From its earliest habitation by Native Americans about 10,000 years ago, the area we now know as the City of Groton has supported many generations of people physiologically and otherwise. Due to frontage on Long Island Sound and the Thames River, much of the history revolves around the sea. From fishing and shipbuilding to Revolutionary War battles to the emergence of Eastern Point as a popular seaside resort to becoming the "submarine capital of the world", Groton has always had an important relationship with the sea.
The decision by the Electric Boat Company to build submarines in Groton began an important economic relationship which continues to this day. Originally a modest enterprise, production at Electric Boat expanded dramatically in during times of war and today for keeping peace.
Establishment of a Navy base just upstream of the City on the Thames River around World War I strengthened this relationship with the sea.
And when this burgeoning area desired public services in the early 1900s to serve its residents and businesses, it created a separate borough to meet these needs since outlying residents in Groton were not interested in participating. The borough became incorporated as the City of Groton in 1964.
The City is also home to some high technology operations as well. After World War II, the Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company purchased land that had been used by Electric Boat to establish a manufacturing plant. In 1960, Pfizer moved their global research headquarters to Groton. While manufacturing operations are located elsewhere, research activities continue.Census data reports that the city had over 9,000 residents in 2016. This is a slight decline from the peak of about 10,000 residents in 1980 although population has remained fairly stable over the years.
Since 1960, population data shows two overall trends:
- The continuing influence of the Navy base on attracting a younger (ages 20 to 30) “transient” population as shown by the pronounced peak on an age pyramid corresponding to those age groups, and
- A gentler transition as the “baby boom” (orange cohorts) moves through the City population (the “resident” population).
While Groton will continue to be a community where the largest demographic groups will be young adults if the trends of the past 20 years continue, the City is expected to experience an increase in the number of people in the over 55 age groups as "baby boomers" get older and age in place.
The City has a very diverse housing stock. According to Census data, about one-third of the total units in Groton are single-family detached houses (36%), about one-third are in two to four family buildings (36%) and the remainder (28%) are part of larger multi-family structures (more than 5 units). About 58% of the units are renter-occupied and about 42% are owner-occupied.
Employment data indicates there are over 20,000 workers employed in local businesses and organizations. The major employers in Groton continue to be Electric Boat, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and UConn Avery Point. Significantly, Electric Boat is in the process of significantly increasing employment to design and build the next generation of submarines.
Digital mapping indicates that the city has about 2,000 acres of land area. In terms of how the land area is zoned:
- 60% of this area is zoned for residential development (evenly split between single-family versus two-family / multi-family).
- 25% is zoned for business / industrial development.
- 15% is zoned for recreation and open space (Washington Park, Shennecossett Golf Course, Fort Griswold, etc.).
The below Existing Zoning Map shows how land in the city was zoned in 2019.
In terms of how the land area is used:
- 35% is used for residential purposes
- 18% is used for business / industrial purposes
- 16% is considered open space
- 17% is used for community / institutional uses
- 10% of the land area is used for other purposes
- 4% of the land area is vacant and potentially available for future uses.
The below Existing Land Use Map shows how land in the city was used in 2019.
An aerial image of the City is presented on the bottom of the page.
In order to understand community issues and concerns, an online survey was conducted. The survey results showed that respondents were focused on several key issues and so the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) was organized accordingly in order to focus community efforts on these key initiatives as part of their planning for the future of the community:
- Enhance "Sense of Place"
- Encourage And Promote Economic Development
- Capitalize On Opportunities
- Maintain Community Assets
- Address Community Issues