Connecticut Governor Launches Economic Development Programs

Governor Lamont Launches New Economic Development Programs To Create Jobs and Boost Community Vibrancy

HARTFORD, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration is launching two new competitive grant programs that will create jobs, strengthen the livability and vibrancy of Connecticut towns and cities, and promote new public-private partnerships to accelerate economic growth.

The Innovation Corridor program and the Connecticut Communities Challenge program, both of which will be administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, will spur place-based development in municipalities with up to $200 million in funding over five years.  The grants are a vital component of Governor Lamont’s Economic Action Plan – a strategic package of initiatives that totals more than $750 million over five years, matched approximately dollar-for-dollar by private and other non-state funding that will result in a projected 80,000 new jobs.

“Investing in our communities and high-growth industry sectors is a key part of our plan to accelerate long-lasting and equitable economic development in Connecticut,” Governor Lamont said.  “These two new programs will have wide-ranging impacts as we emerge stronger than ever from the pandemic, creating thousands of new jobs, improving the vibrancy and quality of life in our communities, and making all corners of the state even more attractive for investment and opportunity.”

“Connecticut continues to take a careful, strategic approach to its investments, and these two new programs have the opportunity to be truly transformational for participating communities,” David Lehman, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said.  “Both programs encourage public-private partnerships that will foster collaboration at the local level and leverage state dollars, strengthening both the quality and the impact of the projects being submitted for consideration.”

Applications are now being accepted for both programs.

Innovation Corridor Program

Under the Innovation Corridor program, the Department of Economic and Community Development will select two or more transformational, place-making proposals for major urban areas or regional economic centers.  The projects are designed to facilitate the creation of at least 15,000 new jobs in data science, advanced manufacturing, insurance technology, or other high-growth industries.  The department expects to grant up to $100 million in total over five years.

Municipalities are invited to submit applications in conjunction and coordination with stakeholders that may include private businesses and developers, post-secondary educational institutions, and philanthropic or other not-for-profit entities, demonstrating a public-private partnership.

Additional details on the Innovation Corridor program can be found online at portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Business-Development/05_Funding_Opportunities/Innovation-Corridor-Grant.

Connecticut Communities Challenge Program

Under the Connecticut Communities Challenge program, the Department of Economic and Community Development will fund a wide range of projects that improve livability, vibrancy, and appeal of communities throughout the state while aiming to create approximately 3,000 new jobs.  It is the department’s goal to allocate up to 50% of the funds to projects in distressed municipalities.

Successful projects will likely include multiple of the following elements:

  • Transit-oriented development that densifies commercial and/or residential land uses near transit hubs;
  • Downtown/major hub development that improves or reuses existing property;
  • Essential infrastructure that facilitates future development;
  • Housing to support affordability, accessibility, and local workforce;
  • Mobility improvements that increase connectivity to transit and promote economic activity, including pedestrian, ADA, and bicycle improvements; and
  • Public space improvements that provide amenities to the community, including open spaces, public art projects, wayfinding, and lighting and safety improvements.

Municipalities, economic development agencies, and regional council of governments can apply for the grants and are encouraged to partner with private developers, business organizations, and other institutions.  Grant sizes will range between $1 to $10 million per project.  The department expects to grant up to $100 million in total over the next five years.