Our GrowSMART Pop-Up Workshop has traveled the region, asking members of our community to name our region's greatest strengths. With over 100 different responses, we thought it'd be fun to share the results in an unusual way... a word cloud! It's clear from the visualization that the Connecticut River, our region's beauty, and sense of community are valued highly by our region's residents. What do you think about the word cloud? Do you agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts!
We asked John Guszkowski, consultant Town Planner for Essex and Clinton, to answer some tough questions about the current state of our region’s economy. This response is coming straight from his desk – and is meant to stir conversation, spark your interest, and shed some light on WHY this project is necessary.
Q: Can you find qualified help these days?
A: Larger employers, particularly those needing skilled professionals (health care, manufacturing, etc.) should consider re-visiting the old factory-town model, or some hybrid approach. Employers could work with Towns, property owners, and developers, to find or create housing opportunities for young professionals or qualified workers. Having quality housing opportunities available close by to employment is a huge benefit to both employer and employee. The communities of RiverCOG already have established excellent reputations for both quality of life and raising families. Having ready housing close to work, particularly in interesting places, would be a major attraction and a difference-maker.
We asked Kip Bergstrom from CT OPM, (and also a Saybrook resident) to answer some tough questions about the current state of our region’s economy. This response is coming straight from his desk – and is meant to stir conversation, spark your interest, and shed some light on WHY this project is necessary.
Q: WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THAT OLD FACTORY?
A: We should try to reinvent our mills as new places of making, not just apartments or condos. They can be spectacular places to work with their exposed brick walls, natural light, and often, a rushing stream or mill race nearby. Some of them could be reconnected to water power to provide their own green energy. They could be new homes to various combinations of artists, artisans, tinkerers, tech entrepreneurs, and researchers. If redeveloped sensitively and imaginatively, many of the mills and the still existent worker housing around them could be walkable places of great character and vitality.
- Kip Bergstrom, CT OPM