Waterbury: Economy

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Waterbury: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Although manufacturing remains the mainstay of the Waterbury economy, the city is working toward diversifying its industrial base. New areas include chemical research and services such as banking. Area analysts and real estate brokers consider Waterbury a major Northeast distribution and warehouse center because of its proximity to interstate highways and affordable real estate prices. The commercial/retail segment of the city's economic base has been substantially enhanced by the development of a large regional mall, and other sizable retail projects.

Waterbury is also an attractive site for many corporations. Headquartered in Waterbury are Webster Financial Corp.; Les-Care Kitchens; Hubbard-Hall, Inc.; American Bank of Connecticut; Voltarc Technologies, Inc.; QScend Technologies, Inc.; and Waterbury Companies, Inc., among others.

Items and goods produced: fabricated brass and copper goods, plastic and paper products, automotive and screw machine products, automotive and electronic components, cold-formed fastening products, stamped metal products, women's apparel, toys, wire goods, and tool and die products for the metal fabrication industry

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

The Naugatuck Valley Development Corporation (NVDC) is a nonprofit economic development corporation that services the city of Waterbury and the Naugatuck Valley Region of Connecticut. The activities carried out by NVDC range from the implementation of industrial and commercial development projects (some of which encompass more than 100 acres), to the development of Downtown Waterbury, to the administration of direct financial and development assistance for individual businesses.

Local programs

The City of Waterbury created a business incentive program that makes tax abatements and other benefits available to information technology businesses. A geographic area located within the Central Business District commonly referred to as the Information Technology Zone (ITZ) was defined to narrow the focus of economic impact. The State of Connecticut provided the funding for installing an infrastructure and wiring downtown buildings. Waterbury is classed as a labor surplus area, giving it preference in bidding on federal procurement contracts.

State programs

The Connecticut Development Authority works to expand Connecticut's business base. It offers a variety of tax, financial, and business incentives to encourage companies to locate in Connecticut. Small and large businesses alike can take advantage of incentives such as below-market-rate loans; employee recruiting and training; reduced utility rates; and income tax, sales tax, and property tax exemptions or abatements. Information technology projects may obtain grants for a portion of the projected cost.

Job training programs

Customized job training assistance and on-the-job training are available through the Connecticut Labor Department and the local office of Workforce Connection. The Waterbury Education Department has recently teamed up with several local manufacturers to provide an apprenticeship program for the automatic screw machine industry.

Development Projects

Phase I of Waterbury's Downtown Development Plan involved the building of an arts, education, and entertainment center focusing on the Palace Theater. The focus of Phase II of the Downtown Development Project includes an area of East Main Street between the Green and Elm Street. A development is planned here that will connect the downtown area with the Brass Mills Mall and Shopping Center. The plan is to create an area that will bring people together for entertainment, cultural, and educational events. Also part of the Phase II plan is the Arts Magnet School, which opened in 2004. The school educates students in grades 6 to 12. The building, which stretches along East Main Street, consists of administrative offices, classrooms, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, as well as a media center.

The Willow/West Main Street area of Waterbury is currently in the midst of a three-phase plan for revitalization of the area. In addition to aesthetic improvements, work is underway on an off-street public parking lot, a neighborhood community center, and rehabilitation of area buildings.

In 1995, after both of Waterbury's hospitals identified the need to replace aging oncology equipment, a steering committee concluded that both Saint Mary's and Waterbury both hospitals would need to undertake extensive renovations to make the necessary improvements. It was eventually decided that the best solution was for the two hospitals to join forces by investing in new equipment and building a new off-site, state-of-the-art facility. The result of their collaboration is the Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center, opened in 2002, which utilizes the most current knowledge, skill, technology, and support services available today.

Economic Development Information: Naugatuck Valley Development Corporation, 100 Grand Street, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)756-2719; fax (203)756-9077

Commercial Shipping

Since the Naugatuck River is not navigable in the Waterbury area, railroads play a major role in the transportation of freight, especially Boston & Maine. In addition, air freight service is available out of a number of Connecticut and New York airports. Motor freight is carried by several companies based in Waterbury and by national and regional trucking firms that travel Interstate 84 and Route 8 daily.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Waterbury's labor force is described as available, skilled, and with a good work ethic inherited from the old-world craftsmen who built the region. Its central location enables the area to draw from a well-educated workforce. Waterbury anticipates a healthy economic future as a manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution center for the region.

