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Highlighting the Need for Investment in Hartford, Connecticut and America’s Inner Cities

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The Briefing Room

Highlighting the Need for Investment in Hartford, Connecticut and America’s Inner Cities
November 4, 1999


TODAY, PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL VISIT HARTFORD, CT TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON AMERICA’S INNER CITIES. President Clinton will visit Hartford, CT, where he will tour El Mercado, an indoor market on Park Street, near Trinity College. He will speak to community residents at the Artist’s Collective, a community center for the arts located in Hartford’s North End. On this second stop of his visit to underserved communities, President Clinton will highlight the common challenges faced by many of America’s inner cities that are still experiencing economic distress. He will also highlight the assets – including private sector and university partnerships -- that can be tapped to help stimulate and revitalize the econo mies of these communities.

President Clinton’s New Markets Initiative builds on the Clinton/Gore Administration’s strong record of promoting economic development, which includes the creation of the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative in 1993. This second New Markets trip comes four months after his first trip, highlighting the untapped potential in America’s underserved markets. This second trip emphasizes how corporations and communities can leverage that potential through long term, sustainable partnerships. Through the New Markets Initiative, President Clinton is helping to mobilize corporate America and the private sector to invest in our inner cities so that all communities can share in the prosperity of this economic expansion.


  • Decline in Population. The population in Hartford has declined slightly from 136,392 in 1980 to an estimated 131,523 in 1998, a 3.6 % drop, while the overall U.S. population grew by 19.3 % during that same period. (Bureau of the Census).
  • High Unemployment. In 1998, Hartford’s average unemployment rate was 6.7 %, down from 10.8 % in 1993, but still higher than the national average and nearly double the unemployment rate of Hartford’s suburbs, which was 3.5 %. (Department of Housing and Urban Development)
  • High Poverty Rate. After increasing from 27.5 % in 1989 to 38.3 % in 1993, the poverty rate dropped to 35.2 % in 1995, while the poverty rate nationally in central cities declined from 21.5 % to 18.5 %. (Bureau of the Census)

IN HARTFORD, PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL JOIN CORPORATE EXECUTIVES AND OTHER LEADERS TO HIGHLIGHT NEW INVESTMENTS IN OUR INNER CITIES. These include: Richard Huber (CEO, Aetna Corporation), Robert Fiondella (Chairman of the Board, President & CEO of Phoenix Home Mutual Life), David Carson (Chairman’s People’s Bank), Arthur Marquardt (CEO, CTC Resources), Thomas Johnson (Chairman, Trinity College), Carl Krapek (President, Pratt & Whitney,UTC), Marianne Spraggins (Managing Partner, Smith Whiley), Phil Schonberger (Managing Partner, Albermarle Equities), John Clark (President, People’s Bank), Eileen Kraus (President, Fleet Bank, Connecticut), Evan Dobelle (President, Trinity College), Heidi Miller (CFO, Citigroup), Lou Clemente (Secretary of the Board and Executive Vice President, Pfizer, Inc.), Len Wolman (Waterford Group), Marc Wolman (Wolman Construction), Rev. Jesse Jackson, Hugh Price (President, Urban League) and Al From (Executive Director, Democratic Leadership Council).


Coalition of Corporate Leaders Commit To $177.5 Million Investment In Hartford Region. Today, Aetna, Fleet, Phoenix, Advest, People’s Bank, The Hartford, United Technologies Corporation, Waterford Group, Connecticut Constitution Associates, CTG and Northeast Utilities will announce $177.5 million Investments in Hartford announced their commitment of $177.5 million for new investments in projects to revitalize the Greater Hartford region. The investments are intended to stimulate economic development projects in downtown Hartford and its surrounding neighborhoods. The funds will be used to provide both debt and equity investments for real estate and business development projects in Hartford.

Citigroup and Others Commit $15.3 million for Hartford Development. Citigroup, along with the Local Initiative Support Corporation and the Connecticut Preservation Loan Fund (a consortium of six banks) has agreed to provide $15.3 million to finance the Martson/Putnam Heights project, which will revitalize 38 owner-occupied and two family low-income housing units in Frog Hollow (an area adjacent to Trinity College), and for other project in the Har tford region. This project is a continuation of the urban revitalization efforts undertaken by Trinity College along with its partners including the Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, the Urban League, Cityscape Homes and other local community organizations.

