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Bridgeport: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Manufacturing and trade, long mainstays in the Bridgeport economy, are being increasingly supplemented by the service-producing industries, particularly personal, business, and health services, as Bridgeport seeks to diversify. The defense industry, for many years a vital part of the city's economy, was hard hit by layoffs in the early 1990s. But wholesale and retail trade thrive thanks to the city's strategic location as a deep-sea port, a crossroads of interstate highways, and a hub of railroad lines, and the city is now the one of largest financial centers in New England. While not within Bridgeport itself there are a dozen Fortune 500 companies in Fairfield County, including General Electric, Pitney Bowes Inc., and Xerox Corporation.

Creating new employment opportunities for local workers has been a focal point for community leaders. In particular, the Bridgeport Economic Resource Center (BERC) has secured about 1,260 jobs since 2000, many in small start-up businesses like restaurants and shops. Law enforcement monies have held steady to contribute to a consistent reduction in the crime rate; meanwhile, dangerous housing projects continue to be identified and torn down in order to be replaced by better facilities. An amenity such as the new hockey arena, the Arena at Harbor Yard, draws visitors to town with college basketball, minor-league hockey, and concert events. The renovation of the waterfront and other local developments have helped to lure homebuyers wanting to escape the expensive housing market in lower Fairfield County, where median prices are substantially higher than in Bridgeport.

Items and goods produced: transportation equipment, women's underwear, electrical supplies, machinery and machine tools, fabricated metals

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Bridgeport Office of Planning and Economic Development offers a tax incentive development program involving real estate property tax incentives for development projects of $3 million or more. The Bridgeport Economic Resource Center (BERC) helps businesses to identify and access a wide array of business development programs. A partial listing of available incentives includes: Corporate Income & Property Tax exemptions, Corporate Sales Tax exemptions, State and Federal Enterprise Zone Benefits, Utility Benefits, and Brownfields Tax Credits.

Local banks in partnership with a variety of federal, state, and local government programs provide funds for a loan pool geared toward small and mid-sized businesses. Typical loan amounts are $500,000 or less. The Bridgeport Regional Business Council is the designated Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for Bridgeport, serving start-up and small businesses. SBDCs offer technical and management assistance, counseling, education, training programs, and loan packaging.

State programs

The Connecticut Development Authority works to expand Connecticut's business base. Among its many services are: partnering with private-sector organizations to guarantee or participate in loans for businesses that may be unable to meet credit underwriting standards; providing access to lower-cost fixed asset financing through Small Business Administration 504 Debentures and tax-exempt Industrial Revenue Bonds; offering financial incentives to companies that enhance the skills of their employees; and encouraging investment in the state's urban commercial infrastructure.

Bridgeport is part of the U.S. government's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program for redevelopment of abandoned industrial sites, commonly referred to as "brownfields," as part of the overall agenda to attract private investors. Operated by Connecticut Brownfields Redevelopment Authority (CBRA), bonds are sold that provide businesses and developers incentive funds for investment in the designated property. Tax increment financing is available for Brownfields redevelopment.

Connecticut's financial and tax incentives also include grants and tax abatements for firms locating in State Enterprise Zones (for which Bridgeport qualifies; it is also a Foreign Trade Zone as operated by the Bridgeport Port Authority).

Job training programs

Employment training grants, both on- and off-site, and on-the-job training assistance are available through the Connecticut Department of Labor. Community and technical colleges across the state offer job and specialized skill training. The Bridgeport Economic Resource Center (BERC) works with companies to implement Workforce Development Programs and has assisted 43 businesses and trained 275 employees since the initiative's inception.

