Over the past few months I’ve received an increasing number of resources related to trails and their economic impacts on communities so I thought it was about time to share some of the relevant resources I’ve created and compiled on the topic. Several years ago my great intern John McDonald created this Trail Resource Page which I have started to update. Communities all over Connecticut have also been learning more about trails and their impacts, starting with a presentation in 2018 “Downtown Trails as Community & Economic Development Engines” for the Connecticut Main Street Center’s Bridge Series. I’ve also recently posted a related presentation for the International Economic Development Council Conference in 2019 “Trails as Economic Development Engines.” Please feel free to access these slides and please cite them if used. Over the next year I’ll also be working on a new publication series highlighting some of the key community benefits of trails. These will be short 1-2 pagers that communities can use to cite other studies and literature. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the National Park Service on this project thanks to a Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program Grant received by the Connecticut Trail Census.
The purpose of the Connecticut Local Economic Development Organization Survey is to understand who is involved in economic development activities in Connecticut and how economic development strategies are conducted at the local level over time. This information may be used by municipalities, local elected officials, and resource providers to support economic development programs that are most effective and relevant to communities across the state. The survey was assessed as a Qualtrics online questionnaire in February, 2018 with a response period of three weeks. A link to access the questionnaire was disseminated through the Connecticut Economic Development Association and Connecticut Conference of Municipalities list serves as well as the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and personal distribution lists of coordinating partners. The survey included 28 questions regarding the structure and organization of economic development functions, investments made in economic development, economic development programs and strategies and how are they evaluated, and demographic information about economic development staff. A copy of the survey tool is available upon request and as an appendix to this report. This project was reviewed by the University of Connecticut IRB and was determined to not qualify as human subjects research under 45CFR46.102. Significant findings are highlight in bold in the text below.