Danbury: Economy

views updated May 17 2018

Danbury: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Danbury's local economy is diverse, with services, manufacturing, retail, and trade as the leading components. Major non-manufacturing sectors are services; wholesale and retail trade; and finance, insurance, and real estate. Retail trade is an integral contributor to the local economy, centered on the 1.3-million-square-foot Danbury Fair Mall. The central downtown business district continues to prosper under the guidance of CityCenter Danbury, an organization designed for the revitalization of the area. Within the district, industries such as banking, law, government, and insurance employ about 5,500 workers.

Items and goods produced: surgical instruments and supplies, electronic and railroad testing equipment, silverware, aluminum foil, aircraft parts, rubber tile, air conditioning equipment, steam generators, plastics, glue, textiles, and ball and roller bearings

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

Site selection, technology, and local development assistance is available through the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, which functions as the designated Small Business Development Center (SBDC) for Danbury, serving start-up and small businesses. SBDCs offer technical and management assistance, counseling, education, training programs, and loan packaging. The Housatonic Valley Economic Development Partnership (HVEDP) assists new business owners by providing information, forms, and training. Since 2000, Danbury has administered a program that provides personal property tax relief for local businesses, their computer equipment, and peripherals. The city also offers deferral of assessments on improvements to real property for up to seven years, free sewer and water use for one year, as well as a tax abatement program that affords relief of up to $1,250 of real property tax per quarter for properties that are cleared of environmental contamination. The Greater Danbury Chapter of SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), supported by the Small Business Association (SBA) assists small businesses by giving free advice on writing business plans and obtaining financing.

State programs

The Connecticut Development Authority works to expand Connecticut's business base by providing loans and revenue bond financing for manufacturing, research and development, and other facilities. 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.

Connecticut Innovations (CI) provides capital and grants to assist in the development and marketing of new products and processes. Established in 1989 it has fed more than $133 million into high-technology companies within the state since 1995. Initially funded by state bonds, it now operates on investment profits.

Job training programs

Employment training grants, both on- and off-site, and on-the-job training assistance is available through the Connecticut Department of Labor. Community and technical colleges across the state offer job and specialized skill training. Several organizations in the immediate region help prepare a well-trained workforce by providing on-site training. Municipal libraries in the region provide free Internet training to businesses while the Housatonic Valley Economic Development Partnership (HVEDP) offers free resources and referrals. Partnering with the state's Department of Labor (DOL), the Danbury Connecticut Works program extends services such as workshops, career counseling, and employment referrals.

Development Projects

In 2001 the construction of the Danbury Ice Arena sparked much activity such as a new minor league hockey team, local hockey leagues, and public skating. The city's largest employer, Danbury Hospital, is scheduled in 2006 to open an outpatient diagnostic building occupying about 60,000 square feet. Western Connecticut State University has several projects either in process or recently completed, highlighted by the $5.2 million athletic complex on more than 18,000 square feet of land (built in 2004), the $48 million high-tech science building on about 122,000 square feet (finished in 2005), and a performance arts center slated for development in 2007 on 140,000 square feet.

On the industry side, Boehringer-Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) announced in December 2004 their $500-million expansion with an anticipated job growth of 500 to 700 positions.

Economic Development Information: Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, 39 West St., Danbury, CT 06810; telephone (203)743-5565; fax (203)794-1439; email [email protected] Housatonic Valley Economic Development Partnership, Old Town Hall, Rte. 25, Brookfield, CT 05804; telephone (203)775-6256; fax (203)740-9167; email [email protected]

Commercial Shipping

Danbury is located on major highways I-84 and U.S. Route 7. Metro-North, connecting the city with the New Haven line at East Norwalk, provides rail freight service. Freight movement from the region throughout the east coast is excellent. One-day service by motor freight is possible from the populous Portland, Maine to Washington, D.C. markets.

Labor Force

Danbury's workers are skilled and versatile, and area students demonstrate a high level of computer literacy. Its citizens are highly educated with about 27 percent having a bachelor's degree or higher.