Development Projects

A virtual plethora of development within Bridgeport is either in progress or on the way with the backing of the Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation (BEDCO). Among these improvements are the $7.4 million Seaview Avenue Industrial Park expansion, $40 million to shift businesses to the Steel Point location, and $9 million for updating historic Seaside Park. In 2002 the Derecktor Shipyards, a repair facility, was constructed at a cost of $2.5 million; the facility occupies 45,000-square-feet and created about 90 new jobs. Downtown is bustling with the City Trust Build-ing's conversion into 120 condo units; the redevelopment of 16 vacant structures into 150,000 square feet of commercial land and 250 residential housing units; and 60,000 square feet of modernized space for a combination of retail, residential, and commercial availability. The 1998 opening of the $19 million Harbor Yard ballpark was enhanced by the 2001 debut of the 10,000-seat hockey/basketball home, the Arena of Harbor Yard. Still under consideration is a proposal for a new state-of-the-art $50 million intermodal transit center to handle assembly of trains, buses, ferries, and highway access in one downtown location.

Economic Development Information: Office of Planning and Economic Development, City Hall Annex, 999 Broad St., Bridgeport, CT 06604; telephone (203)576-7221; fax (203)332-5611; email [email protected] Bridgeport Economic Resource Center, 10 Middle St., Bridgeport, CT 06604-4223; telephone (203)335-1108; fax (203)335-1297; email [email protected]

Commercial Shipping

Bridgeport Harbor is one of three deep-water ports in the state. Its Cilco Terminal is one of New England's busiest deep draft ports; facilities include COMEX, bonded warehousing, and wet and dry storage. Most of the imports processed are perishable goods, and Bridgeport's is the second largest banana port on the East Coast, enabled by its 80,000-square-foot modern refrigerated warehouse. In 2002 the Bridgeport Port Authority used a $2.5 million grant from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to build a 45,000-square-foot assembly facility, the Derecktor Shipyards, a major repair facility and critical to the port's users. Conrail operates a major freight yard nearby. Greater Bridgeport is on the main travel corridor from New York to New England.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Bridgeport boasts a skilled labor force with a relatively high education level; approximately 41 percent of the labor force are college graduates. While population began its decline in the 1980s and continued through 2005, population figures are projected to increase by the year 2020 (to more than 151,000 residents). In 2005 more than 227,000 workers were part of the metropolitan community's workforce. With the town's proximity to larger cities like New York and Boston, more than 25 million people reside and work within a 100-mile radius of Bridgeport.

The city is focusing its efforts on expanding its manufacturing base into the international marketplace, relying on its excellent port facilities and transportation network. Growth in this area is projected primarily for small businesses.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Bridgeport metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 409,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 14,400

manufacturing: 41,800

trade, transportation, and utilities: 74,900

information: 12,100

financial activities: 41,700

professional and business services: 69,600

educational and health services: 59,500

leisure and hospitality: 32,500

other services: 16,800

government: 46,400

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $20.77

Unemployment rate: 4.7% (February 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
Peoples Bank 3,443
St. Vincent Medical Center 1,800
Bridgeport Hospital 1,700
City of Bridgeport 1,493
Lacey Manufacturing Company, Inc. 400
University of Bridgeport 200
Derecktor Shipyard 150

Cost of Living

In the 1980s, property taxes in Bridgeport rose rapidly and budget deficits were commonplace. But by the late 1990s, the city administration of Mayor Ganim was receiving national acclaim for balancing budgets and cutting taxes, including instituting the first back-to-back tax cut in the city's modern history, worth $2.6 million to taxpayers. Housing prices were significantly lower than in the southern part of Fairfield County.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Bridgeport area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $614,691

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 153.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 3.0% to 5.0%

State sales tax rate: 6.0% (some items are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: 38.99 mills per $1,000 of actual value (2004)

Economic Information: State of Connecticut, Labor Department, 200 Folly Brook Blvd., Wethersfield, CT 06109-1114; telephone (860)263-6000

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Bridgeport: History

English Settlers Establish New Community

Pequonnock River Mouth Site of Village Bridgeport, situated on a commodious harbor and river estuary, was the site of at least five Native American villages and in 1659 became the site of Connecticut's first Indian reservation. The trading port of Black Rock was settled by the English in 1644, and farming communities at Stratfield and Pembroke by 1660. The city's present territory was then part of the adjoining towns of Fairfield and Stratford.

