harbor yardBRIDGEPORT: Baseball is officially out at Harbor Yard, as the City Council has approved a plan by the Mayor Joe Ganim to convert the stadium to a concert venue. The council had near unanimous approval with an 18-2 vote in favor.

The council’s vote doesn’t guarantee clear sailing for the project, however. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers the American League Hockey team that plays next door to the stadium’s facility at the Webster Bank Arena says it has an agreement with the city to run concerts as well, and see a conflict with the new concerts, and is threatening legal action.

Councilors have taken the threat seriously in their agreement that it won’t assume any costs if the project is blocked.

The Sound Tigers is already in a bitter dispute with the City over costs at the Arena.

One local source indicated that Howard Saffan the developer of the project and previous executive at the Arena may have a non-compete with the hockey club as well.

The conversion to the 6000, seat Harbor Yard Amphitheater is expected to be completed before the 2019 outdoor concert season requires a $15 million investment. The costs are too be split between the city and Harbor Yard Amphitheater LLC, at partnership of Live Nation and Sazffan’s Shelton based SportsCenter of Connecticut. Live Nation is not expected to provide direct capital for the conversion to a concert venue. The partnership is responsible for the upkeep of the stadium going forward,

Live Nation expects to attract a “minimum” of twenty events per outdoor season. The city is expected to earn $3 per ticket or $150,000 in rent.

gelogoBOSTON: Investors have joined many Nutmeggers as they come out of the closet on their distaste for former GE (NYSE:GE] CEO Jeffrey Immelt.

As GE’s new CEO John Flannery announced that expected results had been predicted under Immelt at $1.70 per share but in spite of higher sales, profits would be down to approximately $1.10 per share.

Reaction to Immelt’s move of GE headquarters to Boston was an early Flannery’s cost saving target as he slowed down the building of the new headquarters.

The bad earnings, were punctuated by a recent story about Immelt having a backup corporate jet flying with him, in case of a problem.

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Some towns will win, others lose as CT struggles with low growth

 

Washington – While Connecticut’s population growth has slowed to a crawl, there will be shifts in the number of people who live in each of its 169 towns, with Sherman projected to lose nearly half its population by 2040 and Windham experiencing the biggest growth.

UConn’s Connecticut State Data Center used birth and mortality data from the Connecticut Department of Public Health, as well as population and other data from the U.S. Census Bureau to develop projections of population trends in each Connecticut town.

Center demographers determined many towns will experience changes because of an aging population, a near net zero overall migration rate, and a relatively low, but stable, birth rate. The overall migration rate is the difference between the people leaving the state and those moving to Connecticut from somewhere else.

Windham, East Windsor, Avon, Oxford, Ellington, Sterling, Norwich, West Haven, Rocky Hill, and Manchester are projected to experience the largest percentage of increase in overall population from 2015 to 2040, the UConn demographers said.

Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge said his town’s projections to grow — by more than 46 percent — “probably has to do with our Latino population.”

Both in Connecticut and nationally, the Hispanic population tends to be younger than the non-Hispanic white and black populations.

Eldridge said he welcomed growth “up to a point,” but does not want Windham ever to suffer the problems inherent to big cities.

Meanwhile, the towns of Sherman, New Fairfield, Bridgewater, Sharon, Monroe, Cornwall, Salisbury, Old Saybrook, Washington, and Weston are projected to experience the largest percentage of declines in overall population.

Sherman would experience a 45 percent drop in population — from about 3,279 to 1,803 — and Windham would grow by more than 47 percent to more than 38,000 by the year 2040.

Center demographer Michael Howser said there’s a larger margin of error in calculations for small towns like Sherman.

“The smaller the population, the greater the variable,” Howser said.

He also said towns that are slated to lose population will experience a gradual, not abrupt change in population.

“There will just be a slow evaporation in some of these towns,” he said.

Demographic trends often spur political decisions.

Sherman First Selectman Clay Cope said he’s aware of the aging of his town. He said Sherman has taken several steps to help its residents “age in place,” including reducing taxes for the elderly, changing zoning laws to allow those with larger yards to construct a cottage that could be used for a caretaker and allowing older residents to defer taxes to help them afford repairs and maintenance on their properties.

“People want to age in place,” Cope said. “That’s overwhelmingly what people want to do.”

Howser said that, in general, rural towns will be “the hardest hit.”

Meanwhile, towns that are growing, like Windham, tend to have a younger population and higher birthrate.

The center’s projections show that Hartford’s population would remain largely unchanged, growing by fewer than 2,000 residents.

But Bridgeport would expand by 6 percent, Fairfield by 13 percent and Stamford by 3 percent.

New London is also in the “winner’s column” with a projected growth rate of nearly 14 percent, as is New Haven, with 9 percent.

Changes in the state’s economy, urban development, transportation system  and political structure and other factors could scramble the picture.

But the overall demographic trend for Connecticut as a whole is one of very slow growth. While it is not among a handful of states that are losing population – like Rhode Island, Illinois and West Virginia, the U.S. Census Bureau said Connecticut has the slowest growth rate of any state in the nation, just .07 percent.

Brookings Institution demographer William Frey said states that have lost population, or have little growth, tend to have high costs of living, like Connecticut, California, and New York, or a faltering economy like the “Rust Belt” states.

Frey said there’s an increase in people leaving Connecticut  — and that has eliminated the chance of hefty gains resulting from the state’s birth rate or those moving to the state.

From July 2015 to July 2016, nearly 30,000 people left Connecticut, Frey said.

“What Connecticut needs to do is to keep attracting immigrants from other parts of the world,” Frey said. “New York City would have lost population if it were not for immigrants.”

 

cbiaHARTFORD: According to a new survey from the Connecticut Business and Industry Association [CBIA] As concerns grow over the state’s budget stalemate, fewer Connecticut businesses expect growth according to the results of a new survey released today.

The drop in confidence  shows in the responses to The 2017 CBIA 2nd Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey, it  found that just 29% of business leaders have a positive outlook for their firm—down from 37% in the first quarter.

CBIA reported fifty-seven percent expect stable conditions [up from 47% last quarter], while 14% had a negative outlook, down from 16%.

FoxwoodsHighFlyerMASHANTUCKET: It’s the 25th anniversary year of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, and as the casino reveals two new “thrill rides” a new vision for positioning the resort as it faces new casino competition in the Catskills and Massachusetts, is taking shape.

Foxwoods announcement says. “the next step in the resort’s long-term plan to develop a comprehensive portfolio of ecotourism options is the opening of the Thrill Towers.” The new, “extreme thrills” includes two new rides, the Sky Drop and Sky Launch, and as the resorts “evolution as a full-service resort casino destination.”