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10/22/2013 - Waterbury and Surrounding Towns Awarded Federal Economic Development District Status

Designation Will Open Up Additional Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced the approval of the Naugatuck Valley Corridor Economic Development District’s request for designation as an Economic Development District (EDD). The EDD is comprised of the municipalities of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethlehem, Cheshire, Derby, Middlebury, Naugatuck, Newtown, Oxford, Prospect, Seymour, Shelton, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury.

For over ten years, the EDD has been meeting as the Naugatuck Valley Corridor Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy group in order to be eligible for federal economic development dollars and to work to strengthen the region. Members include Mayors and First Selectmen, the Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Valley Council of Governments, Waterbury Development Corporation and Shelton Economic Development Corporation.

Mayor Neil M. O’Leary spoke today at the inaugural meeting of the communities in the Naugatuck Valley Corridor, of which Waterbury is the center city. “I am a firm believer in regional collaboration. It is essential for Waterbury’s economic growth and prosperity. It is clear to me that our communities, working together, can leverage more resources and create more opportunities for economic development,” Mayor O’Leary said. 
Under Mayor O’Leary’s watch, Waterbury has taken an active role in the organization. Waterbury has received $1.2 million in EDA funding for the Cherry Street redevelopment project, as well as federal funding for various economic development projects, as have other communities in the Naugatuck Valley Corridor for infrastructure projects, Brownfields, and industrial parks. The federal and state governments have been working with these communities to help fund projects that will have considerable impact on the region.

The EDD designation will serve as a foundation for future economic success that will benefit both families and businesses, and will open up additional funding opportunities and strengthen the District’s position statewide. Almost every state has adopted EDDs. In 2009, Connecticut recognized EDDs and subsequently, Naugatuck Valley Corridor Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy group sought federal designation.