In 1765, white settlers paid the Pequonnocks to leave, and at the start of the Revolutionary War, some dozen families lived in the town. The townsfolk subsisted by farming, seaborne trading, and whaling and sealing. When Connecticut achieved statehood in 1788, about 100 settlers lived in Bridgeport.

Around 1760, commercial wharves were built on Bridgeport Harbor on the site of the present downtown. Farmers from inland towns brought their farm products to trade for imported goods, and packet boats ran to New York, Boston, and southern ports. One of the earliest merchants was Captain Stephen Burroughs, who was to invent America's decimal monetary system as a replacement for British pounds and shillings.

By the dawn of the new century, the port was thriving, and in 1800 the Borough of Bridgeport was incorporated as the first government of its kind in the state. In 1802 urban expansion caused the removal of the Golden Hill Indians from the last of their downtown reservation lands. Bridgeport became an independent town in 1821 and was soon home to major woolen mill complex and the center for saddle-making on the American continent. The year of its incorporation as a city, 1836, saw the building of one of the country's first railroads north to Albany to intercept trade goods coming east on the Erie Canal.

In 1847 the city became the home of Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum, museum owner, circus founder, and promotional genius. Barnum toured Europe with Bridgeport native "General Tom Thumb" and brought "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind, to see the splendor of his Oriental-styled mansion. He extended his talents to the development of his adopted city. In 1849 Mountain Grove Cemetery was laid out as a monumental sculpture garden based on an English precedent. In 1851 East Bridgeport was developed as a planned residential and manufacturing suburb radiating out from a five-acre central square. Seaside Park, known as the nation's first marine "rural" park, was completed in 1865 by a design team led by Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the men responsible for New York's Central Park.

Industry Shapes Bridgeport's Future

Bridgeport was the home of America's sewing machine industry in the years following the Civil War, and manufacturing continued to be a mainstay of the local economy. The greatest population surge came between 1896 and 1910 when the city swelled from under 50,000 people to more than 100,000. The influx of immigrants seeking factory jobs grew to include some 60 different ethnic groups. Later arrivals included Puerto Ricans, the largest concentration of whom settled on the city's east side.

During the late 1800s, the city was a leader in the production of rifles, corsets, typewriters, organs and pianos, and brass goods. At the beginning of the twentieth century, automobile and submarine manufacture became important. But the most pivotal industry of the city's historyarmamentstook off with the commencement of World War I in 1914. Estimates are that during that terrible conflict, Bridgeport made more than two-thirds of the ordinance utilized by both sides in the conflict. The "Russian Rifle" Plant of the Union Metallic Cartridge Company, built to produce 37,500 guns for the troops of Czar Nicholas II, was the largest factory every built in America up to that time.

During the 1920s, the city became a major force in the newly developing aircraft industry. Immigrants who poured into Bridgeport included Igor Sikorsky, who produced flying boats and invented and flew the first helicopter locally. Bridgeporters coped with the Great Depression by electing Socialist Jasper McLevy as mayor during the 1930s, and he retained the office for 24 years. World War II and the ensuring Cold War saw the nation's dependency on the defense industry escalate. During the last two decades of the twentieth century, the city lost many of its one-time industrial giants to out-of-state and foreign competition.

Entering a New Century with New Goals

Today's Bridgeport is a city of diverse ethnic neighborhoods and significant historic architecture. The city has more than 3,000 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, more than any other Connecticut municipality. In the late 1990s, the Bridgeport Housing Authority (BHA) implemented several programs to revitalize many of the city's decaying neighborhoods. During the time when the city was a thriving manufacturing center, many housing units were built for its factory workers. The houses, including those in housing developments, began to deteriorate when jobs began disappearing in the 1960s. By 2000, the BHA had redeveloped abandoned housing all over Bridgeport, including a number of single-family homes in three different parts of the city, with federal financial assistance. In 2005, 600 units of downtown housing are in the planning phase and 800 more are being forecast for the future.

