Econsult Solutions, Inc. was retained in 2015 by the Town of Mansfield, Connecticut and the University of Connecticut to analyze the potential impact of UCONN’s Next Generation Connecticut Initiative (NextGenCT). ESI’s report included a quantification of the economic and fiscal benefits that were anticipated to accrue to the Town as well as an enumeration of any net new Town service, education, and infrastructure expenditures that will result from the initiative.
NextGenCT is a ten-year plan to enhance UCONN’s capacity as a global leader in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as an economic development engine and workforce development driver for the State of Connecticut. NextGenCT involves a total capital investment of $1.54 billion and builds from two past UCONN initiatives, UCONN 2000 and UCONN 21st Century, which together represented nearly $2 billion in investment between 1995 and 2014. In order to determine the economic impact of the initiative, ESI reviewed publicly available reports produced by the Town and UCONN, data provided by the Town and UCONN, secondary research, and conducted one-on-one and group interviews with key stakeholders.
The report shows that the implementation of NextGenCT is likely to have significant economic impacts within the Town economy and significant fiscal benefits to the Town government. An increase of partnership opportunities in transportation, public safety and economic development is also anticipated. Further, the report concludes that the Town is likely to receive larger PILOT payments from the State due to the increase of the assessed value of State-owned land as NextGenCT is implemented.
The ultimate size of the economic gains and expenditure increases will depend on what level of growth NextGenCT will produce in terms of increases in student enrollment, faculty/staff headcount, and economic development spin-off, and on how much the Town chooses to capture the net new demand for residential space and commercial activity generated by that growth.