SOUTHINGTON - Town leaders will participate in an Economic Development Bus Tour Feb. 10.
Officials will be reviewing recent developments, ongoing projects and future plans and concerns.
They will be departing from the Town Hall parking lot at 1 p.m. for the tour, with Bob Verderame of the senior center and former councilor Ed Pocock III helping to arrange it and driving. Lou Perillo III said that it was arranged at the request of Council Chairman Chris Palmieri following a recent presentation before the council.
“Town leaders are trying to get a good look at the quality work that is going on throughout town,” said Perillo. “Economic development has been on the front burner in town now for some time. ”
Palmieri said that he hopes that seeing economic development will spur further growth in the community.
“Any way to bring in additional revenue will help us to offset the deficits caused by the reduction in state funding,” he said. “Hopefully people will be able to see what is new, network and bring in as much new business as possible.”
Perillo said that the tour will pass by Greenway Commons downtown, where the long vacant Ideal Forging factory buildings have now been torn down. The town has also invested in a $5 million cleanup of the site for eventual development.
The tour will also include the Beaton & Corbin “Brownfields” site.
“It was a former plating factory,” explained Perillo. “If you ask the general public they might not know where it is, but they pass by it every day. The site has an above ground storage tank and an underground gas tank. I will be talking to the council and the board members who come along about the importance of removing the gas tank to prevent further contamination.”
Perillo will also point out locations such as the new Chick-fil-A and Quantum Biopower as examples of how the town has been successful in attracting businesses that employ many residents.
“We are bringing in thousands of dollars in property taxes that would not be there if we didn’t do the work to help attract new businesses to town,” said Perillo.
Furthermore, the tour will include potential future developments, which Perillo said will include a new hotel, a new distillery and a new sports complex.
“While there is a lot of development going on, and there is still more that can occur, we are running out of lots,” said Perillo. “The town may, going forward, have to start getting into public-private arrangements because industrial development is so expensive in this state.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.