In 2003 the city was rocked by the corruption scandal of longtime mayor Joseph P. Ganim who left office at a time of the city's initial stages of resurgence. He was convicted of racketeering, extortion, and bribery and sentenced to imprisonment for nine years. The city rebounded under the guidance of new mayor, John M. Fabrizi, who has worked with city council members to stabilize the fiscal status of the community while aggressively pursuing new economic development highlighted by a mammoth $2 billion in public and private investments.

While Bridgeport has witnessed dramatic population decreases since the 1980s, the numbers are projected to steadily increase from 2005 through 2020 by the Connecticut Office of Policy & Management. And although Connecticut Magazine scored Bridgeport in 2003 as the lowest of 17 major cities within the state in terms of education, crime, and economic condition, the positive growth and active economic planning have infused the community with hopes for prosperous times ahead.

Historical Information: Bridgeport Public Library, Historical Collections, 925 Broad St., Bridgeport, CT 06604; telephone (203)576-7417; fax (203)576-8255

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Bridgeport: Recreation


Visitors can experience Bridgeport's colonial past on a narrated boat tour of historic Black Rock Harbor and Long Island Sound. Captain's Cove Seaport, an amusement and maritime center along the harbor, is home to the HMS Rose, a replica of a Revolutionary War era 24-gun frigate. Captain's Cove also offers shopping along a seaside boardwalk and a 350-slip marina. Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo, the state's only zoo, is open year-round and features to its quarter-million annual visitors more than 300 animals including some that are rare or endangered species from North and South America.

Arts and Culture

Much of Bridgeport's performing arts activity takes place at the 1,400-seat Klein Memorial Auditorium, including performances by the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, a regionally acclaimed professional orchestra, as well as performances by touring troupes and artists. Formed in 1961, the Greater Bridgeport Youth Symphony is made up of four performing ensembles, the Principal, the Symphony, the Concert, and the String Orchestra. As part of these groups, young musicians from the area, led by three conductors and six coaches, present concerts throughout the year. The Arena at Harbor Yard, constructed in 2001, provides a 10,000-seat venue for larger-scale musical concerts, children's shows, and other performances.

The Cabaret Theatre features the resident musical Downtown Cabaret Theatre group and the Cabaret Children's Company since 1983. The Playhouse on the Green (formerly Polka Dot Playhouse) is Bridgeport's oldest theatrical treasure, offering year-round professional theater in a 228-seat state-of-the-art theater located in the heart of Bridgeport's revitalized downtown.

Opened in 1893, the Barnum Museum displays artifacts relating to P.T. Barnum, "General Tom Thumb," Lavinia Warren, Jenny Lind, and a host of clowns. Displays concerning Bridgeport's industrial era, as well as a 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy, a two-headed calf, and a hand-carved miniature circus complete with 5,000 figures are also featured. The Discovery Museum and Planetarium, an interactive and educational museum of art and physical science, features the duPont Planetarium, the Challenger Learning Center (dedicated to the astronauts who perished in the space shuttle tragedy in 1986) and interactive exhibits that teach the principles of physical science. A gallery of changing art exhibits, films, and children's programs rounds out the offerings, which are visited by 68,000 guests annually.

The Housatonic Museum of Art specializes in nineteenth-and twentieth-century European and American art, as well as contemporary and African and Asian ethnographic art.

Festivals and Holidays

A major regional attraction is the annual Barnum Festival and the Great Street Parade, which is held each summer. The 10-day celebration draws thousands of people for the Grucci Fireworks show "Skyblast," Champions on Parade and other events. The summer also offers water enthusiasts the St. Vincent's "Swim Across the Sound," a multi-event swimming marathon, a sailing regatta, and the WICC Bluefish Tournament, which draws fishermen from across the United States in search of the heaviest Bluefish. The University of Bridgeport's International Festival, held in April, highlights the cuisines and entertainment of more than 30 cultures. Meanwhile, Christmas time is aglow with the "Park City Lights" in Beardsley Park.

