Mayor's Monday Message|
I'd like to take this opportunity to commend the men and women of the New Haven Fire Department and Police Department for their extraordinary work controlling the house fire on Howard Avenue last Saturday morning. A single-family home at 305 Howard Avenue exploded and collapsed at 7:39 a.m. Saturday. Miraculously, the three adults and two teenagers living inside were able to escape out a back door without serious injury. Flames spread immediately to two adjacent homes, but the families there were also able to evacuate safely. I am profoundly grateful to the men and women of the New Haven Fire Department and Police Department for their professionalism and heroism Saturday, and everyday.
Downtown Crossing and 100 College Street
Next month, my administration will submit to the Board of Aldermen the first major development agreement of Downtown Crossing. The agreement will convey land at 100 College Street to Winstanley Enterprises, who will then commit to building a medical laboratory/office building of at least 225,000 square feet. The 100 College Street building will be a landmark in the growth of Downtown, further advancing New Haven as a national hub for the medical and life sciences. Further, the development will create 2,000 construction jobs and 600 to 960 permanent jobs of all skill levels, and will generate between $1 million to $2 million in annual tax revenue. Winstanley Enterprises has also committed to adhering to the City's resident, minority and small contractor hiring goals for the construction of the building.
Downtown Crossing is a major economic development initiative years in the making to reclaim ten acres of developable Downtown land currently occupied by the Route 34 connector. The first phase, partially funded by a $16 million competitive federal grant, will convert the old Route 34 connector at North and South Frontage roads into an inviting urban boulevard for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. College Street will then be reconstructed at grade level, literally paving the way for development at 100 College Street. Removing the highway will reconnect Downtown, the medical district, the train station, and the Hill neighborhood, eliminating physical barriers that have made it uninviting for people to walk from or to Downtown from many places.
It is an ambitious project, but one with tremendous rewards for the future of our City. If you would like to learn more about the project, City staff and developer Winstanley Enterprises will be hosting a public meeting on the 100 College Street development at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7 at the Wilson Branch Library on 303 Washington Avenue. The development team will also be visiting Management Teams this month.
Operation Fuels Project/BEST
Even with winters this mild, energy bills can be a major cost for small businesses. Approximately 175 New Haven businesses will receive help with those costs through Operation Fuel's Project/BEST (Business Energy Sustainability Team). The Project will provide the businesses with a $1,000 energy assistance grant, as well as specialized training in energy efficiency. The first Project/BEST energy efficiency workshop was held last week and attracted 150 New Haven businesses. Thank you to the Economic Development Administration and the Economic Development Corporation for getting the word out to businesses about this valuable opportunity. The application period for Project/BEST has closed, but I'll make sure to share with you any similar opportunities in the future.
St. Patrick's Day Parade
I'm looking forward to walking again in the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 11. The parade starts at the corner of Derby Avenue and Chapel Street at 1:30 p.m., and goes through Downtown along the Green to Orange Street. The parade is the sixth oldest parade in the nation, and is considered to be the largest single-day spectator event in Connecticut. Parade organizers are expecting as many as 250,000 spectators along the parade route this year. Please celebrate responsible and remember that this is a family-friendly event. I hope to see you there!
Community Budget Meetings
Last week I submitted to the Board of Aldermen my proposed City Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-13. These are challenging times for New Haven families, taxpayers, and employees, but the difficult decisions and prudent financial choices we have made over the past several years have made it possible this year to produce a budget that continues to advance our priorities as a City while decreasing our mill rate. I believe this budget strikes the right balance between necessary services, fiscal discipline, and accountability to the taxpayers of New Haven. This budget:
Does not take any new revenue from existing taxpayers, and in fact will result in a tax decrease for 75 percent of owner occupants, and will reduce taxes on all motor vehicles and personal property;
Decreases the mill rate from 43.9 to 40.56;
Seeks authorization for a Homeowner Fairness Initiative to phase-in increases in homeowner property values due to revaluation;
Preserves core City services and functions such as senior centers, parks, and libraries;
Supports community policing by increasing sworn staffing in the Police Department to 467; and
Requires no City layoffs, but eliminates 119 Board of Education positions.
Click here (http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/lookup/proptax.asp) to find out what your tax bill would look like under this proposed budget.
I held the first of four community meetings last Saturday at St. Bernadette's Church. There are three more meetings coming up later this week. They are:
Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. at Wilbur Cross High School
Thursday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Lincoln/Bassett School
Saturday, March 10 at 10 a.m. at Mitchell Branch Library
Contact Name: Elizabeth Benton
Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Phone: 203-946-8200