The North Hartford Promise Zone (NHPZ) is 3.11 square miles (2.18 developed and 0.93 open space) bounded by Albany Avenue (Route 44) and Main Street. The Zone follows Main Street to the east, Ridgefield Street and Westbourne Parkway to the west, Windsor Street to the north and Homestead Avenue to the south.
Once home to a mixed‐income community, with a strong manufacturing base, the NHPZ is an important entry corridor into the City’s downtown that is now characterized by pervasive poverty (49.35% compared to the City’s 33.9% and State 10%), low employment (72.56% compared to the City’s rate of 83.6%) violent crime (the area’s Part I violent crime rate per 1,000 residents is 66.2, compared to the City’s rate of 53.9 from 2011‐2013), and food insecurity.
The NHPZ’s socio‐economic sharp decline began after WWII with the construction of a major highway, Interstate 84. The highway’s location divided the City in half and therefore, isolating the NHPZ from the economic activity of the downtown. However, it does not include new direct funding. Even more devastating, were the race riots in 1968 that resulted in massive arson, destroying the majority of North Hartford’s commercial strip. Today, the NHPZ has yet to recover from this economic down turn and stands in sharp contrast to the wealthy suburbs found just a few miles away.
The NPHZ’s 10 contiguous census tracts that include Clay Arsenal, Northeast and Upper Albany neighborhoods are home to 23,930 children, adults and families living within the NHPZ’s 3.11 square miles. Well‐paying job opportunities are scarce and households in NHPZ are disproportionally low‐income with the average per capita income being only $12,099 annually as opposed to $16,286 for the City and $37,726 for the State. Hartford’s weak housing market has resulted in low rental and real estate prices and high residential vacancy rate, which stands at 10.96% in the NHPZ (compared to surrounding area at 2.60%).
In the NHPZ area there is not one full‐service grocery store providing fresh foods. Among Hartford’s 17 neighborhoods, this small area ranks highest in several preventable illnesses: obesity, heart disease, infant and neonatal mortality, and infections. The emergency department at nearby Saint Francis Hospital is the primary source of health care for this largely Medicaid‐insured population.
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Hartford, CT 06103