With Connecticut’s economy expected to feature prominently in the 2018 election season, the League of Women Voters of Greenwich is hosting a community forum on Tuesday, April 24 to discuss ways we can enhance economic competitiveness around our state. The event titled “Reimagining Our Economic Future: A 21st Century Vision for Our Town, State and Region,” will highlight policy proposals in a number of key areas, including transportation; business attraction and retention; commercial, residential and transit-oriented real estate development; downtown revitalization; and, climate change resiliency. The forum is being co-sponsored by the Town of Greenwich and the Greenwich Library, and will be held in the Cole Auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments and the program starts promptly at 7 p.m. Although admission is free, registration is required at League.RSVP@gmail.com by April 17.
Joining the distinguished panel will be senior representatives from the Regional Plan Association, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, the Town of Greenwich and the Connecticut Main Street Center. The aim is to involve the audience in a discussion about how we can spur economic development everywhere, starting with the main streets in our neighborhoods and expanding beyond them to include our town, state and the tri-state region.
Another reason for the League’s involvement with this issue is to ensure that voters hear all sides of Connecticut’s economic story. “Without minimizing the fiscal challenges faced by our state, it is important to understand the strengths we have too. There is a lot we can do to capitalize on them to help propel Connecticut’s economy forward in a way that benefits everyone,” said Deirdre Kamlani, League of Women Voters Board and Program Committee member.
The League has assembled a panel that is engaged every day in the work of economic development; they will share their vision and their success stories in and around Connecticut, demonstrating the possibilities for every municipality in the state.
The timing of the program was also influenced by the fact that the Town of Greenwich is in the midst of updating its Plan of Conservation and Development. According to Katie DeLuca, one of the panelists and Director of the Town’s Planning and Zoning Department, “Updating the POCD every ten years gives us the chance to reconnect with our residents and businesses, allowing them to have a say in how they want to see our Town develop over the next decade. So, this larger discussion about our state and region will help to put the Town’s goals in perspective.”
The League also hopes that the program will help crystallize exactly what economic development is and how we can start a community conversation around it. “We sometimes think of economic development as something that happens around us, with businesses and governments as the main driving forces. The truth is that community organizations and individuals can have an impact too. So, we hope that people will come away from the evening not only energized about the possibilities for our state, but also inspired about the role they can play in our state’s economic future,” said Nancy Duffy, League Board and Program Committee member.