A minute with the Mayor: Norwich City Council investing in our future

By Mayor Peter Nystrom

In our first June meeting, the Norwich City Council took the bold step — unanimously — to provide significant tax relief to the developers of the former Hale Mill, who are willing to make a long-term commitment to our city.

Our council agreed to allow developers to phase in the payment of property taxes (over 15 years) for the considerable improvements that will be made to this beautiful building. The owner of the property will pay their full property taxes — more than $450,000 — each year over the same 15-year period.

And as a result, the historic Hale Mill property in the Yantic section of Norwich will be transformed into a boutique hotel with more than 160 rooms — including a restaurant, indoor pool, salon, and a banquet hall with room for 500 visitors.

A revived and restored Hale Mill property will generate significant new tax revenue for the City of Norwich. The facility will also generate new revenue for Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) from the natural gas, water, electricity, and wastewater utilities that they need for their operations.

This project will create dozens of temporary and permanent jobs in Norwich — during the construction phase and once the hotel is open for business.

And even more importantly, when the hotel is up and running, it will attract hundreds of people to Norwich — to shop in our stores, visit our restaurants, and enjoy all that our community has to offer. Norwich residents will be able to enjoy another great location in our city for dinner, special events, or to host friends and family from out of town.

This type of opportunity would not have been possible just a few short years ago. I applaud my fellow council members for joining me in taking advantage of this opportunity — after we conducted our research and due diligence before negotiating an agreement that was fair to both the developers and the taxpayers of Norwich.

There are a number of additional, exciting — if not significant — economic development opportunities that are on our near-term horizon. Both the Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC) and NPU are working very closely to encourage and support projects and entities that are looking to locate or expand in our city.

Norwich and our nation are slowly but surely recovering from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. The spirit of our community is far too strong for our complete recovery to ever be in question.