Killingly, Conn. — Though plans have been in the works for the Quinebaug Regional Technology Park in Putnam for 10 years, Putnam town officials pitched the concept to the Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments for the first time last week according to the Norwich Bulletin.
The Town seeks to construct a technology park on 229 acres off Kennedy Drive in Putnam. The park will be focused on environmental and green technology. Putnam already has received $2.97 million in state funding to construct a bridge to the park and $469,000 in state funding for roadways leading from the bridge into the park.
Council Chairman and Pomfret First Selectman Jim Rivers said the discussions about the idea for the regional park and for regional economic development will continue at the council’s February meeting.
But the park carries with it $11 million in infrastructure costs, according to Putnam Town Administrator Doug Cutler. If the project were regional, it would be eligible for up to 75 percent of the cost in grant funding, Cutler said.
Cutler and Putnam Mayor Pete Place presented ways in which the council towns could cooperate and benefit from the proposed park. Both apologized for not coming to the council sooner.
Cutler said the region needs to change how it looks at economic development. Now, he said, towns compete against each other to attract grants and businesses.
A possible way to change, Cutler said, would be to market the region as a whole. The region could court companies and then determine where the best fit would be, whether in parks, commercial space or former mills, in any of the council towns.
Beyond marketing, Cutler said towns could work together financially on regional economic development. Towns would invest jointly in projects, such as the Putnam park, but also would share the revenues or taxes of new developments.
No concrete models or figures were discussed Friday. Cutler said the leadership needs to discuss and decide what would work best for the region.
Filed under: CT Green News