The Board of Alders voted unanimously in favor of New Haven Vision 2025 — the city’s decadelong development plan — on Nov. 5, assuring local development projects that their growth is supported by the city.
New Haven Vision 2025, a 200-page plan for housing, economic, transportation and environmental development, lays out broad goals the city will aim to achieve by the year 2025. The document incorporates the Hill-to-Downtown development project, a plan that will link Union Station and Yale-New Haven Hospital with new apartments, stores and office space by placing commerce between the areas. The board voted to include this addition to the plan as a show of support for the project, which will bring multiple benefits to city residents, Westville Alder Adam Marchand GRD ’99 said.
“Hill-to-Downtown has been an important collaboration between elected officials, city staff and local residents,” Marchand said. “Including the Hill-to-Downtown plan in the resolution that would authorize the plan seemed a good opportunity to give our approval, affirmation and recognition of all that work.”
Representatives from RMS Companies — a development firm involved in the Hill-to-Downtown project — have prioritized community support for the project since its earliest stages, said Stephanie Odenath, senior director of strategy and development at RMS Companies. The alders’ vote reaffirmed the managers’ belief that the project can only be successful with public support, she added.
RMS met with several different community management teams as RMS’ plans have taken shape, Odenath said. She added that RMS representatives know that they must serve the community’s needs to succeed. Hill-to-Downtown developers are still in talks with different building, zoning and community officials to take the project from the planning stages to reality, she said.
“We have to get through the whole permitting and zoning process first,” Odenath said. “We don’t want to be an intruder and we want to do things the way the community wants and to find a way to make them happy.”
Though the Hill-to-Downtown project is a prominent part of New Haven Vision 2025, it only concerns a few blocks of the city. The plan also provides guidelines for the completion of the Farmington Canal Greenway, a recreational trail that runs through Science Park, the preservation of historic homes in Dwight and increasing the commercial and residential offerings downtown.
The plan’s guidelines reflect community needs, better understood after several years of research, Dixwell Alder Jeanette Morrison said. She added the authors of the plan left much room for flexibility because the next decade could bring unforeseen trends. These changes will require the city to adapt its course of development, she said. She added that the city’s general developmental goals would stay the same because of the plan’s flexibility.
“This is a 10-year plan and there are going to be all types of changes,” Morrison said. “There are going to be socioeconomic changes and [changes to] places, people and things that can happen between now and then. You can’t be so specific and so precise that there is no room to go in and put in new ideas.”
With the plan’s passage, the city can now ask the state and other agencies for development funding, Morrison said. She added that the comprehensive plan shows grant-givers where New Haven is headed and assures them that different elements of the city’s development, such as transportation and housing, share cohesive goals.
The Board of Alders’ vote was the final hurdle before the plan’s implementation.