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

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 68,600

Number of workers employed in . . .

trade, transportation, and utilities: 15,800

information: 12,100

professional and business services: 69,600

wholesale and retail trade: 8,300

leisure and hospitality: 5,200

government: 7,800

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $16.04

Unemployment rate: 3.7% (April 2005)

Largest employersNumber of employees
Danbury Hospital3,000
Cendant Mobility2,200
Union Carbide1,500
Western Connecticut State University848
Danbury Public Schools678
G.E. Capitalnot reported
Scholastic Library Publishingnot reported

Cost of Living

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

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

State income tax rate: graduated 3% to 5% on adjusted gross income

State sales tax rate: 6% (some items are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: 24.86 mills per $1,000 of actual value (20042005)

Economic Information: Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, 39 West St., Danbury, CT 06810; telephone (203)743-5565; fax (203)794-1439; email [email protected] State of Connecticut, Department of Economic & Community Development, 505 Hudson St., Hartford, CT 06106-7107; telephone (860)270-8000; email [email protected]

Danbury: Recreation

views updated May 11 2018

Danbury: Recreation


Danbury's most famous sight is the Danbury Museum and Historical Society which includes two historic buildings, 1785 Rider House and 1790 John Dodd Hat Shop. Rider House, former home of a carpenter and cabinetmaker, displays tools and period furnishings. Dodd Hat Shop recreates the early and modern hatting history of the city. Danbury is the birthplace of composer Charles Ives, whose house has been fully restored and is open to the public. The Tarrywile Park and Mansion offers 21 miles of hiking, nature workshops, and special events on its 654-acre historic building and land preserve. The Military Museum of Southern New England, opened in 1985, displays an extensive collection of anti-tank weapons and World War II military vehicles. Artifacts of railroad history can be viewed at the Danbury Railway Museum, located in the restored Danbury Union Station. Vintage railroad equipment is on view in the adjacent rail yard and railroad excursions are available. Stew Leonard's unique dairy-grocery store is listed in the Guinness Book of Records and was once dubbed by the New York Times as "the Disneyland of dairy stores."

An immense monument at Wooster Cemetery commemorates the contributions of General David Wooster, whose hero's death in the American Revolution battle to remove the British from Danbury is said to have been the highlight of his military career. The composer Charles Ives is also buried there.

Arts and Culture

Visitors to Danbury are entertained by a variety of musical concerts performed at the Charles Ives Center for the Arts at Western Connecticut State University, most commonly during the summer months. The center presents a seasonal schedule of world-renowned artists, pop, jazz, and folk stars. Concerts are presented at the Danbury Music Centre (DMC) in Marian Anderson Recital Hall. It is the home to Danbury's symphony, string, and community orchestras along with a concert chorus. The Wooster Community Art Center (WCAC) provides visual art classes and monthly fine art exhibits year-round.

The Danbury Theatre Company performs in the St. James Church Auditorium while the Berkshire Theatre is located on the Western Connecticut State University campus. Musicals at Richter (MAR) holds the title of the state's longest-running outdoor theater and presents three shows during the summer at Richter Art Center.

Festivals and Holidays

Danbury celebrates the Fourth of July with music and fireworks at the Charles Ives Center for the Arts at Western Connecticut State University. CityCenter Danbury has its annual "Summertime Festival" for six weeks from mid-July to the end of August featuring orchestra performances, theatrical productions, family shows, and a eclectic set of musical concerts. Food is the focus during "Taste of Greater Danbury," held on CityCenter Green in September. For Halloween at the Danbury Railway Museum visitors can ride a vintage train to select a pumpkin from their special pumpkin patch; CityCenter also hosts a celebration with music and children's games. Christmastime kicks off with a downtown holiday tree lighting ceremony and the traditional Nutcracker Ballet performance at the Danbury Music Centre (DMC) along with a Santa train ride at the Danbury Railway Museum. Rounding out the year is First Night Danbury, a non-alcoholic family celebration held on New Year's Eve.

Sports for the Spectator

The minor league hockey team, the Danbury Trashers, began play in fall 2004 for the United Hockey League (UHL) and plays from October through May at the new Danbury Ice Arena, constructed in 2001. The athletics department at Western Connecticut State University brings the area a wide variety of sports to view. Among the 14 intercollegiate programs are football and men's and women's basketball, soccer, and volleyball. All are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division III and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) while the football team belongs to the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Sports for the Participant

The Housatonic River, located near Danbury, is noted for the scenic beauty to be seen along its shores, and fishing for trout and salmon on the river is a popular pastime. Fishing is also done at Lake Kenosia. While much of the 5,420-acre Candlewood Lake's shore property (60 miles) is privately owned, public beaches and marinas are located lake. Created in 1929, it is one of the country's largest manmade lakes and represents the state's largest body of water. Squantz Pond recreation area, located about 10 miles north of Danbury, offers facilities for picnickers, anglers, boaters, hikers, swimmers, bicyclists, and winter sports enthusiasts. Wooster Mountain State Park offers part of its site to skeet shooters; the remainder of the undeveloped area is open for wilderness walks.

