Regional Economic Diversification Committee Makes Recommendations


From the Norwich Bulletin, March 27, 2006 edition 

The Governor’s Commission on Diversifying the Southeastern Connecticut Economy gave its approval to an interim report identifying 11 specific, short-term recommendations. The 11 recommendations highlight low-cost proposals that are easily implemented, such as funding for a full-time regional housing director, development of a brand name to enhance economic development and tourism, and increasing the state’s presence in Washington, D.C. regarding defense and homeland security potential for the state.

The recommendations, developed by four working groups, will be forwarded to the governor for her review later this week. Phillip Dukes from the governor’s office, said he expects the governor will respond to the initial report in a matter of weeks. Here are the 11 recommendations in the interim report on the southeastern Connecticut economy to be forwarded to Gov. M. Jodi Rell:

  • Affordable Housing: Support a full-time professional staff to implement eastern Connecticut’s affordable housing plan and create a regional housing organization to address entry-level housing shortages.
  • Local Development Capital: Create a state-funded, low- or no-interest revolving loan pool for economic development projects.
  • Regional Transit System: Identify problems and potential funding sources for a two-year pilot demonstration project and build support for a multi-town transportation system serving high-traffic regional tourism attractions.
  • CEDS Support: Elicit top-level state support for projects identified in the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
  • Branding: Define the region’s identity for both tourism and economic development with a distinctive regional brand.
  • Online Marketing: Create a highly interactive and informative Web page promoting the region to new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Support Key Public Policies: Support legislative proposals relative to business incentives, film industry development, early-stage investments in technology and tourism marketing.
  • Federal Level Visibility: Expand the state’s presence in Washington D.C., specifically focusing on national defense and homeland security issues.
  • Lessons Learned: Convene a one-day conference to review the lessons learned from last year’s base closing process to identify weaknesses that could result in the base being targeted again in the future.
  • Military Enhancements: Create a permanent Commission on the Status of Military Members and Their Families whose aim is improving the quality of life of military members.
  • Defense/Homeland Security Industry Cluster: Establish an industry cluster to spur growth of military and civilian enterprises statewide.

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