Sports for the Spectator

The Shoreline Star Greyhound Park Entertainment Complex features live parimutuel greyhound racing from mid-May through Mid-October, and year-round simulcast wagering on thoroughbred, harness, and greyhound tracks from around the country. The Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball club is an independent minor league team that plays at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard, constructed in 1998, where the games provide area residents with affordable family entertainment. The Arena at Harbor Yard was built in 2001 and seats about 10,000 for the American Hockey League's (AHL) Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who began playing in 2001 as the top affiliate of the National Hockey League's (NHL) New York Islanders. The arena also plays host to the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Fairfield University Stags' men's basketball team.

Sports for the Participant

Bridgeport, known as the "Park City" for maintaining nearly an acre of park land per 1,000 residents (more than 1,360 acres total), features the historic Seaside Park located on three miles of shoreline and offering fishing, baseball and softball, picnicking, and tennis. The city features 32 public parks, two dozen playgrounds, 40 tennis courts, and an 18-hole golf course. Pleasure Beach, formerly a huge draw in the area, has remained inaccessible since a devastating fire in 1996 destroyed the connecting bridge; city planners have actively been pursuing funding to restore it. The Ocean View Skate Park offers a variety of ramps highlighted by a spectacular coastal view; the Wonderland of Ice offers public skating and hockey leagues and instruction. The Berkshire Rail Spur Trail is a 1.6 mile bicycling trail that follows a defunct rail line.

Shopping and Dining

Unique items are available at Bridgeport's Barnum Museum and Discovery Museum and Planetarium. There are many large malls within 40 miles of the city including Trumbull Shopping Park, Hawley Lane Mall, and the Dock, all located in the greater Bridgeport area. Nearby Fairfield offers a classic shopping area around its green, and antiquing can be enjoyed at the nearby Stratford Antiques Center, and throughout all of picturesque Fairfield County.

The Bridgeport area offers a wide variety of dining experiences, ranging from Bridgeport's "Little Italy," to seafood restaurants both in Bridgeport and in nearby Stratford; many overlook Long Island Sound. The downtown area boasts some excellent lunch spots, and fine cuisine is available throughout the area.

Visitor Information: Coastal Fairfield County Convention & Visitor Bureau, 297 West Ave., Norwalk, CT 06850; telephone (203)853-7770; toll-free (800)866-7925; fax (203)853-7775; email [email protected] Connecticut Office of Tourism, 505 Hudson St., Hartford, CT 06106-7106; toll-free (800)CTBOUND.

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Bridgeport: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Although in the late 1990s, the city announced investments of $250 million for modern buildings, classes for universal preschool, smaller classroom sizes, and broader access to computers and the Internet; by 2005 these initiatives had yet to materialize. The school district has suffered as a result with six buildings that are over a century old and 14 others at more than 50 years old. Further, the Board of Education was forced to trim its annual budget by 10 percent, or about $4.5 million, in the 20042005 fiscal year.

Bridgeport's public school system offers special education and handicapped services, as well as an adult education program in the evening. A magnet school program offers special opportunities for above-average students. The system includes two alternative schools and one special education facility.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Bridgeport public school system as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 22,730

Number of facilities

elementary/middle schools: 30

senior high schools: 3

other: 3

Student/teacher ratio: 14.7 (20032004)

Teacher salaries (20032004) minimum: $38,604 maximum: $72,440

Funding per pupil: $5,909 (20042005)

Many parochial elementary schools and one parochial high school supplement the public school system. Private nursery schools, technical schools, and the college-preparatory University (High) School round out the city's education offerings for children.