Richter Park offers an 18-hole golf course along with hiking while the 58-acre Rogers Park has baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, and children's playgrounds. Ice skating is available at the Danbury Ice Arena for adult and children's hockey leagues, public skating, and classes.

Shopping and Dining

Danbury's largest shopping center is also New England's largest, a mall known as Danbury Fair, and offers more than 240 shops and many restaurants on the 200-acre site of the former Danbury Fairgrounds. The mall presents an Antiques and Collectibles Show in May; other such shows are scheduled in the city throughout the year. Meeker's Hardware store in Danbury is the only hardware store on the National Register of Historic Places.

The small towns and rural areas surrounding Danbury are famous for antiques and art galleries selling the works of local artists. Crafts and casual clothing may also be found.

Danbury's restaurants cover a wide range from casual bistros, steakhouses, and seafood restaurants, to a variety of ethnic establishments serving Italian, Thai, Lebanese, Chinese, Greek, Hungarian, Dominican, and Columbian cuisine with about 20 establishments in the downtown area.

Visitor Information: The Northwest CT Convention & Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06813; telephone (860)567-4506; fax (860)567-5214; email [email protected]

Danbury: History

views updated Jun 27 2018

Danbury: History

From Beans to Revolution to Hats

English settlers moving north from Norwalk took root in Danbury in 1685 and called it Swampfield though this was short-lived. Renamed Danbury in 1687 after a town in England, it was nicknamed Beantown for the beans and other vegetables that grew prolifically there, which were carted over a primitive road to be traded in Norwalk.

Danbury functioned during the American Revolution as a storage and warehouse point for patriot arms and supplies. In April 1777, British General Tryon was dispatched there to attack the city, which had received advance word of the raid but was able to round up only about 250 militia to defend itself against a British force of some 2,000 men. General Tryon captured the town and set his men to destroying patriot homes. The troops came upon stores of rum and began consuming it. Fearful that the American militia was gathering to block his way to his ships to the south of the city, Tryon ordered his drunken men out of Danbury, where they were attacked by troops led by Benedict Arnold and General David Wooster. British troops did manage to reach their ships but suffered many casualties.

The first hatmaker of record in Danbury was Zadoc Benedict, who founded a firm in 1780 that turned out three hats a day. By 1800 Danbury had emerged as a U.S. center for the manufacture of hats, part of a Connecticut pattern of factories being established in small villages rather than large industrial cities. By 1887 the city's 30 factories were turning out about five million hats a year, and Hat City became its nickname. Danbury continued to be a national center for the production of hats until the beginning of the twentieth century, when the fashion for the stiff fur derby hats produced there changed to a demand for softer hats. It is speculated that the automobile was the reason for this change in fashionthe stiff derbies would blow off in the wind. Following World War II men began to go hatless, and the industry went into a further decline from which it never recovered.

Danbury also became famous for the Danbury Fair, which originated in 1821 and by 1869 had become an annual event. The fair brought farm folk with a week's supply of food in their wagons together with city slickers for livestock and agricultural displays and competitions. Discontinued in 1981, a shopping mall now occupies the former fairgrounds.

The coming of the railroad in the 1830s (running by 1852) brought whole crews of Irish workers to Danbury, where a Roman Catholic church was built and distinctly Irish neighborhoods grew up.

From Hats to Diversified Industry, Corporate Headquarters

Although hatmaking has almost disappeared in Danbury, industry has grown rapidly there to the extent that the area is more heavily industrialized than any other labor market in Connecticut, the reverse of a trend being experienced elsewhere in the country. Beginning in the 1970s corporate headquarters leaving New York City caused explosive growth in Danbury's population, which expanded by more than 19 percent between 1970 and 1980. The I-84 corridor east of Danbury to Southbury saw an 80.3 percent increase in population. A slow yet steady shift in population to these rural areas of the state continues.

Forecasts foresee no end in Danbury's population growth. The economic development of the area has been a critical goal of the city leaders and their efforts can be witnessed in organizations such as CityCenter Danbury, which focuses on the prosperity of the downtown area. In 2004, CityCenter Danbury oversaw $18 million in public and private investments. Mayor Mark D. Boughton stated in his 20052006 annual budget that Danbury is "on the rise" with its success anchored by a high quality of life, a solid educational system, and vast recreational and cultural opportunities. The city's strengths are recognized by its sixth place ranking among Connecticut's 17 major cities by Connecticut Magazine in 2004 in terms of education, crime, and economic condition.

