NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) —Yale University and the City of New Haven announced a six-year commitment Wednesday that officials say “creates bold opportunities for inclusive economic growth that benefit the entire community.
Yale is increasing its annual voluntary financial contribution to the City of New Haven by an additional $52-million over the next six years
“This is the most significant commitment that Yale University has ever made to the City of New Haven,” Mayor Justin Elicker said at Wednesday’s announcement ceremony.
It’s no secret the city and Yale have been at odds over the years. Yale is one of the city’s largest landowners but its properties are largely tax-exempt because of the university’s nonprofit status.
City residents have been demanding Yale increase its financial contributions to help a city struggling with poverty and yearly budget deficits. And now a deal has been struck with City Hall.
“This is a historic moment for the relationship between the City of New Haven and Yale University,” Mayor Elicker said. “Yale has contributed in many ways to the city, but with today’s announcement, Yale has committed to contribute more financially over the next six years than it has over the last 20 combined.”
Peter Salovey, president of Yale University added, “Hand-in-hand we will create an exciting and prosperous future for everyone here everyone in our city, and for those who come after us.”
The new partnership includes four components:
- Yale will make voluntary payments to the city, totaling $52-million in new money over six years. Combined with existing payments, the university will contribute around $135-million to the city over six years, according to the university.
- A new Center for Inclusive Growth to be established at Yale, to which Yale will contribute an additional $5-million in the first six years. The center will develop and implement strategies to grow the city economically in a way that benefits all of New Haven’s residents.
- The conversion of High Street between Chapel and Elm streets into a city-owned walkway without vehicular access.
- A new commitment to offset the city’s loss in tax revenues for any properties Yale takes off the tax rolls in the next six years.
Tyisha Walker-Myers, president of the New Haven Board of Alders said, “I’m looking forward to the partnership and the part of the partnership where we’re having the real conversations about the things that our residents need. I’m looking forward to uncomfortable parts of the conversations that will happen – because any time I’m involved that comes up sometimes – about what our residents really need…about when we actually have results about bringing people in this city out of poverty.”
Walker-Myers says she’s been fighting her entire career for institutions like Yale to listen to the needs of community residents.
“Sometimes entities need help to understand what more they can do and that’s my job to help them understand,” Walker-Myers added.
While Yale is paying up, it’s getting something in return: the closing of a portion of High Street, creating a pedestrian and bike pathway in the heart of campus right on the New Haven Green.
“We can get as much money or anything from Yale but people got to really feel like it’s affecting their lives,” Walker-Myers said. “So right now I think every resident should hold the city, the elected officials, the mayor, the board of alders accountable to make sure they feel the benefits from the extra payments that come into the city.”
It’s a six-year deal. Though the property tax payments will last about 13 years and get smaller as the years go on. The Board of Alders still has to approve it.