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

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 68,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 2,900

manufacturing: 10,900

trade, transportation, and utilities: 13,500

information: 1,100

financial activities: 2,800

professional and business services: 5,900

education and health services: 14,000

leisure and hospitality: 4,700

other services: 2,800

government: 10,200

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.60

Unemployment rate: 7.2% (February 2005)

Largest employersNumber of employees
City of Waterbury(the first three are identified as having 1,000 or more employees; no employee figures available for the others, but they are identified as major area employers)
St. Mary's Hospital
Waterbury Hospital
Abbott Terrace Health Center
Anamet, Inc.
Cedar Lane Rehabilitation Center
Connecticut Light & Power Company
Sears Roebuck & Company
Southern New England Telephone
Stop & Shop
Voltarc Technologies, Inc.
U.S. Postal Service (Waterbury Branch)
Waterbury Buckle Company
Waterbury Companies, Inc.
Waterbury Republican-American

Cost of Living

The median sale price for houses and condominiums in Waterbury in 2000 was $94,000; in 2004 the average listing price for residential properties was $152,047.

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

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

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

State sales tax rate: 6% on most items

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: None

Property tax rate: $97.79 per $1,000 of assessed fair market value

Economic Information: Naugatuck Valley Development Corporation, 100 Grand Street, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)756-2719; fax (203)756-9077

Waterbury: Recreation

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Waterbury: Recreation


While other New England towns were razing their city centers in urban renewal efforts, Waterbury was preserving the architectural relics of the past. The city's 60-acre Hillside Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes 310 structures, many of them the carefully preserved Victorian homes of Waterbury's captains of industry. The Mattatuck Historic Society sponsors walking and bicycle tours of the area. Noted for its distinctive architecture, Waterbury maintains a set of Cass Gilbert municipal buildings, the old Union Station building with its 290-foot Italian Renaissance tower, and row upon row of carefully restored downtown storefronts.

The Railroad Museum of New England operates an excursion train between Waterbury and Thomaston. The train consists of historic, New England-related passenger and freight cars pulled by historic New Haven and Maine Central locomotives.

Arts and Culture

The city's elegant, 3,600-square-foot Palace Theatre is a major performing arts center for Waterbury. In addition to international artists and groups, the Palace is host to the Waterbury Symphony. The Symphony, a professional performing orchestra, is considered the region's best. The Waterbury Chorale, the Curtain Players, and Seven Angels Theatre Group also perform in the area. Other performing groups in the city include the Brass City Ballet, Shake-sperience Productions, Siena Symphony Orchestra, Silas Bronson Library Playreaders Theater, and the various artists at the St. John's Concert Series.

The exhibits at Waterbury's Mattatuck Museum include a chronicle of the brass industry, a Connecticut Artists Collection including portraits and contemporary paintings, and industrial and local history displays. The museum, housed in a modern building facing the historic Green, is operated by the Mattatuck Historical Society. The museum also houses a 300-seat performing arts center. The new Timexpo, the Timex Museum, tells the story of Timex, dating back to the 1850s.

Festivals and Holidays

Many of Waterbury's celebrations reveal the city's rich ethnic heritage. Two festivalsthe Lady of Mount Carmel Festival in July and the San Donato Festa in Augustcelebrate the city's Italian heritage. Outdoor parks are the sites of the Fourth of July Celebration. Several music festivals are held throughout the spring and summer.

Sports for the Spectator

The Waterbury Spirit baseball team of the Northern League East played its games at Municipal Stadium until 2001. Currently, the stadium stands dormant. Waterbury residents cheer for a variety of sports teams from other nearby cities.

