 26, 2019

Waterbury— A dry talent pipeline is contributing to economic stagnation in Connecticut’s cities. The state is one of 15 in the country with no accredited, graduate level urban planning programs, which advocates say bring in research dollars, groom qualified professionals and furnish data to inform future investments in development. Mary Donegan, assistant professor in-residence of…

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Solution: Fully fund the state’s PILOT program

By , Hartford Business Journal | July 18, 2019

Municipal leaders in Connecticut are intimately familiar with the state’s own PILOT program, which reimburses cities and towns, at least partially, for state-owned and other tax-exempt properties. The program, which is part of the overall state aid cities and towns receive, has become the subject of much griping over the years as state lawmakers have…

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Solution: Hartford’s largest nonprofits contribute more

By , Hartford Business Journal | July 17, 2019

Hartford Hospital, whose various exempt parcels in the city are assessed at approximately $481 million. There are fewer than a dozen U.S. cities that receive more than $1 million a year in voluntary payments from not-for-profit organizations — like hospitals and colleges — that are exempt from paying property taxes, according to the Lincoln Institute…

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Why Midsize Cities Struggle to Catch Up to Superstar Cities

By , New York Times | July 17, 2019

Click photo to read New York Times story by Eduardo Porter.

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Solution: Alternative revenue sources could bolster city budget, lower tax rate

By and , Hartford Business Journal | July 16, 2019

In the midst of the last recession, Massachusetts lawmakers — a place where, like Connecticut, municipalities rely heavily on property taxes — gave their cities and towns a powerful new revenue-raising tool. Since 2009, by vote of a local selectboard or city council, municipalities have been able to tack on 0.75 percentage points to the…

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