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Prospect, Connecticut
Welcome to Prospect
Welcome to Prospect
Flag of Prospect, Connecticut
Flag
Official seal of Prospect, Connecticut
Seal
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Country United States
State Connecticut
Metropolitan area New Haven
Settled 1710s
Incorporated 1827
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
Area
 • Total 14.5 sq mi (37.6 km2)
 • Land 14.3 sq mi (37.1 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
Elevation
823 ft (251 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 9,401
 • Density 648.3/sq mi (250.0/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
06712
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-62290
GNIS feature ID 0213493

Prospect is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. It is a suburb of the nearby city of Waterbury to its north, and is on the north-eastern fringes of the New York metropolitan area. The population was estimated to be 9,401 in 2020. Prospect is part of the Waterbury NECTA and the Naugatuck Valley Council of Government. Prospect is also a member of the regional health district Chesprocott, along with Cheshire and Wolcott.

Prospect was incorporated as a town in 1827 from the South Farms part of Waterbury and the West Rocks part of Cheshire. Prospect is an exurban town, with residents often traveling to other major cities and employment centers across the state.

Prospect is known locally as being "The Best Small Town in Connecticut," with the phrase posted on the town's trucks and website. The name originates from an early 1990s article in Connecticut Magazine which ranked Prospect as the worst small town in the entire state. The measurement was done based on its school system, economy, the cost of living, crime rate and cultural resources. In response to this, the town's long-time mayor Robert Chatfield, removed the magazine from the library, and declared Prospect "The Best Small Town in Connecticut," and ordered it placed on town vehicles and bumper stickers.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.5 square miles (38 km2), of which 14.3 square miles (37 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2), or 1.58%, is water. Neighboring towns are Waterbury to the north, Cheshire to the east, Bethany to the south, and Naugatuck to the west.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 651
1840 548 −15.8%
1850 666 21.5%
1860 574 −13.8%
1870 551 −4.0%
1880 492 −10.7%
1890 445 −9.6%
1900 562 26.3%
1910 539 −4.1%
1920 266 −50.6%
1930 531 99.6%
1940 1,006 89.5%
1950 1,896 88.5%
1960 4,367 130.3%
1970 6,543 49.8%
1980 6,807 4.0%
1990 7,775 14.2%
2000 8,707 12.0%
2010 9,405 8.0%
2020 9,401 0.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

As of the 2010 Census, there were 9,405 people, 3,357 households, and 2,616 families living in the town. The population density was 608.1 people per square mile (234.8/km2). There were 3,094 housing units at an average density of 216.1 per square mile (83.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.3% White, 1.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

Of the 3,357 households 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.3% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 28.4% of households were one person and 8.4% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.15.

The age distribution was 22.6% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 22.0% from 25 to 44, 32.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% 65 or older. The median age was 43.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.0 males.

The median household income was $93,631 and the median family income was $104,306. The per capita income for the town was $26,827. About 2.1% of families and 2.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Since 1969, the town of Prospect and the town of Beacon Falls have jointly operated Regional School District 16, with the first full school year having been operated in 1970. Both towns did not have access to a High School of their own, pursuant to the original intent of school district consolidation in Connecticut for small towns, and sought to consolidate their Boards of Education and begin research on the establishment of a new High School for district members. A high school would not be built in Region 16 until a 1998 referendum in the region approved the construction of Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls, with it opening on the 4th of September, 2001. The two towns almost dissolved the regional school district in the late 1970s over the composition of the Board of Education, poor funding, and a lower quality of education for students. The composition of the Board of Education was originally slated to be split evenly between the two towns, which was agreed upon prior to the referendum approving the merger. According to a March 1976 Supreme Court ruling which upheld an earlier decision, the principle of One man, one vote applied to the Boards of Education of regional school districts. At the time, Connecticut had 16 regional school districts, and 11 regional school districts were in conflict with this ruling, which affected 34 towns, including Prospect and Beacon Falls. Beacon Falls then attempted to dissolve the regional school district, which at the time only officially contained Long River Middle School, on the basis that the Supreme Court ruling now constituted a breach of contract between Beacon Falls and Prospect.

Prospect Elementary School
Prospect Elementary School on Route 69

Prior to the construction of Woodland Regional High School, Prospect students attended High School at Wilby High School in Waterbury until 1983. After the contract with Waterbury concluded, Prospect high schoolers had the choice of attending Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury or Wolcott High School in Wolcott.

Since 2015, total enrollment in Region 16's school district has been declining, losing 192 students between 2015 and 2019. In early 2020, the Board of Education began to discuss a policy wherein non-resident students from other towns could attend school within the district, which would cost about $15,800 a student in tuition, but as of the 22 of February 2020, no further action was taken on the measure.

Funding for Region 16, which today controls and operates four schools, is based on the number of students from each town attending the district. As of 2020, the operating budget for the district was $40.7 million, with the town of Prospect responsible for $20.5 million due to the town's children making up 63.25% of the school district's student population. The town, like Beacon Falls, funds its portion of the region's budget through property taxes.

In 2011, voters approved a $47.5 million bonding package that would fund the construction of Prospect Elementary School, renovate Laurel Ledge Elementary School, and build a new office for Region 16 in Prospect on the former location of Algonquin School on Coer Road. The new Prospect Elementary School (grades K-5) replaced Algonquin School (grades K-3) and Community School (grades 4–5). Students in grades 6–8 in Prospect and Beacon Falls attend Long River Middle School, and students in grades 9-12 attend Woodland Regional High School.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Prospect is well connected to Connecticut's wider transportation network. Route 69 and Route 68 intersect near the town centre, which provide town residents access to New Haven, Waterbury, and Union City. In close proximity to the Waterbury-Prospect line are entrances to I-84, and close to the Cheshire-Prospect border are entrances to I-691.

There are no bus routes within the town, but Bus Routes 431 and 428 of the Greater Waterbury Bus System have stops located just north of the Waterbury-Prospect on East Mountain off Route 69, and on Scott Road near the intersection with Austin Road.

Notable people

  • Robert Chatfield, Politician
  • John Fusco, screenwriter and producer
  • Julius Hotchkiss, Politician
  • Vincent Ingala – smooth jazz and R&B saxophonist
  • , French-American graphic designer and illustrator.
  • Rufus G. Russell (1823-1896), architect
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