Public Schools Information: Bridgeport Public Schools, 45 Lyon Terrace, Rm. 203, Bridgeport, CT 06604; telephone (203)576-7301; fax (203)576-8488

Colleges and Universities

Founded in 1927, the University of Bridgeportwith about 3,200 undergraduate and around 1,500 graduate studentsoffers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in liberal arts and professional fields and includes the only program in chiropractic and naturopathic medicine in the state. Sacred Heart University, a Catholic liberal arts college in Fairfield, enrolls 4,300 undergraduate and 1,800 graduate students and represents New England's second largest Catholic university. Fairfield University, a Jesuit institution, provides its 5,000 students with bachelor's and master's degrees with a concentration on liberal arts, education, and nursing. Bridgeport Engineering Institute in Stamford employs a work-study approach in awarding engineering degrees. Housatonic Community College trains many of the area's semiprofessional and technical workers. St. Vincent's College, a two-year co-ed facility, offers degrees in health care fields and initiated an online distance education program in the fall of 2005.

Libraries and Research Centers

With nearly 450,000 volumes and four locations, Bridge-port's is one of the largest library systems in the state. The library also has about 880 audiotapes, around 16,500 video materials, and 1,000 periodical subscriptions. Special collections include an extensive business and technology section and a collection of local history, with a focus on P.T. Barnum and circus memorabilia. The library's special interests also include art and architecture, and literature. It is a federal depository for U.S. Government publications.

Other local library facilities include the law library of the State of Connecticut (Bridgeport Branch), and two medical libraries. The Magnus Wahlstrom Library at the University of Bridgeport houses approximately 270,000 volumes along with one million microforms, 1,200 serials, and access to about 7,400 electronic books via online subscriptions. Other research and library facilities in Bridgeport include the Center for the Study of Aging at the University of Bridgeport, and the Connecticut Department of Children and Families' Library. The Connecticut Information Technology Institute, also at the university, is a joint venture between industry and education to help inventors and entrepreneurs in high-tech operations.

Public Library Information: Bridgeport Public Library, 925 Broad St., Bridgeport, CT 06604-4871; telephone (203)576-7403

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BRIDGEPORT , largest city in the state of Connecticut, U.S. A handful of Central and West European Jews, part of what is known as the German migration, settled in the city in the mid-19th century. A much larger migration of Jews from Eastern Europe began in 1881. In addition to the predominance of Russian and Polish Jews, a large number came from Hungary and gave Bridgeport proportionately one of the most sizeable Hungarian Jewish populations in America. The city had a Hungarian neighborhood that housed Jews and non-Jews from Hungary. The city's general population also reflects this ethnic distribution. In the mid-20th century, most Bridgeport Jews were self-employed, in retail and wholesale business, manufacturing, and the professions. By the end of the 20th century, the movement into the professions was dominant. Their economic standing is higher than the average in the city and the surrounding surburbs. Migration to the suburbs began in the 1950s and continued unabated though some Jewish institutions have remained in the city. Most Bridgeport-area Jews live in Fairfield, Stratford, Trumbull, Easton, Shelton, Monroe, Redding, and Huntington as well as in one enclave within Bridgeport proper. As a result of the suburban migration, the Jewish Federation is known as the Federation of Eastern Fairfield County. There are five separate Federations within the County: Westport, Greenwich, Stamford, Danbury, and Eastern Fairfield.

In the early 21st century there were 10 congregations in greater Eastern Fairfield County, which is now synonymous with greater Bridgeport – three Orthodox, five Conservative, one Reform, and one Humanistic, which is the only synagogue community not to have its own facility. Three rabbis served their congregations for many decades; Conservative rabbis Israel Stein and Leon Waldman and Orthodox rabbi Moshe Epstein. In the mid-20th century, long-serving Rabbi Harry Nelson established Conservative congregation Rodeph Shalom as a dominant regional institution.

