Date: January 16 – 21, 2005
Location: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Sponsor: City of Bridgeport
Chair: William H. Hudnut
Subject Area: Economic Development, Downtown Revitalization
Summary of Recommendations:
The panel was charged with the task of advising the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut on the potential of its developable land portfolio, along with a prioritization of proposed projects. They were also asked to evaluate the city’s economic development administration, permit approval process, and quality-of-life issues. The panel believed that the city could become a successful place, but not before actively crafting a new image, based on a community vision that claimed its unique position in the region.
The panel found many strong opportunities for Bridgeport to build on. One of these opportunities included having a stronger commitment to work together with surrounding communities. Another was to transform as much of the waterfront as possible into a mixed-use center, becoming a vibrant local and regional destination. To accomplish these challenging goals, the panel suggested that the Bridgeport government undergo a large transformation. Part of the proposed changes included the formation of a Bridgeport Partnership to create a platform of genuine community outreach and involvement, with the end goals of economic development and enhanced quality of life. Another recommended change, the Bridgeport Leadership Council, would initiate a dialogue between the mayor and state leaders through the creation of a corporate leadership roundtable. Some other proposals from the panel were to continuously monitor the ethical standards of the local government, streamline the development review process, create a request for proposals (RFP) process, and strongly emphasize brownfield remediation. The panel also felt that the city’s economic development processes and agencies might be better run if reorganized or even consolidated. Some immediate and short-term projects were brought forth by the panel as priority projects that would help to initiate the redevelopment of the city. The panel felt that there were a lot of real estate market opportunities within Bridgeport. With the recommended new governmental processes, and the development of master planning and community visioning, there could be some real progress in the near future for Bridgeport.