Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Last of the Old Home Place

In less than two weeks, voters in Norwich, in addition to electing a variety of people to state-wide office as well as choosing who shall represent them in both houses of the state legislature will also have decided on three economic development questions on this year's ballot.

The three initiatives, while addressing entirely different projects, have similarities to include a demonstration by those of us who live here in ourselves through self-investment-putting our money where our mouths are and by beginning the process of shifting the tax base and grand list from residential to commercial.

A lot has been written about downtown revitalization, though at times it seems to me a lot less has been successfully communicated about it. Last Wednesday I shared what I understood to be the facts and salient points on that initiative. This Wednesday I'd like to offer some notes about the 1.5 million dollar bond to upgrade the Stanley Israelite Business Park.

The Business Park was established in the 1960's, and its 450 acres and fifty companies provide employment to over 2,500 people and also includes residential housing and is the home of Senator Thomas A. Dodd Baseball Stadium, the home of the Connecticut Tigers. The Business Park generates a little more than 1.9 million dollars in annual tax revenue while adding nearly$674,000 in utility payments.

Any investment of public money anywhere in Norwich should increase the number of businesses, enhance the growth of the Grand List, add jobs and positively impact the household income of those who live here. One of the rules of business, to include the business of government, is you have to spend money to make money.

A "yes" vote for the business park improvements would allow for an infrastructure investment and improvement that would include resurfacing roads, in many cases three and four decades old, heavily trafficked and in need of extensive (rhymes with expensive, but not as expensive as starting over which will be all that can be done in a few more years), upgrading to energy efficient street lighting throughout the business park and clearing the underbrush and overgrowth back from the shoulders and rights of way as part of creating pedestrian and bicycle paths for the use of employees of the businesses currently in the park as well as by the residents in the various housing units.

The 1.5 million dollar bond will help reposition an aging, but still vital, business park as a attraction and destination for new businesses while also helping retain current tenants thus expanding the general fund and public utilities' revenue streams while increasing and enhancing the overall quality of life for everyone in Norwich, no matter where in the city you live. And as the bloom returns to The Rose of New England, the glow of prosperity across the region will grow brighter and greater.
-bill kenny

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