Smith Whiley & Company will announce the Creation of the $5 Million Investment Fund In Presidential New Market Initiative To Encourage SBICs In Low/Moderate Income Communities. Part of the President’s New Markets Initiative is a new special effort that provides extra incentives for Small Business Investment Corporations investing in low and moderate income communities (LMI-SBIC Initiative). Smith Whiley & Company have filed an application with the SBA to form a LMI SBIC, which is one of the programs created by the New Markets Initiative. Bon Secours Health System, a not-for-profit hospital and health care organization, has committed $5 million to establish this fund which will help to spur economic growth and meaningful employment in underserved communities by investing in new and existing businesses with strong growth potential in communities such as Detroit, Michigan, Baltimore, Maryland, Richmond, Virginia, and Portsmouth/Norfolk, Virginia.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Today, HUD will release a special supplement "America’s Northeast" to its "Now is the Time: Places Left Behind in the New Economy" series of reports to the Nation. This report focuses on the economic progress in northeastern cities since 1993 as well as common challenges faced by many northeastern cities who are still experiencing economic distress in a time when America continues to enjoy an extraordinary economic expansion and prosperity. The report also found that many of these communities also possess vital assets that are distinctive to this region of the nation, such as an extraordinary concentration of learning institutions, an ethnically diverse workforce comprised of a growing number of new immigrants, and established transportation and other infrastructure.
  • The Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA), comprised of five institutions including Trinity College will award a $6.2 million Section 108 Loan today to finance two development projects: Zion Street and the Learning Corridor. These projects are part of the City of Hartford’s Cityscape program, which intends to revitalize the City’s Southside neighborhoods. When completed, Cityscape will consist of a Montessori school, the Greater Hartford Academy for the Arts, the Inter-District Math, Science and Technology Center, a City of Hartford Middle School, retail and banking space, a community theatre, a gym/community center, a job center, a Boys and Girls Club and housing.
  • HUD will also announce the launching of The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) Trust, allowing federal loans to be pooled and traded on Wall Street, making it safer and easier for local governments to make loans to businesses locating or expanding in low-income neighborhoods. The CEF Trust will be operated by Harris Trust Company of New York as an independent program manager working under contract to HUD. It will standardize the underwriting of economic development loans and reduce the risk and administrative burden of Section 108 to local communities, making a proven tool even more effective and creating more jobs where they are needed most.
  • HUD is joining with the Rockefeller Foundation and Chase, by committing $1.5 million for two years, to help fund the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative. This five-city, intensive work-readiness program will include a site in Hartford as well as sites in New York, Fort Worth, Washington, DC, and Chicago. The program will be administered by MDRC, the nationally known welfare-to-work policy organization.


Pfizer Inc., to Open a New 400,000 sq. ft. Office Facility in New London, Connecticut in 2000. In September 1998, Pfizer broke ground on the site of the old New London Mills for a new 400,000 square-foot global drug development facility. This site in New London has remained unused since it closed in the early 1970’s due to environmental concerns that arose from its past use as a site to manufacture printing presses, armaments and linoleum. When completed in the year 2000, this facility will serve as the anchor of a waterfront revitalization project, housing approximately 1,500 people from the company’s global development team, who are responsible for demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of drugs through clinical trials.

The MetroHartford Millennium Project Designs Plan to Revitalize Downtown Hartford. The MetroHartford Millennium Project has developed a comprehensive economic development plan that is supported by dozens of local corporations, urban/suburban municipalities, civic and non-profit organizations and state agencies. All of these organizations have joined together to promote this plan to revitalize Connecticut’s capital region. It is an all-inclusive effort to encourage the regions’ towns and the urban center to collaborate as a single entity to attract capital and development from outside Metro Hartford to the region. The project is actively implementing a broad spectrum of economic development initiatives, including: rejuvenating downtown Hartford; creating industry-driven worker training programs; addressing worker shortages; improving race relations; recruiting young professionals to the region; strengthening the K-12 education system; and reconstituting the region’s civic infrastructure.

The Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance Undertakes $175 Million Revitalization Initiative for Hartford. The Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) is a consortium of five Hartford institutions that joined together in 1996 to undertake a comprehensive $175 million neighborhood revitalization initiative for the community surrounding Trinity College’s campus in Hartford’s inner city. The Alliance is comprised of Trinity College, Connecticut Public Television, Hartford Hospital, and the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and the Institute of Living. The fundamental objective of the Alliance is to renew the neighborhood from within, drawing on resources and institutions already there to create a safe, viable neighborhood that will be a hub of educational, health, family support, encourage stable homeownership and generate jobs through economic development activities. The centerpiece of their efforts is the Learning Corridor, a 16-acre campus that will be constructed on a reclaimed brownfield and when completed the new schools constructed on this site will serve the educational needs of nearly 1500 local students spanning pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Supports Hartford Transportation Improvements. The U.S. Department of Transportation has provided financial support to the Hartford area to improve its transportation system to support economic development efforts in the region. These include: over $400 million in public and private investment for improvements and expansion of Bradley International airport, including a new air traffic control tower, terminal, and parking garages; over $100 million in Federal aid highway funds to support the efforts to revitalize downtown Hartford, redevelop the waterfront of the Connecticut River and build pedestrian walkways and bike trails; $900,000 in funding to update the analysis of the Griffin Corridor Busway to connect Hartford’s Central Business District with Bradley International Airport; a $533,115 Job Access grant for a new bus service from the City of Hartford to area in and around Bradley International Airport that will help more than 1,400 people to move from welfare to work; and a $480,000 Transportation and Community System Preservation grant to support the development of a Bus Rapid Transit demonstration project that will connect residents of West Hartford to New Britian.

Customer Service Institute of Connecticut Graduates First Welfare to Work Class. The Customer Service Institute of Connecticut, at the Capital Technical Community College in Hartford, recently graduated its first class of Welfare To Work and underemployed participants. This program was founded by Aetna, Fleet Bank, Travelers, The Hartford Courant, The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., Cigna Healthcare, American Airlines, Teletech Holdings, Inc., The Hartford Foundation of Public Giving, the Bushnell Theater, Capital Region Workforce Development Board, Connecticut Region Growth Council and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. Each of the participating companies played a role in helping to develop the curriculum and standards for this program.

New Job Corp Center in Hartford to Open in Fall 2000. In January 1999, Vice President Gore announced that the Department of Labor would provide $12.9 million for a Job Corp Center that will be located in the Charter Oak Terrace Business Park in Hartford. When the center is completed in the Fall 2000, it will serve 200 non-residential students each year by providing basic education and vocational training programs. The Job Corps was established in 1964 and has served more than 1.7 million students.

Capital District Workforce Development Board Receives $1.8 million Grant. In September 1999, the Capital District Workforce Development Board received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to move the hardest-to-employ welfare recipients to work. This grant will fund a program that will focus on work opportunities for persons with limited English-proficiency in Hartford. It will offer participants a full array of support services and other specialized counseling.


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