Sports for the Participant

Golfers can enjoy 18-hole golf at two public courses in Waterbury: East Mountain Golf Course, with a par of 68, and Western Hills Golf Course, with a par of 72. Other facilities include numerous tennis courts, public swimming pools, and a municipal beach. Boating, water sports, and ice skating are all available on the city's many lakes and ponds.

Shopping and Dining

A large downtown shopping area featuring brick sidewalks, gas lights, old-fashioned benches, and turn-of-the-century storefronts is supplemented by several plaza malls located throughout the city. The Connecticut Store on Bank Street provides products by Connecticut manufacturers, craftsmen, artists, and authors. Malls in nearby Middlebury, New Haven, and West Hartford, and the antique shops that abound in the area, provide more extensive shopping opportunities.

New England seafood and Italian cuisine are the staples of Waterbury restaurant menus. The Westside Lobster House, with its restored Hotel Elton Ballroom, is noted for its fish dishes. Veal and pizza are mainstays of Italian eateries such as Dioro's, Bacco's, and San Marino Restaurant.

Visitor Information: Waterbury Region Convention and Visitors Bureau, 21 Church Street, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)597-9527; fax (203)597-8452

Waterbury: History

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Waterbury: History

Industry Transforms Waterbury

The tract of land on which the Watertown/Waterbury area stands was officially purchased from the Tunxis tribe in 1677 for 38 dollars. This Native American tribe called the area "Matetcoke" or "land without trees," a name shortened to Mattatuck. The town remained Mattatuck until 1686 when it was renamed Waterbury in recognition of the abundant rivers and ponds in the area.

Growth was slow during Waterbury's first century. The lack of arable land discouraged new settlers and the residents suffered through the great flood of 1691 and the great sickness of 1712. After a century, Waterbury's population numbered just 5,000 people living in little more than 300 buildings. Waterbury hit its stride as an industrial city in the early 1800s when it began to make brass, using a technology taken from the British. Not content with exploiting the know-how, these Yankee entrepreneurs lured talented craftsmen from across the sea to set up shop in Waterbury. As the "Brass Capital of the World," the city gained a reputation for the quality and durability of its goods. Waterbury supplied brass and copper used in Boulder Dam in Colorado and safety pins made from brass wire. Water-bury's brass gears, buttons, buckles, bells, and bullets found their way into stores and homes throughout the nation. Waterbury brass also went into South American coins and minting disks for U.S. nickels. Another famous Waterbury product of the mid-1800s was Robert H. Ingersoll's one-dollar pocket watch, five million of which were sold. Other items included clocks, pewter goods, and chemicals.

The captains of industry who guided Waterbury's brass growth built their Victorian-era mansions on the Hillside close to their downtown headquarters. Not content to adorn their homes, these men of vision created beautiful office structures, including the Chase Brass headquarters and those of Anaconda American Brass. These industrialists financed the building of many of the gracious structures, which gained Waterbury its reputation for fine and varied architecture. While the brass business boomed, thousands of immigrants poured into the city seeking factory jobs, including the Irish, Italians, and Slavs.

Diversification Revives Economy

At its peak during World War II, 10,000 people worked at Scoville Brass, later renamed Century Brass. The brass manufacturing mills in the city's east end occupied more than 2 million square feet and more than 90 buildings.

In 1955, 60 hours of precipitation resulted in 19 inches of rain and caused 50-mile-per-hour flood waters. As a result of the flood, 19 Waterbury citizens died and 50 million dollars in property damage occurred.

With the closing of the last brass shop in the 1970s, this huge complex stood empty and Waterbury faced a grim future. With investment and planning, by 1983 Waterbury had successfully diversified its economy, attracting new manufacturing, research, and service firms.

Waterbury is within driving distance of both New York City and Boston, and offers workers affordable housing. In addition, Waterbury is working to revamp many of the city's unused freight yards and warehouses, and turn them into prime office space. New luxury hotels have been built, the city's south end is now home to the biggest mall in New England, and industrial parks in remodeled metal works factories are proving profitable. The city is known today for its advanced technology, historic architecture, and diverse neighborhoods.

