By any measure, 2023 was a very good year in Norwich

I’ve always enjoyed history and often turned to the great leaders of the past for inspiration today. Winston Churchill has always been one of my favorites. And his famous quote is very apt for where we find ourselves at the start of a new year: “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

As 2024 begins, it is gratifying to look back at a year of great progress in our city, and with even greater hope for our future.

I am very proud to work with so many great optimists on behalf of Norwich. These dedicated and hard-working people come from the public and private sectors and helped move our city forward in so many ways over the past year.

Consider some of the things we have to be proud of that came to be over the last twelve months:

  • The completion of the Westledge housing complex, bringing 120 new market-rate apartments to our city. More housing will soon be available at 555 Norwich Avenue as part of the still-growing Ponemah Mills complex in Taftville.
  • The former YMCA building is being developed into a new facility for a great local business; the Reid & Hughes Building is under development, as is the former Elks Club, which will bring a new hotel to Norwich later this year.
  • Norwich Public Utilities (NPU) will be very busy for the next several years with the $200 million upgrade of its wastewater treatment plant and is getting started on the $10 million in upgrades to its natural gas system.
  • In the years ahead, we will have four new elementary schools along with renovated and upgraded middle schools that will give our kids a better educational experience.
  • Our Norwich Community Development Corporation has been working with small businesses that are interested in Norwich – and led the efforts on creating the Uncas Leap Heritage Park, which will soon be an educational, cultural, and performing arts asset for Norwich and the region.

Every one of these projects, and so many more, reflects the time, patience, cooperation, and persistence of dozens if not hundreds of very optimistic people in our community.

But we cannot – and will not – be complacent. There is still far too much that needs to be accomplished for Norwich to reach its full potential. I am confident that the tremendous strides we are making will lead to even more economic and cultural progress in our community in the days to come.

I wish all of you, and your families, a healthy and happy 2024.