In 1996 the Jewish Community Center and the Federation merged to become one organization: the Jewish Center for Community Services. For recreational and fundraising purposes a separate identity is sometimes used but the community supports a Jewish Home for the Elderly; Jewish Family Service; a Modern Orthodox day school called Hillel Academy, along with a family and children's agency. The Torah Institute of Connecticut, which is a post-high school program, is also based in Bridgeport. The Jewish population of greater Bridgeport was 12,000 in 2005, a decline of some 20% from the figure in 1968. There is more westward migration and movement down the coast toward New York as socioeconomic conditions are more favorable the closer one is to New York.

[Eli Kornreich (2nd ed.)]

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Bridgeport: Health Care

With two major hospitals and a mental health center within the city limits, Bridgeport is the health care center of Fairfield County. Bridgeport Hospital is a full-service community hospital and teaching institution serving the greater Bridgeport area and Fairfield County. The hospital is a tertiary-level hospital (highest level) with the staff and facilities to treat the most critically ill patients who are often referred from other hospitals, and is also designated a Level I Trauma Center (highest level), one of four in the state of Connecticut. The 425-bed facility is known as a leader in health care and for its specialties and innovative services. Special programs include a regional open heart center; a cancer center, which offers comprehensive diagnostic, treatment, education and support services for cancer patients; a regional center for low and high-risk births; the region's most comprehensive newborn intensive care unit, the P.T. Barnum Pediatric Center; the only burn center with dedicated beds between Boston and New York; a joint reconstruction center; comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care for multiple trauma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, arthritis and other disorders; and a community wellness and health education program.

St. Vincent's Medical Center is a modern, 397-bed acute care hospital offering more than 50 specialty and sub-specialty medical and surgical disciplines. Centers of excellence comprise cardiovascular disease including angioplasty and coronary artery bypass surgery; cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support; joint replacement including total knee, hip and shoulder; and women's services including a contemporary maternity center along with a Women's Imaging Center (opened June 2004) for mammograms, ultrasounds, and bone density services. St. Vincent's also is a designated Level II Trauma Center and has a landing pad for medical helicopters. It is affiliated with two medical schoolsColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York Medical College, and participates in international research programs. The Greater Bridgeport Community Mental Health Center has 62 licensed beds and provides a 24-hour crisis service along with a variety of additional recovery programs.

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Bridgeport: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1990: 441,952

2000: 459,479

Percent change, 19902000: 3.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: 1st (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 1st (CMSA)

City Residents

1980: 142,546

1990: 141,686

2000: 139,529

2003 estimate: 139,664

Percent change, 19902000: -1.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 110th

U.S. rank in 1990: 123rd

U.S. rank in 2000: 172nd (State rank: 1st)

Density: 8,720.9 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 62,822

Black or African American: 42,925

American Indian and Alaska Native: 664

Asian: 4,536

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 148

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 44,478

Other: 20,659

Percent of residents born in state: 50.4% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 11,397

Population 5 to 9 years old: 11,489

Population 10 to 15 years old: 10,696

Population 15 to 19 years old: 10,445

Population 20 to 24 years old: 11,207

Population 25 to 34 years old: 22,147

Population 35 to 44 years old: 20,463

Population 45 to 54 years old: 15,466

Population 55 to 59 years old: 5,576

Population 60 to 64 years old: 4,621

Population 65 to 74 years old: 7,743

Population 75 to 84 years old: 6,071

Population 85 years and over: 2,198

Median age: 31.4 years (2000)

Births (2001)

Total number: 2,268

Deaths (2001)

Total number: 1,260 (of which, 23 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $16,306

Median household income: $34,658

Total households: 50,305

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 7,643

$10,000 to $14,999: 3,865

$15,000 to $24,999: 7,202

$25,000 to $34,999: 6,621

$35,000 to $49,999: 8,573

$50,000 to $74,999: 8,764

$75,000 to $99,999: 3,955

$100,000 to $149,999: 2,698

$150,000 to $199,999: 555

$200,000 or more: 429

Percent of families below poverty level: 16.2% (40.5% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 8,551