Historical Information: Silas Bronson Library, 267 Grand Street, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)574-8222

Waterbury: Education and Research

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Waterbury: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Waterbury Public School District offers a number of programs for target groups such as gifted and talented students, special education students, and adult education students. The Warren F. Kaynor Regional Technical School helps to meet the special needs of high school students.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Waterbury public schools as of the 20042005 school year.

Total enrollment: 18,000

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 20

junior high/middle schools: 4

senior high schools: 4

other: 2

Student/teacher ratio: 22:2 (20032004)

Teacher salaries (20042005)

minimum: $39,569

maximum: $77,054

Funding per pupil: $10,837

Several parochial and private schools supplement the public system. St. Margaret's McTernan School is the coeducational merger of a well-known girl's school with an equally famous boy's school.

Public Schools Information: Superintendent's Office, Waterbury Public Schools, 236 Grand Street, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)574-8000

Colleges and Universities

Waterbury's four-year institutions include Teikyo Post University and an extension campus of the University of Connecticut. The U/Conn extension offers a bachelor's degree in general studies; Teikyo Post University concentrates on business, liberal arts, and equine studies.

Two-year institutions include Naugatuck Valley Community Technical College, which offers associate's degrees and certificates in dozens of liberal arts and occupational areas. Within a one-hour drive of Waterbury, students have a choice of more than 40 institutes of higher education, including Yale and Wesleyan.

Libraries and Research Centers

Waterbury's Silas Bronson Library houses a collection of 240,000 titles, 60 computer workstations, state and federal government documents depositories in its 53,000-square-foot facility The system includes a main facility on Grand Street and one branch library. Special interest libraries include those of the Mattatuck Historical Society, and the University of Connecticut, Waterbury Branch Library.

Public Library Information: Silas Bronson Library, 267 Grand Street, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)574-8222

Waterbury: Population Profile

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Waterbury: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 204,968

1990: 221,629

2000: 228,984

Percent change, 19902000: 1.03%

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

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

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

City Residents

1980: 103,266

1990: 108,961

2000: 107,271

Percent change, 19902000: -0.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 157th

U.S. rank in 1990: 172nd (State rank: 4th)

U.S. rank in 2000: 238th

Density: 3,754.7 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 72,018

Black or African American: 17,500

American Indian and Alaska Native: 453

Asian: 1,615

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 61

Hispanic (may be of any race): 23,354

Other: 11,698

Percent of residents born in state: 64.1% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 8,176

Population 5 to 9 years old: 8,415

Population 10 to 14 years old: 7,681

Population 15 to 19 years old: 6,829

Population 20 to 24 years old: 6,919

Population 25 to 34 years old: 15,844

Population 35 to 44 years old: 16,183

Population 45 to 54 years old: 12,592

Population 55 to 59 years old: 4,747

Population 60 to 64 years old: 3,840

Population 65 to 74 years old: 7,223

Population 75 to 84 years old: 6,408

Population 85 years and over: 2,414

Median age: 34.9 years (2000)

Births (2001)

Total number: 2,699

Deaths (2001)

Total number: 1,556 (of which, 8 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $17,701

Median household income: $34,285

Total number of households: 42,655

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 2,160

$10,000 to $14,999: 1,528

$15,000 to $24,999: 3,876

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,455

$35,000 to $49,999: 4,645

$50,000 to $74,999: 5,853

$75,000 to $99,999: 2,951

$100,000 to $149,999: 1,969

$150,000 to $199,999: 349

$200,000 or more: 219

Percent of families below poverty level: 12.7% (44.9% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 6,524


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

The City in Brief

Founded: 1674 (incorporated, 1853)

Head Official: Mayor Michael J. Jarjura (since 2001)

City Population

1980: 103,266

1990: 108,961

2000: 107,271

2003 estimate: 108,130

Percent change, 19902000: -0.9%

U.S. rank in 1980: 157th

U.S. rank in 1990: 172nd (State rank: 5th)

U.S. rank in 2000: 238th

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 204,968

1990: 221,629

2000: 228,984

Percent change, 19902000: 1.03%

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

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

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

Area: 29 square miles (2000)

