The state Department of Economic and Community Development has named Groton one of Connecticut’s 25 “distressed” communities in 2012, a designation based mainly on economics.
The list ranks communities statewide based on data including per capita income, the percentage of people living in poverty, the unemployment rate, the change in employment from 2001 to 2011 and the percentage of adults 25 or older without a high school degree.
Groton ranked 22nd on the list of most distressed areas, and was one of three communities in New London County mentioned.
By comparison, New London ranked 9th on the list and Sprague ranked 23rd. Hartford was ranked at the top as most distressed, followed by New Britain, Waterbury and Bridgeport. Groton was notified by letter of the designation earlier this month.
“My first thought is that this designation is distressing,” Groton Town Councilor Bruce Flax wrote in an e-mail. “The indicators used in the assessment - unemployment, poverty level, population, educated adults 25 and older, etc. are all going in the wrong direction.”
He said a community on the list is eligible for grants, and he would like this investigated further.
“My first thoughts are to find out the specifics as to why we are on the list, how we can improve our score, and what benefits we are eligible for,” he said.
If a community is designated as “distressed” it is eligible for an urban development grant program. The list is updated yearly, and once a community is on the list, it remains eligible for the grant program for five years.