A minute with the Mayor: Economic development momentum continues in Norwich

By Mayor Peter Nystrom,

The City of Norwich is on the cusp of a series of economic development projects, all coming to fruition within a relatively short period of time. This is great news for our community and our collective future.

From intense interest from the cannabis industry to the opening of a major manufacturer and the ongoing work to transform the former Hale Mill, Norwich will see many new, good-paying jobs as well as substantial new tax revenues and increased utility revenues in the years ahead.

So how did all of this come together in just the past two years?

Collaboration. Patience. Persistence. Trust. Optimism. All of these things have been brought together repeatedly over the past two years by several individuals and organizations. If my colleagues on the City Council, our City Manager and Administration, and Norwich Public Utilities are a team, Kevin Brown and the Norwich Community Development Corporation are the captain.

Norwich is a natural fit for the burgeoning cannabis industry. As a result of a concerted marketing and outreach effort, combined with NPU’s lower electric rates – including an economic development rate – and superior customer service, Norwich will very likely be the home of more than one cultivator. This will result in new skilled manufacturing jobs and ancillary industries and businesses.

Naverra (formerly known as Solar Seal), a manufacturer of large panel architectural glass, will soon be will be operating in the Norwich business park. Once in full operation, Naverra will be among NPU’s largest electric customers. The company will receive a grant from NCDC for $350,000 and two no-interest loans for $350,000 that will be repaid in the coming years; these funds will then be available to assist with additional economic development opportunities in Norwich. Again, more good jobs, new tax revenues, and substantial new revenues for NPU.

And the former Hale Mill is being reborn as a boutique hotel and meeting venue that will also generate new jobs, new tax revenues, and most importantly, bring visitors with disposable income into Norwich. These visitors will quickly find out that our city has so much to offer in terms of dining, the arts, history, and entertainment.

The cumulative impact of these three exciting projects will benefit our community for years to come. The projects will all have a ripple effect – individually and collectively – leading to more businesses, jobs, tax revenue, and utility revenues. Some of our visitors will inevitably become residents, leading to further economic activity that will support all of our existing small businesses.

Even the most skeptical among us would agree that we are on the edge of a very exciting time for Norwich. And a great deal of work remains to be completed in the weeks and months ahead.

But please join me in celebrating the enormous progress we have made here in the Rose City – together.