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MAYOR SEGARRA IS JOINED BY OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL AND FEDERAL DELEGATION IN ANNOUNCING WINNERS OF STRONG CITIES, STRONG COMMUNITIES CHALLENGE

(May 29, 2015)Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra was joined by U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and U.S. Congressman John Larson to announce the six winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Hartford Challenge, a contest funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to spur creative economic development strategies that grow business. A grand prize of $500,000 was awarded to Hartford Health Works for plans to create an FDA-approved, ISO-certified medical device prototyping and manufacturing plant in North Hartford and to implement targeted programs to improve access to expertise, capital and markets. Hartford Health Works’ goal is to bring manufacturing back to Hartford and create long-term, well-paying careers for residents.

“I applaud all the teams who participated in this challenge and brought provocative game-changing ideas to the table. It’s not easy to start or grow a business. It’s not easy to bring a new idea to market or disrupt the status quo. We are rewarding your courage, your hard work and your vision, which will help us move Hartford forward,” said Mayor Segarra. “We look forward to working with our winning teams to implement their strategies. We look forward to using the lessons learned from SC2 to enhance Hartford’s reputation as a great city for entrepreneurs.”

Director of Development Services Thomas E. Deller said, “The City of Hartford and the EDA will jointly own not one, but six winning economic development plans that may be implemented both in Hartford and in other cities around the country. It is a unique approach with a big yield, and in line with Development Services’ mission to create a vibrant, livable and sustainable Hartford.”

“Health care is a complex industry. You need specialized expertise and equipment to develop products and services for this industry and we’re going to bring those resources here to Hartford. This is a decade-long project that we’re undertaking, but there are educational programs that we’ll have up and running within a year. We think we will be able to bring a manufacturing company to Hartford and that means real jobs,” said Mark Borton, team leader at Hartford Health Works and a founder of Rising-Tide Health Care. Other partners in the team include Beacon, a medical device trade association, and Movia Robotics.

The remaining winners are:

  • Made-at-Swift, second place with a $100,000 cash award for a plan to reuse the Swift Factory as an economic anchor for the northeast neighborhood and the City of Hartford through food and entrepreneurship.
  • Entrepreneurship Foundation, third place with a $75,000 cash award for a program to help Hartford residents open new businesses, thereby creating wealth and jobs for themselves and their neighbors.
  • It’s All Here, fourth place with a $50,000 cash award for an asset based economic development model which will build wealth and raise incomes in all of Hartford’s neighborhoods by giving access and visibility to new markets and service providers using an interactive website, a multilingual call center, physical market locations and turnkey digital street signage.
  • Hartford Rocks, fifth place with a $50,000 cash award for low cost interventions that promote economic development, foster social interactions and support changing transportation dynamics including, open streets with popup markets, food trucks, a bike share system and microloans to grow small business.
  • Team FotoFiction, sixth place with a $25,000 cash award for a plan to create an urban community where people live, work, dine and shop in a dynamic, trend-setting environment constructed entirely of modified shipping containers. 

Phase I of the SC2 Hartford Challenge officially kicked off in February of 2014. It began with a call for multi-disciplinary teams to form and develop proposals for a transformative economic development strategy for the City of Hartford—one that would establish Hartford as the city where entrepreneurs come to start and grow their businesses. Of the 58 teams who participated, 25 submitted qualified proposals. A panel of community leaders reviewed the proposals and the top three teams shared $100,000 of grant funded prize money from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The top 10 teams were invited to participate in Phase II of the SC2 Hartford Challenge to develop full-blown economic development plans for the City of Hartford, which they submitted on April 20, 2015.

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MAYOR SEGARRA AND COUNCIL PRESIDENT WOODEN ANNOUNCE BUDGET AGREEMENT

(May 28, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, City Council President Shawn T. Wooden and the Hartford City Council today announced that they have agreed to a $533.8 million budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that includes no mill rate increase, no reduction in essential city services and no reduction in education funding. Mayor Segarra and the Council worked collaboratively to close a more than $40 million budget gap and to continue to fund top priorities in public safety, economic development and infrastructure improvements to streets and sidewalks. 

“We have worked hard to produce a fiscally prudent budget that doesn’t burden taxpayers and protects community safety, public education, job growth, economic development and quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Segarra. “This budget reflects what we feel are responsible answers to tough decisions that impact the day-to-day lives of residents, including our most vulnerable residents, while protecting our future.”

Council President Wooden said, “Every year we have a really hard budget to produce and extremely difficult choices to make. The Council has been steadfast in avoiding a mill rate increase while maintaining the quality of services to the community. I’m proud that we’ve achieved these goals while incorporating important Council priorities in this budget.”

The FY2016 budget, which takes effect on July 1, funds several important initiatives, including:

  • ·$250,000 for the North Hartford Promise Zone, a federal designation to help create jobs, increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, reduce violent crime and improve health outcomes.
  • ·$150,000 for My Brother’s Keeper, an initiative by President Barack Obama that calls for community members, local government leaders, businesses and charities to help steer young minority males toward colleges, universities and long-term careers.
  • ·$90,000 for a citywide youth athletics program to be administered jointly by the City and Hartford Public Schools.
  • ·$9 million over 5 years in the Capital Improvement Budget for police body cameras, stun guns, patrol car cameras and street surveillance cameras.

To help balance the budget for FY2016, the City will restructure certain existing debt obligations, use a portion of its health benefits fund balance, and reduce departmental expenses by over $10 million. A portion of the City’s health benefits fund balance will be used to fund $19.3 million of the Board of Education’s Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) future liability. The adoption of a balanced budget is the most significant annual policy action for any level of government.

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MAYOR SEGARRA INVITES PUBLIC TO ATTEND THE SC2 HARTFORD CHALLENGE AWARD CEREMONY

(May 27, 2015) Mayor Pedro E. Segarra today announced that representatives from the Obama Administration, as well as Connecticut’s federal delegation, state representatives and city officials will announce the winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Hartford Challenge during a ceremony on Friday, May 29, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Out of the remaining 10 teams competing in the SC2 Hartford Challenge, six will be selected based on the highest scores for economic development plans for the City of Hartford. The six winning teams will share $800,000 in prize money, with the top plan receiving $500,000. 

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CITY COUNCIL SUPPORTS CREATION OF CITYWIDE ATHLETIC PROGRAM

(May 20, 2015) As part of the Hartford City Council’s response to Mayor Pedro E. Segarra’s recommended budget, Council President Shawn T. Wooden proposed the creation of a citywide youth sports program to be administered jointly by the City and Hartford Public Schools.  This program would be managed by a newly-created Athletic Director position.  On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously voted to allocate $90,000 for program management and requested that Hartford Public Schools cooperate in creating the program. If implemented, this would be the first comprehensive citywide youth sports program in the capital city.

Additionally, the City Council has requested the formation of a working group, led by Mayor Segarra and the Superintendent of Schools, to develop a plan of implementation and operation for the program by August 5, 2015. The proposal recommends leveraging publicly-owned athletic facilities and nonprofits and community groups providing recreational services.

“I am excited about creating opportunities for our city youth to participate in organized sports programs,” said Council President Wooden. “For too long, the City has not properly utilized or coordinated its physical assets to maximize such opportunities for all city youth. Implementing this proposal will dramatically expand the safe and healthy opportunities for the City to nurture well-rounded students.  Study after study show that students who participate in sports do better academically than students not participating. I’d like to thank Hartford native and Classical Magnet High School teacher Brian Gallagher for the considerable work he put in to initiate this proposal. I look forward to the Board of Education’s cooperation in making this a reality.”

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