First Selectman Michael J. Freda expressed a positive outlook on the town’s economic development future last Thursday, citing recent successful developments and opportunities and the challenges moving forward.
“There will be continued new businesses coming to North Haven, that I can guarantee you. There will be top line revenue growth; that is a commitment also, that is definitely going to happen,” Freda said.
Freda presented “the State of North Haven” to business people and community leaders gathered at the town’s annual fall economic breakfast event at Fantasia, sponsored by Newtown Savings Bank. He announced the town was re-rated AAA.
Among the recent economic growth, he listed more than 20 new businesses or complexes that have either opened up or have committed to opening in town. These include Amazon, still scheduled for a May 2019 opening; a variety of businesses in Washington Commons on Washington Avenue; a new specialty beer manufacturer at 341 State St.; and the expansion of BYK from Wallingford at 33 Stiles Lane.
“A good example of what I think we need more of in Connecticut is a company like BYK not leaving from point A to point B within Connecticut, certainly not leaving the state, but a company that's expanding from one municipality into another,” Freda said. “This will be a very productive company here in town.”
Some projects in the works are new developments on the site of Cinemark, 550 Universal Drive, a train station at the end of Stiles Lane, a hotel at 425 Washington Ave., and a drive-through Dunkin Donuts at 102 Middletown Ave.
Freda said the train station’s location shifted from Devine Street to the end of Stiles Lane. It is being re-designed, which is fully funded, but Freda said they don’t know where the state transportation fund will end up in terms of funding the construction portion of the project. He said DOT officials have expressed commitment to seeing the station through.
“I'm very excited about the prospects of that, at the end of Stiles,” Freda said.
Among a select group of other presenters at the annual breakfast was CEO and president of Workforce Alliance, Bill Villano. He presented on the status of Connecticut’s workforce, what jobs are out there, and which industries are growing.
“As we all know, Connecticut is facing a very challenging financial crisis, but what sometimes gets lost in that discussion is that Connecticut is in fact facing an equally challenging job crisis,” said Richard LoPresti, of the North Haven Economic Development Commission, as he introduced Villano.
Villano said the manufacturing industry has a significant lead in job growth in the state and 13,000 jobs are projected to open in manufacturing alone in 2018, according to CBIA.
Freda said North Haven will be part of the much-needed job creation and growth.
“We will be a driving factor in the region's growth. Amazon will help that, in conjunction with all the new businesses we have coming in,” Freda said.