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North Hartford Promise Zone

HUD has awarded a Promise Zone designation to North Hartford – a 3.11 square-mile area encompassing the Clay Arsenal, Northeast and Upper Albany neighborhoods – making Hartford the first City in Connecticut to take part in this competitive initiative created by President Barack Obama. In his 2013 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he would designate 20 Promise Zones nationwide; high poverty communities that would partner with the Administration to create jobs, increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, reduce violent crime and improve health outcomes. Promise Zones receive preferential consideration for existing federal funding and are assigned federal staff, along with five fulltime AmeriCorps VISTA members, to help navigate federal resources.

The Promise Zone designation would bolster the City’s efforts to tap into existing federal grant programs and enhance initiatives already underway in North Hartford, including over $100 million in façade and infrastructure improvements. Projects include two major school renovations, $47.5 million for Thirman Milner School and $68 million for Martin Luther King Jr., as well as $3 million for the North End Senior Center, $2 million for the Keney Park Ball Fields, $23 million for the Keney Park Golf Course and Clubhouse restoration and $1.5 million for a new police substation on Coventry Street.

“The Promise Zone designation will help us continue efforts to restore North Hartford to the prosperous neighborhood that it once was. The benefits of bringing back businesses to North Hartford, expanding educational and job opportunities and improving residents’ health and wellness will stretch beyond the three neighborhoods in the zone and reach far into the future. This designation has the potential to spur more economic activity, and improve the quality of life for generations,” said Mayor Segarra. “I want to thank Senator Murphy for his leadership in this process, as well as City staff and all of our partners for their hard work and collaboration in developing a strategic plan.”

The designation was achieved through significant support from Senator Murphy and collaboration by City departments and community organizations: Department of Development Services, Office of Central Grants, Hartford Police Department, Hartford Public Schools, Health and Human Services, Families, Children, Youth and Recreation, Metro Hartford Information Services, Hartford Housing Authority, Hartford Public Library, along with United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Capital Workforce Partners, Community Solutions, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT), Greater Hartford YMCA, and the Village for Families and Children.

In order to be eligible for consideration, the rate of overall poverty of residents within the Promise Zone must be over 33 percent and encompass a population of at least 10,000 but no more than 200,000 residents. The North Hartford Promise Zone (NHPZ) rate of poverty is 49.35 percent, compared to the City’s rate of 33.9 percent and the State’s rate of 10 percent, and encompasses a population of 23,930 residents.  

A centerpiece of the NHPZ designation is Community Solution's restoration of Hartford’s historic M. Swift & Sons Factory, which for over 100 years was a leading source of gold leafing for state capitol buildings and historic landmarks across the country. The former factory closed in 2004 and the NHPZ plan prioritizes the revitalization of the factory building as a hub for employment, entrepreneurship and health care services. The vacant land surrounding the former factory has already been repurposed and is now the site of the Five Corners Urban Farm, with plans for a hydroponic rooftop operation. Other priorities outlined in the NHPZ plan include:


    • Supporting amendments to zoning codes to facilitate urban agriculture, as well as amendments to the City’s tax codes to provide tax incentives to private property owners who may collaborate with NHPZ nonprofits to develop urban farming operations on their property.
    • Improving the emotional and physical development of high risk children and families by increasing access to behavioral health services, healthy food systems and physical activity.Acquiring underutilized and blighted commercial and industrial sites and preparing them for reuse.
    • Attracting and retaining businesses in the NHPZ commercial corridors by promoting business growth and by developing suitable commercial and mixed-use sites.
    • Increasing the number of high school graduates who are college and career ready by expanding student achievement and job readiness activities.
    • Reducing crime and improving community safety to advance neighborhood revitalization by expanding outreach services to neighborhood ex-offenders and at-risk youth.
    • Connecting to CTfastrak to provide NHPZ residents rapid access to colleges, regional health centers and economic opportunities associated with both.
    • Increasing the number of residents living in quality, affordable, sustainable housing by expanding rental and homeownership programs.

Hartford was selected during the second round of the Promise Zone competition from among 123 applications; 97 for urban areas, 19 rural and 7 tribal. Los Angeles, Calif., San Antonio, TX, Philadelphia, Pa., Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma were selected during the first round last year.


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Office of the Mayor
550 Main Street, Room 200
Hartford, CT 06103
Main: 860-757-9500

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HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM