Connecticut Town Liveability
Extensive research has led o the conclusion these Connecticut towns are likely on the right path to attracting millennials. Aside from local employers, emphasis should be on a walkable downtown as well as a vibrant, diverse culture. The presence of convenient running/hiking/bike trails is also an advantage.
- Businesses will be hosting New Milford's first Restaurant Week April 24 to May 3, 2020, "to promote great local businesses and attract the foodie culture to New Milford." Participating restaurants will develop three-course menus set below $19 for lunch and $29 for dinner.
- Sponsored by the Greater New Milford Chamber of Commerce and held in 2020 on July 24 and 25, "Village Fair Days is the largest annual event in New Milford and draws thousands of visitors every year. With 2 full days of live entertainment, bingo, bouncy houses, a food court and almost two hundred vendor and community booths, Village Fair Days is a summertime destination for shopping, socializing, eating, and browsing."
- Lovers Leap State Park is a 160-acre park covered by hiking trails that allow for scenic views and discovery of historic sites.
- Candlewood Lake is the Connecticut's largest lake and also "the most popular lake for recreation in the State." It offers many activities such as boating, fishing, hiking and water sports.
- New Milford hosts a Farmers Market Saturdays from 9am until noon, May through November and a Winter Market in December and January.
- The Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market is held on Sundays and has over 500 vendors including a constantly changing variety of food trucks.
- "New Milford has a thriving main shopping street, replete with independent local businesses and with arresting views of the West Connecticut hills through the canyon of buildings to the east and west."
- Sheffield Island Ferry takes passengers from the banks of the Norwalk River, out past the Norwalk Islands in the Long Island Sound, culminating in ninety minutes to spend on Sheffield Island to explore the Sheffield Island Lighthouse, hiking trails and beaches.
- The South Norwalk (SoNo) neighborhood is a diverse neighborhood filled with restaurants, museums, galleries, entertainment and independent retailers and hosts the annual SoNo festival in August. "SoNo boasts beautiful scenic walks along the Norwalk River and Harbor, which visitors can explore by bike or on foot, as well as an array of beer gardens, pubs, and wine bars in which to relax over drinks with friends and watch the world go by."
- The Maritime Aquarium in SoNo has 75 live exhibits with over 2,700 marine animals covering 300 distinct species.
- The Norwalk Oyster Festival is held the first weekend after Labor Day and offers three days of live entertainments, arts and crafts, carnival rides, an international food court and beer tent.
- The Wall Street Theater first opened in 1915 and now primarily hosts live music, "booking well-known touring bands and solo artists from all genres, as well as a big helping of tribute acts."
- Norwalk offers beaches patrolled by lifeguards during summer months and offering activities such as sailing, various sports and fishing.
- Located on the banks of the Thames River, New London hosts the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and offers a variety of seaside parks, historical sites and seafood.
- Ocean Beach Park provides a beach, boardwalk and a variety of entertainment including water slides, rides and a miniature golf course.
- The Cross Sound Ferry Lighthouse Cruise and Mystic Whaler Cruises are site-seeing cruises that both were named Yankee Editor's Pick for “Best Coastal Cruise” in recent years.
- City initiatives include: promotion of a Bike Share Program initiative, pedestrian walkway from downtown to Fort Trumbell and the promotion of walkability and the connection of neighborhoods through other transportation.
- The Downtown New London Association (DNLA) organizes several events year-round, including a St. Patrick's Day Parade, Food Truck Festivals throughout the year, various live music and entertainment events, including the annual three-day Sailfest.
- Simsbury's Historic District takes up seven blocks of its town center. It includes the Simsbury Historical Society, which sits on a two-acre plot that contains sixteen preserved historic buildings, and various other monuments.
- Talcott Mountain State Park protects over 500 acres of wilderness. It contains hiking trails, waterfalls and cliff-top lookouts.
- Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge was first built in 1892 and now serves as a footbridge, adorned with flower gardens at each end and flower boxes flanking the walkway. "The Flower Bridge has become an icon for Simsbury, and both a backdrop for wedding photos and a vantage point for crew boat races on the river."