Historical Information: Danbury Museum & Historical Society, 43 Main St., Danbury, CT 06810; telephone (203)743-5200

Danbury: Education and Research

views updated May 21 2018

Danbury: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Danbury Board of Education, comprised of 11 elected representatives serving unpaid two- or four-year terms, is the district's policy-making body. The school system supports an Alternative Center for Education, before and after school programs, the "Summit" programs for gifted and talented students, the Elementary Technology Program, and special education classes. The Danbury School and Business Collaborative (DSABC) offers special programs such as mentors/tutors from the business community, job shadowing, scholarships, opportunities for high school students to earn high school and college credits simultaneously, and bilingual studies. The city also has 10 nonpublic schools.

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

Total enrollment: 9,505

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 13

junior high/middle schools: 2

senior high schools: 1

other: 1

Student/teacher ratio: 14:1

Teacher salaries (20042005)

minimum: $37,087

maximum: $80,354

Funding per pupil: $5,921 (20042005)

Public Schools Information: Danbury Public Schools, Administrative Center, 63 Beaver Brook Rd., Danbury, CT 06810; telephone (203)797-4701

Colleges and Universities

Western Connecticut State University has consistently been rated as "Competitive plus" by Barron's Profiles of American Colleges, based on the ratio of full-time PhD professors to part-time faculty. The university, with two campuses and nearly 5,900 students enrolled in full- and part-time graduate and undergraduate programs, grants bachelor's degrees in business, arts and sciences, and professional studies. It also maintains a planetarium and operates a radio station.

Libraries and Research Centers

Danbury Public Library, founded in 1879, holds about 92,085 books, 311 periodicals, about 1,500 CDs, over 5,000 videos, and nearly 250 CD-ROMs. Western Connecticut State University's Ruth A. Haas Library holds nearly 174,000 volumes as well as about 5,400 periodicals, music scores, and tapes. Special collections focus on county and state history, music education, and teacher education. The University also operates the Robert S. Young Business Library with 5,800 volumes and 320 periodicals and is a U.S. government documents depository. Danbury Museum and Historical Society's research library specializes in American antiques and genealogy. Law and related topics are the focus at the Law Library at Danbury Courthouse, Department of Justice Centralized Library of the Federal Correctional Institution, and Union Carbide's Law Department Library; a library is also maintained by Danbury Hospital. The NeuroCommunication Research Laboratories, Inc. specializes in neurological diseases, psychology, and dermatology and also includes a library while the Clinical Research Center of CT/NY performs clinical trials involving rheumatology.

Public Library Information: Danbury Public Library, 170 Main St., Danbury, CT 06810; telephone (203)797-4505; fax (203)796-1677

Danbury: Population Profile

views updated May 18 2018

Danbury: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (PMSA)

1980: 175,000

1990: 193,597

2000: 217,980

Percent change, 19902000: 12.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: 1st (CMSA)

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

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

City Residents

1980: 60,470

1990: 65,585

2000: 74,848

2003 estimate: 77,353

Percent change, 19902000: 14.1%

U.S. rank in 1980: 324th

U.S. rank in 1990: 355th (State rank: 8th)

U.S. rank in 2000: 406th

Density: 1,777.4 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 56,853

Black or African American: 5,060

American Indian and Alaska Native: 214

Asian: 4,082

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 26

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 11,791

Other: 5,653

Percent of residents born in state: 39.8% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 4,900

Population 5 to 9 years old: 4,540

Population 10 to 14 years old: 4,281

Population 15 to 19 years old: 4,561

Population 20 to 24 years old: 5,587

Population 25 to 34 years old: 13,332

Population 35 to 44 years old: 13,161

Population 45 to 54 years old: 10,011

Population 55 to 59 years old: 3,595

Population 60 to 64 years old: 2,644

Population 65 to 74 years old: 4,158

Population 75 to 84 years old: 2,946

Population 85 years and over: 1,132

Median age: 35.2 years (2000)

Births (2001)

Total number: 1,086

Deaths (2001)

Total number: 527 (of which, 6 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $24,500

Median household income: $53,664

Total households: 27,198

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 1,692

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,335

$15,000 to $24,999: 2,329

$25,000 to $34,999: 2,950

$35,000 to $49,999: 4,348

$50,000 to $74,999: 5,836

$75,000 to $99,999: 3,892

$100,000 to $149,999: 3,095

$150,000 to $199,999: 1,025

$200,000 or more: 696

Percent of families below poverty level: 5.9% (27.9% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,198


views updated May 23 2018


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

The City in Brief

Founded: 1685 (incorporated, 1889)

