Danbury is in excellent financial and economic health, according to Mayor Mark Boughton. He delivered his State of the City Address this afternoon at the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce annual leaders luncheon. He says almost 1,000 small, medium and large businesses filed to open in Danbury. Boughton noted that businesses relying on retail walk-in service will experience a boom over the next 10 years, running in contract with what the rest of the state has been experiencing over the last decade.
He added that City officials have had an extraordinary year managing the budget in a difficult time. Boughton says they should be celebrating the fact that people are voting with their feet and moving to Danbury, but at the same time acknowledge that there is an impact from development on fire, police and schools.
The City is conducting another study on student population. He's hoping a Charter school proposed recently will get funded by the state to take about 300 students out of the system and relieve the pressure on the public schools.
This afternoon Boughton announced a handshake agreement with the owner of the Matrix property to develop it into The Ridge. The owner will provide a Student Impact Fund for the next 20 years to offset any new children enrolling in the district because of the apartments being developed. It's the first of its kind of agreement in the City and Boughton says could be a template for future development in Danbury. The owners also agreed to cut the amount of apartments, creating a greater mixture of restaurants, stores and corporate space. A 1,000 person conference center will be renovated there.
Boughton says the property has been declining in value, with the City losing a tremendous amount of tax revenue.
Boughton also announced a plan for the City to buy the First Congregational Church of Danbury in exchange for maintenance and preservation. The parish would still use the building for services, but the city could also use the faciiity as a performing arts hall.