- Stratton Brook State Park contains trails, bikepaths and a pond, which entertains swimmers during summer months.
- The Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center is a modern outdoor concert venue. It hosts the Hartford Symphony Orchestra in June and July. Meanwhile, it holds a Summer Concert Series with contemporary artist between June and September, culminating in the three-evening Septemberfest on the first weekend of September.
- Designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists, Simsbury plotted a fourteen-mile loop mapped on its website. Renting bicycles there is apparently not a problem.
- The Litchfield Historical Society offers a variety of tours and programs for both adults and children.
- White Memorial Conservation Center has over forty miles of trails for running and hiking.
- Every second Sunday of June sees the Litchfield Hills Road Race (LHRR), a seven-mile race that attracts runners from around the world. "The course itself is a scenic tour of some of the best sites in New England."
- Litchfield has both houses within walking distance to downtown and further out country estates.
- Dining options are abound along Litchfield's Main Street in its walkable downtown.
- October is a busy month with several annual events: Harvest Bounty Brewfest, Litchfield County Harvest Festival, Apple Harvest Festival and A Fall Gathering of Artists.
- "Litchfield Auctions is New England’s favorite auction house, featuring property from celebrity estates, artist’s estates, and important private estates and collections. Property comes from throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and further afield."
- "The downtown area is a thriving cultural hub which is filled with theaters, museums, and art galleries," including the Warner Theater, which was built by Warner Brothers Studios in 1931 and now is one of the largest performing arts centers in Connecticut.
- Both Burr Pond State Park and John A. Minetto State Park are great venues for activities such as hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and cross-country skiing. Topsmead State Forest is also popular for hiking, hunting, birding and cross-country skiing.
- Wright's Barn is an historic site that has hosted a popular flea market since 1980. "It’s a great place to meet members of the community, make some purchases, and have a fun day in Torrington."
- Sunset Meadow Vineyards is listed as one of the top 101 wineries in the U.s. by Daily Meal. Its tasting room is open Thursday through Monday each week.
- Only twenty minutes from downtown Torrington is Mohawk Mountain Ski Area with 25 runs, the longest at 1.25 miles, served by fourteen lifts.
Economic Development Case Studies
- Columbus is one of the most commonly cited success stories of small towns attracting millennial talent.
- "Columbus is a prosperous town of 45,000 with an enlightened industrial corporation as its dominant presence and a large collection of striking modern architecture."
- "Columbus has been seeking to attract educated millennials, and has done it."
- Between 2010 and 2017, the number of residents with college degrees between the ages of 25 and 34 increased by 62%.
- Columbus' website emphasizes several features to attract millennials: affordable housing, growing economy, vicinity to larger cities and state parks, a vibrant and diverse community, over 27 miles of bike trails, a BikeShare program launched in 2016, as well as cultural and educational opportunities.
- Columbus' website cites several publications that touts Columbus' advantages in attracting young workers.
- Maine's "Visit For a Week, Stay for a Lifetime" initiative began in June 2016 as an attempt to entice out-of-state vacationers to become permanent residents through a vacation expense reimbursement plan. It is at individual employers' discretion as to how much to offer potential employees from out-of-state.
- The program is especially looking to attract information technology and healthcare workers to Maine's aging towns. The program's website, contains a search engine for open jobs with participating companies.
- In 2018, the campaign expanded "with outreach through the Turnpike Visitor Centers and geo-targeted social media ads."
- Maine's population grew to 1.3 million, up 0.25% from 2017 an almost 1% since 2010. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, "Maine had the largest increase in median age this decade, going from 42.8 years in 2010 to 44.9 years in 2018, making it the state with the highest median age in the country."
- Maine's "Visit For a Week, Stay for a Lifetime" initiative is actually not targeted specifically to any age group. Maine also has student debt relief initiatives in place to both retain and attract young talent.
- Maine's campaigns are ongoing and relatively young. As a result, conclusive evidence of these programs' respective impacts are not yet available in the public domain.
Internet searches took us to town official websites as well as articles discusses top attractions at the different cities. With regard to case studies, we began with targeted Internet searches and looked at official locality and state websites. We also searched local chambers of commerce.