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Bridgeport: Introduction
Bridgeport: Geography and Climate
Bridgeport: History
Bridgeport: Population Profile
Bridgeport: Municipal Government
Bridgeport: Economy
Bridgeport: Education and Research
Bridgeport: Health Care
Bridgeport: Recreation
Bridgeport: Convention Facilities
Bridgeport: Transportation
Bridgeport: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1639 (incorporated, 1836)

Head Official: Mayor John Michael Fabrizi (D) (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 142,546

1990: 141,686

2000: 139,529

2003 estimate: 139,664

Percent change, 19902000: -1.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 110th

U.S. rank in 1990: 123rd

U.S. rank in 2000: 172nd (State rank: 1st)

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1990: 441,952

2000: 459,479

Percent change, 19902000: 3.5%

U.S. rank in 1990: 1st (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 1st (CMSA)

Area: 19.4 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 25 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 51.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 15.5 inches of rain; 26.2 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Manufacturing, trade, government, services

Unemployment Rate: 4.7% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $16,306 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 8,551

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Bridgeport; Sacred Heart University; Fairfield University; Bridgeport Engineering Institute

Daily Newspaper: The Connecticut Post

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Bridgeport: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Bridgeport's daily, The Connecticut Post, is published every morning. Other newspapers in the city include the monthly Fairfield County Catholic, published by the Diocese of Bridgeport, and the Bridgeport News, which publishes weekly.

Television and Radio

Bridgeport has one public television station, and one cable franchise. However, the city receives New York City stations as well. Two AM and two FM radio stations broadcast from Bridgeport. Connecticut Radio Information Service, headquartered in Wethersfield, broadcasts readings from daily newspapers and magazines for the benefit of state residents who are blind or cannot hold or turn pages.

Media Information: Connecticut Post, 410 State St., Bridgeport, CT 06604; telephone (203)333-0161 or 800-423-8058; fax (203)367-8158

Bridgeport Online

Bridgeport Economic Resource Center. Available

Bridgeport Hospital. Available

Bridgeport Public Library. Available

Bridgeport Public Schools. Available

City of Bridgeport Home Page. Available

Coastal Fairfield County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available

Connecticut Development Authority. Available

Connecticut Office of Tourism. Available

The Connecticut Post. Available

St. Vincent's Medical Center. Available

State of Connecticut Labor Department. Available

University of Bridgeport. Available

Selected Bibliography

Grimaldi, Lennie, Only in Bridgeport 2000: An Illustrated History of the Park City (Bridgeport: Harbor Publishing, 2000)

Howard, Maureen, Natural History (New York: Norton) Bridgeport Economic Resource Center

Waldo, George Curtis, Jr., ed., History of Bridgeport and Vicinity (New York, Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1917)

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Bridgeport: Transportation

Approaching the City

Bridgeport's city-owned Sikorsky Memorial Airport is 10 minutes from downtown (in Stratford). The airport serves the corporate and general aviation communities. The Tweed New Haven Regional Airport is about 25 miles northeast of Bridgeport and offers daily flights from two major airlines, Delta and U.S. Airways. Extensive domestic and international service is available from the New York City airports, about 60 miles away.

Both Amtrak, with at least 14 daily stops, and Metro-North, with 63 daily stops, offer rail service into Bridgeport, as do major bus lines such as Greyhound and Peter Pan. An automobile ferry runs between Bridgeport and Port Jefferson outside of New York City and carries nearly 900,000 passengers annually.

Major east-west routes include Connecticut 15 (the Merritt Parkway) and I-95 (the Connecticut Turnpike, that carries about 200,000 vehicles per day). North-south arteries include Connecticut Route 8 to the northeast and Connecticut Route 25 to the northwest.

Traveling in the City

Bridgeport's streets fan out to the north from the waterfront. The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority (GBTA) operates 16 fixed routes in the city and environs on weekdays and includes paratransit services; reduced services are offered on weekends.

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