Head Official: Mayor Mark D. Boughton (R) (since 2001)

City Population

1980: 60,470

1990: 65,585

2000: 74,848

2003 estimate: 77,353

Percent change, 19902000: 14.1%

U.S. rank in 1980: 324th

U.S. rank in 1990: 355th

U.S. rank in 2000: 406th (State rank: 7th)

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1980: 175,000

1990: 193,597

2000: 217,980

Percent change, 19902000: 12.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: 1st (CMSA)

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

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

Area: 44.3 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 378 feet to 1,050 feet

Average Annual Temperature: 49.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 25.8 inches of rain; 26 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Trade, manufacturing, services

Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (April 2005)

Per Capita Income: $24,500 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,198

Major Colleges and Universities: Western Connecticut State University

Daily Newspaper: News-Times

Danbury: Communications

views updated May 18 2018

Danbury: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Danbury's daily newspaper, the News-Times, is published in the morning. Scholastic Library Publishing, parent of imprints Grolier, Children's Press, Franklin Watts, and Grolier Online, publishes The Encyclopedia Americana, (Grolier) and maintains its international headquarters in Danbury.

Television and Radio

The formats of the three FM radio stations that broadcast from Danbury include religious, adult contemporary, and new music programming. Connecticut Radio Information Service (CRIS), with a studio in Danbury along with other locations across the state, broadcasts readings from daily newspapers and magazines for the benefit of state residents who are blind or cannot hold or turn pages.

Media Information: News-Times, 333 Main St., Danbury, CT 06810-5818; telephone (203)744-5100; fax (203)798-0209; email [email protected]

Danbury Online

City of Danbury home page. Available www.ci.danbury.ct.us

Connecticut Development Authority. Available www.ctcda.com

Danbury Community Network. Available www.danbury.org

Danbury Museum and Historical Society. Available www.danburyhistorical.org

Danbury Public Library. Available www.danburylibrary.org

Danbury Public Schools. Available www.danbury.k12.ct.us

Housatonic Valley Economic Development Partnership. Available www.newtown.k12.ct.us/hvedp

News-Times, home page. Available www.newstimeslive.com

Selected Bibliography

Brown, Drollone P., Sybil Rides for Independence (Niles, Ill.: A. Whitman, 1985)

Hill, Susan B., History of Danbury, Connecticut (Heritage Books: 1998)

Danbury: Transportation

views updated Jun 08 2018

Danbury: Transportation

Approaching the City

The Danbury Municipal Airport, the second busiest in the state, offers general aviation services on its two runways and includes charter services, plane rentals, and hangar space. The closest major commercial airports are John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia (both in New York City, about 65 miles away), and Newark Liberty International Airport (Newark, New Jersey). The state's largest airport is Bradley International (Windsor Locks) that saw 6.7 million passengers in 2004. Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY is also nearby and accessible via westbound I-84. Metro-North carries rail passengers and commuters.

Traveling in the City

The Housatonic Area Regional Transit (HART) system operates a growing network of buses. Established in 1972, it provides 15 fixed routes, paratransit services for 5 municipalities, dial-a-ride, commuter shuttle services, and a downtown trolley.

Danbury: Geography and Climate

views updated May 18 2018

Danbury: Geography and Climate

Danbury is located in southwestern Connecticut in Fairfield County, 25 miles northwest of Bridgeport, in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. The city is situated on low-lying land just south of Lake Candlewood, the largest manmade lake in the state, and east of the Housatonic River. The surrounding terrain consists of rolling hills and not-very-tall mountains to the west and northwest (the western highland). Danbury's is a four-season climate; the extremes of temperature experienced throughout New England are somewhat tempered there by proximity to hills, but winters can be very cold.

Area: 44.3 square miles (2000)

Elevation: ranges from 378 feet to 1,050 feet

Average Temperatures: January, 26.5° F; July, 72.5° F; annual average, 49.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 25.8 inches of rain; 26 inches of snow

Danbury: Health Care

views updated May 29 2018

Danbury: Health Care

The health care needs of residents in the Greater Danbury area are attended to at Danbury Hospital, a 371-bed nonprofit teaching hospital and regional health resource. In 2004 Solucient LLC, a national organization that examines health care quality statistics, included Danbury Hospital in its "Top 100 Hospitals: National Benchmarks for Success" report. Among its vast services the hospital houses a Level II trauma center, a cancer center, and physical rehabilitation. Other hospitals in the area include New Milford Hospital; Pope John Paul II Center for Health Care; and a number of private-sector health complexes.