Last week partners in the Naugatuck Valley gathered at NVision2020 in Waterbury to discuss asset based strategies for regional development with a focus on transportation infrastructure. The event was appropriately hosted at the beautifully renovated Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury– a true gem!
CT Post article about the event by Hugh Bailey
“Just as few regions prospered as much as the Naugatuck Valley at the height of industry, few were as damaged when the factories left town.
But previous eras left behind the kind of downtowns that companies are once again seeking in the new economy, local leaders said on Thursday, while acknowledging that persuading businesses to come won’t be easy.
“Compact, walkable, vibrant town centers rose around industry,” said Mark Nielsen, director of planning at theNaugatuck Valley Council of Governments. With those kind of communities again in demand, he said, the region has plenty to offer to companies and younger workers.
The conference Thursday was organized by NVCOG and featured an array of state and local leaders who described how the economy has changed and what towns can do to get ahead. Though the Valley is marked in many ways by its past, in terms of closed factories, depopulated Main streets and an aging populace, its towns are poised for growth, speakers said.
“Amenities are primary to attracting talent,” said Laura Brown, a planner with the University of Connecticut’s extension program. “In the new economy, we have to embrace what we already have, and the waterfronts, the downtowns and the people are what we have.”