It is with great anticipation we look forward to 2013 while we reflect back upon 2012 and successes we shared together. This past year we saw the Elm City Resident Card turn 5-years old and still going strong as a symbol of a welcoming community. Together we faced another hurricane for the second straight year and did so with neighbor helping neighbor.
Last year violent gun crime decreased significantly the result of efforts from strategies implemented by the New Haven Police Department and from neighborhoods coming together to say enough with violence. We returned walking beats to neighborhoods; launched Project Longevity aimed at quelling gun violence and graduated a new police class to help with patrols.
2012 was a good year for business in New Haven. Our 2012 Grand List growth was the largest in the state. We saw a new $100+ Million development created at 100 College Street and by the end of the 3rd quarter in 2012, downtown retail occupancy remained exceptionally strong at 86% with many new restaurants and merchants opening up. New Haven County has become one of the most in-demand rental markets in the country, with the third lowest vacancy rate behind only New York City and Portland, OR.
In education, our high school graduation rates rose again; the federal government awarded the school district over $50M in grants for our school reform program; and our students' tests scores continue to rise at nearly twice the rate of the state average. The New Haven Promise scholarship program marched forward with more of our kids heading off to college while new programs at home like Parent University helped to support the families of our students.
2012 was a good year and 2013 holds promise for us all. By working together as a city of promise we can accomplish much more than by doing so alone. Here is to a happy, safe and healthy New Year for all of new Haven!
Very truly yours,
John DeStefano, Jr.