Norwich mayor urges council to support economic development proposals

Norwich – Mayor Peter Nystrom warned fellow members of the City Council Monday to “keep your weekends open” for council workshops on issues including reviving his proposed economic development bond, creating a charter revision commission and discussions on waterfront development.

Nystrom delivered his sixth State of the City address as mayor Monday, mixing a celebration of development accomplishments over the past year with calls for city leaders to work together on development issues in the year ahead.

“It should be noted that change through economic development is a long-term proposition that takes focused teamwork and dedication to implement and benefit from,” Nystrom said. “We have a talented team of professionals, passionate and dedicated leadership, a highly flexible and resourceful utility, and, a community ready to embrace change.”

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City officials thrilled to see Hale Mill project come to life

NORWICH — A multimillion-dollar development project proposing to bring an upscale hotel to Yantic may break ground as early as spring.

The Commission on the City Plan Tuesday unanimously approved both the site development plan and the special permit request for a proposed 151-room hotel with several amenities including an indoor pool, restaurant, banquet facility and recreational space at an abandoned mill building in Yantic.

The building, known as Hale Mill, was originally built in 1864 as a textile mill and sits at 140 Yantic Road, across from the Yantic Volunteer Fire Department. According to records at City Hall, the buyer, Mill Development CT LLC, of Woodside, N.Y., purchased the 10-acre property in June for $826,000.

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Norwich offers Narcan training to downtown business owners

Norwich – Angelo Callis wore a Santa hat and a bright red scarf and carried a sack as he and two assistants visited downtown businesses Monday.

They weren’t carrying holiday presents to shop owners and businesses, but what they did have saves lives.

The three members of Norwich Youth and Family Service’s Partnership for Success program brought Narcan kits and free training to businesses interested in learning how to administer the opioid overdose-reversing drug and stocking it in their establishments.

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Global City Norwich celebrates the city’s history with Candy Cocoa and Coffee Festival

NORWICH — As part of a new directive to bring more people downtown, Global City Norwich not only celebrated the coming holidays with many activities, but also celebrated the city’s history.

Sunday’s Candy, Cocoa and Coffee Festival sported an array of local vendors, including the Blazin’ BBQ food truck, Opal’s Kitchen and myriad small jewelry and baked goods vendors. There were activities for kids such as rock painting, gingerbread house building, and an appearance from Santa Claus.

They created a spectacle with elves walking around, and even had a few on tall stilts dancing to the music in the street.

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Essex chemical engineering firm expanding to Norwich

Norwich — An Essex-based chemical engineering research and development firm has purchased a vacant 76,000-square-foot building in the business park for $1.9 million and plans to launch an advanced manufacturing arm of the business there once renovations are completed.

Nalas Engineering Services Inc. of the Centerbrook section of Essex purchased the building formerly occupied by Gunther International LTD, at 1 Winnenden Road at the corner of New Park Avenue in the Stanley Israelite Norwich Business Park. The transaction was recorded in the Norwich land records Monday, with the city receiving $9,660 in property conveyance taxes.

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The Chelsea Groton Foundation makes 2nd $100K Grant to Support Global City Norwich

Additional Gift is to Focus on Funding for Entrepreneurship & Small Business

NORWICH, Connecticut (December 10, 2018) – The Chelsea Groton Foundation recently presented a grant donation of $100,000 to NCDC’s Global City Norwich program, to be used specifically for assisting multicultural entrepreneurs and small business owners who are interested in occupying storefront spaces in the Downtown area, or who currently own businesses and are looking to grow.

Funds will be used to identify and train entrepreneurs, build partnerships in order to help entrepreneurs find appropriate storefront spaces and funding for their businesses, and create a thriving downtown environment that will ensure increased traffic in area businesses.

“Since the launch of Global City Norwich, we’ve already seen a positive impact on the Norwich community. People came out in droves for the festivals that were hosted this summer and fall. Now, the Chelsea Groton Foundation is thrilled to give another grant to Global City to really focus on developing and assisting multicultural entrepreneurs and small business owners, an area that’s very important to us,” shared Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank and President of the Chelsea Groton Foundation. “Small business activity is critical to the success of any downtown area, and it will be no different in Norwich. There are incredibly talented entrepreneurs and small business owners in Norwich and the surrounding areas, and we’re looking forward to supporting them through this grant.”