Elevation: ranges from 215 to 965 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 47.4° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 47.4 inches of rain; 35.2 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Manufacturing, research, services, distribution

Unemployment Rate: 7.2% (February 2005)

Per Capita Income: $17,701 (1999)

2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported

2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 6,524

Major Colleges and Universities: Teikyo Post; Naugatuck Valley Community Technical College; University of Connecticut (Waterbury branch)

Daily Newspaper: The Waterbury Republican-American

Waterbury: Transportation

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Waterbury: Transportation

Approaching the City

Daily bus service is provided from Waterbury to and from Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks and the New York City airports. Several interstate bus lines and passenger trains travel into Waterbury. Connecticut Transportation Company has daily buses to and from New Haven, leaving from Waterbury's Green. Interstate I-84 East (the Yankee Expressway) connects Waterbury with Hartford and northern New England; I-84 West travels into New York and Pennsylvania. Major north-south routes include Connecticut Route 8, which connects with the Connecticut Turn-pike (I-95).

Traveling in the City

Like streets in many New England towns, Waterbury's streets were planned around a central city green. Commuters experience heavy traffic on the freeways, especially during rush hours. City buses provide service in the city, running every 15 to 30 minutes with destinations including residential areas, hospitals, and downtown, as well as surrounding towns. Bonanza Bus Lines provides service to New York, Danbury, and Hartford. The Metro-North train takes commuters to New York City and all major points on the East Coast. A trolley, available for group hire, is operated by the Waterbury Convention and Visitors Commission. The Greater Waterbury Transit District provides wheelchair accessible mini-bus service.

Waterbury: Communications

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Waterbury: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

The Waterbury Republican-American, founded in 1844, is Waterbury's morning newspaper. Special interest magazines published in Waterbury include Northeast Outdoors, Alternative Energy Retailer, Secondary Marketing Executive, Servicing Management, and Dry Cleaners News.

Television and Radio

One independent television station exists in Waterbury, which also picks up New Haven and Hartford programs. A cable television franchise also operates in Waterbury. One local AM radio station broadcasts a variety of programming from Waterbury, but stations from nearby cities are available.

Media Information: Waterbury Republican-American, 389 Meadow Street, Waterbury, CT 06722; telephone (203)574-3636

Waterbury Online

City of Waterbury. Available www.waterbury-ct.gov

Connecticut Development Authority. Available www.ctcda.com

Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce. Available www.waterburychamber.com

Naugatuck Valley Development Corporation. Available www.nvdc.org

Silas Bronson Public Library. Available at www.bronsonlibrary.org

Waterbury Region Convention & Visitors Bureau. Available www.wrcvb.org

Waterbury Republican-American. Available www.rep-am.com

Waterbury: Geography and Climate

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Waterbury: Geography and Climate

Located in west-central Connecticut, Waterbury lies in a hilly woodland portion of New Haven County. Built on a rocky plain in the Naugatuck River Valley, the city is bounded by granite hills to the east and west. The Mad River runs through the city's east side, curves to the west, and joins the Naugatuck River.

Waterbury experiences breezy spring and autumn seasons, warm, humid summers, and cold, dry winters. Snowfall averages 35 inches per year.

Area: 29 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 215 feet to 965 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 23.8° F; July, 69.9° F; annual average, 47.4° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 47.4 inches of rain; 35.2 inches of snow

Waterbury: Health Care

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Waterbury: Health Care

Health care in Waterbury is provided by the Waterbury Hospital Health Center, with 357 beds, and St. Mary's Hospital, with 347 beds. Both have cardiac rehabilitation units. Waterbury Hospital serves as a teaching hospital for area schools, while St. Mary's features industrial health services. The Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center is a joint venture partnership between Waterbury and Saint Mary's hospitals that is dedicated to outpatient cancer care. This 36,000-square-foot facility offers comprehensive cancer care using the most current knowledge, skill, technology, and support services available.

Health Care Information: Health Department, City of Waterbury, 95 Scovill St., Suite 100, Waterbury, CT 06702; telephone (203)574-6780