Growth Plan for Clinton
We need big ideas, aggressive action and professionalism to jump start private development in Clinton. Of course there is no other kind but private. The best way to pay for the projects we are spending on is with an increased tax base. To do otherwise will cause tax rates to rise needlessly. This will have many unpleasant effects such as reduced housing prices. Contrary to the belief of some you will want to sell your house some day. Our town government has simply not been proactive in this area and has not introduced the necessary resources to be effective.
In thinking about this I’ve created a simple but effective plan to increase development as follows; 1. Encourage private development through rezoning and incentives, 2. Hire a professional Economic Development Coordinator, 3. Call on businesses, thank them for being here and ask what they need, 4. Don’t be surprised by announcements like Unilever – plan ahead. 5. Rekindle our long dormant relationship with Yale, using Clinton Redevelopment as a laboratory for their students. 6. Adopt a business friendly attitude and work cooperatively with the Chamber of Commerce and others to stop business loss and encourage new, 7. Support a waste water solution that accommodates business growth. 8. Continue rejuvenation of downtown with private investment (seek it out and help them). And 9, use our train station as a magnet, not an inconvenience to tolerate. This is not rocket science, but it is effective. Why aren’t we doing this now? In my business experience I’ve learned that you can’t cut your way to prosperity; you have to grow your way to prosperity.
A survey of what surrounding towns are doing for Economic Development is revealing because they are all doing something. The Guilford EDC Coordinator described several projects to me that he had started or was involved in. I was stunned by their number, simplicity, effectiveness and his enthusiasm. He is Guilford’s salesman. What can be done with professional leadership and modest funding is instructive. I presented this to the Board of Selectman during last budget season with no real action taken.
We should also have an
Economic Development Web site. I know
our new EDC Chairman, Tony Pinto, wants this but is hampered by lack of
We could combine the position of town planner (another needed resource) with that of Economic Development Coordinator and hire one person. The time to act is now. The cost of hiring someone is nothing compared to the cost of opportunities we have lost. Some will cite the old Morgan site as a place we are doing something. That is true, but this activity is not the result of any town hall action, although they will take the credit. The folks who voted for the new high school are the ones who deserve the credit for development of the old High School site. The question now is what are we waiting for?