“We believe our business community should be a reflection of our diverse and vibrant community. The Global City Norwich program is focused on removing the barriers to entrepreneurship through collaborations, business education and shared resources. The talent and our future business leaders live amongst us and this program lends to pave the road to business ownership,” explained Bob Mills, President of NCDC.

The first grant presented by the Chelsea Groton Foundation was to assist with the launch and development of Global City Norwich, a multi-cultural program that brings people together to participate in rich, diverse, multicultural experiences that the residents of Norwich and its surrounding communities have to offer.

To view parts of the grant presentation, and to gain a better understanding of the positive impact Global City Norwich has and will continue to have on area business owners, watch this video.

About the Chelsea Groton Foundation
The Chelsea Groton Foundation was formed in June 1998 as a Section 501(c) (3) organization. Initially endowed with a $2 million donation from Chelsea Groton Bank, and recently gifted an additional $5 million from the Bank, the Foundation has, to date, awarded over $3.2 million in grants to hundreds of scientific, educational and charitable organizations located within the Bank’s market area. To learn more, visit www.chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.

About NCDC / Foundry66
NCDC is a private 501(c) (3) development corporation founded to improve the economic condition of Norwich, its Downtown, waterfront and Business Park. Foundry66 is a co-working space dedicated to helping create and support microenterprise businesses in the area. To find out more about us and our mission, please visit www.askncdc.com and www.foundry66.com.

Norwich seeks path to cash in on its Opportunity Zones

NORWICH — Three Norwich neighborhoods qualify for a new federal economic development program and Tuesday morning, dozens of city and state officials, business leaders and community partners met at City Hall for a presentation on how the city can capitalize on the opportunity.

Federal lawmakers in 2017 created the federal Opportunity Zones program for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into qualified Opportunity Funds — private investment vehicles dedicated to community, business, real estate and economic development activities in low-income communities.

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Local swim school building permanent home in Occum

NORWICH — After two decades of hopping from hotel pool to hotel pool, a local swim academy is building its own permanent facility in Occum.

Bubbles to Butterflies was founded in 1998 by Margee Charron of Baltic, and in early November, the company broke ground on its first permanent home — at 61 Taftville-Occum Road.

Originally, Charron was teaching swim from her backyard pool, but the new facility will be 6,000 square feet including a 30 foot by 60 foot warm-water teaching pool, as well as a climate-controlled viewing area that can also function as a rental party room.

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Ponemah Mill celebrates first phase completion, start of second

Norwich — Kathy and Kevin Jesmonth were at their Colchester home watching TV news on May 9, 2017, when a news feature about the $30 million transformation of the formerly vacant giant Ponemah Mill in Taftville came on and the reporter described the plan to create 116 high-ceiling, loft apartments.

The recent empty-nesters looked at each other simultaneously and within minutes agreed they were ready to sell their house of 31 years and start a new chapter in their lives. Kathy being a sixth-grade teacher in Colchester public schools and Kevin the shop manager at Grader Jewelers in Groton, a new apartment in Norwich with easy access to Route 2 or Interstate 395 would be just fine.

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City Council pitched $8.47 million revitalization program

NORWICH — The City Council is considering a $8.47 million bond ordinance for Norwich’s economic revitalization initiative to spur economic development in the city.

At a special meeting of the council on Tuesday, Norwich Community Development Corporation president Robert Mills presented a proposal for an expansion of the city’s downtown revitalization bond program.

Mills provided statistics and data on the status of the $3.38 million bond program approved in 2010. Mills said that $2.47 million of that money has been spent or committed, resulting in $22.8 million of economic impact to Norwich. He said that investment has resulted in 124,000 square feet of improved space across 17 downtown properties.

“We have put nearly $23 million into the local economy over the life of these projects,” Mills said. “That’s a return of $9.22 to our economy for each dollar invested.”

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