Hillside Historic District, Waterbury, Connecticut    Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Strategic Plan
as filed with the City of Waterbury - the State of Connecticut 1997

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Section One
Andrea Pape, President 1997

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Hillside is one of two contiguous historic neighborhoods located on the hill north of the Green in the center of downtown.   The development of the Hillside area occurred in conjunction with the industrial growth in Waterbury during the mid to late nineteenth century.

The Hillside Historic District contains numerous examples of superb Victorian architecture and many styles therein creating great diversity and dimension. Residents of the Hillside neighborhood represent diverse backgrounds, cultures and professions.  Hillside has enjoyed an active neighborhood association for over two decades, achieving such accomplishments as attaining the placement of the Hillside neighborhood on the National Register of Historic Places, establishing effective and continuing Block Watches and increasing street lighting.   Hillside residents also promote code enforcement by active participation at Zoning & Planning Commission meetings, and continue working with City officials targeting blighted properties for rehabilitation or demolition.

The neighborhood association has collaborated with UConn's Waterbury campus, which has been in the center of the Hillside District for over 50 years, to expand and create opportunities for higher education which enhance the residential and professional environment.

This Neighborhood Revitalization Zone Plan (NRZ) has been completed through a grass roots effort of residents and property owners dedicated to improving our quality of life.  The Hillside geographic area is blighted by dangerously high structural density, severely depressed property values, negligent absentee landlords and nuisance criminal activity, all of which frustrates residents and diminishes the quality of life.  There are approximately 300 contributing structures of historical significance spread throughout the neighborhood, many of which have been restored, though many more still need restorative rescue.  In the lower streets of the Hillside District, professionals have purchased most properties and restored the residences of our forefathers to their Victorian splendor, utilizing the dwellings as modern offices.  Within the district, there are buildings that qualify as other mixed use, including three high-rise apartment complexes, several churches, social service delivery centers, an elementary school, a college campus, bed & breakfasts, light commercial operations, nursing homes and Waterbury's oldest day care facility, the Waterbury Day Nursery.  With few exceptions, the roads of Hillside are in adequate repair though the sidewalks are horrendously deteriorated and present significant challenges to the walking tours of the area and regular pedestrian traffic.

The unifying thread throughout this plan is to emphasize the historic character of the neighborhood with the collaborative assistance of the State and Federal historic restoration funds.  The neighborhood should be visually pleasing and perceptually safe.  One primary objective is to increase the percentage of owner occupied residential properties, which will be supplemented by a variety of low impact home-office enterprises in the residential area.  Other supplements to neighborhood composition would include incubator businesses in properly zoned areas, and small support and service types of commercial trade also in properly zoned areas.

It is hoped that the Hillside Campus of the University of Connecticut will ultimately be expanded to a four year program.  The Prospect Street corridor is envisioned to be targeted for a public/private partnership for a higher education center.  The restoration of Hayden Park in historic character is the expressed goal of the neighborhood association and the NRZ committee.  The neighborhood Association hopes to adopt the Driggs School, promoting partnering between UConn students and Driggs School students, and to create historic awareness programs in collaboration with the Mattatuck Museum, Driggs School and UConn.

The sidewalks, which are in dire need of replacement, should be restored in historic character with the addition of historic lighting on key thoroughfares.  Crime issues must be addressed in a serious and consistent manner in order to affect long term change.

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