Town of East Windsor
Economic Development Commission
11 Rye Street, P.O. Box 389
Broad Brook, CT 06016
Regular Meeting Minutes
March 20, 2006
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex, 25 School Street, Warehouse Point, CT.
I. ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM
Members Present: Eric F. Moffett, Jim Richards, Richard Covill, Matt Crossen, Sharon Aprea
Members unable Josh Kapelner
Also in attendance was Laurie Whitten, Director of Planning & Development
II. GENERAL DISCUSSION
- Economic Development Issues
· Discussion regarding “Meet Your Business Neighbors”
The date for the “Meet-Your-Business-Neighbor-Dinner” has been rescheduled and confirmed for October 26, 2006. This event is for new and expanded business owners. Mr. Jim Richards cited that the date has been reserved at La Notte for approximately 5:00 p.m. Final timeframes and details will be discussed when the date is closer. As agreed upon at the previous meeting, there will be hot and cold hors d'oeuvres in lieu of a sit down dinner. This approach will be more conducive for networking and socializing and less expensive.
Chairman Moffett noted that the Commission previously discussed a property beautification contest with awards among the town’s business properties. This event would provide a larger opportunity as all existing businesses can participate. Chairman Moffett suggested an informal cookout at the Trolley Museum if this is to be a separate event. The Commission discussed the possibility of having the cookout at the end of June, before school releases and summer vacations begin. Mr. Moffett noted that the information would be needed by the April meeting to relay the info and deadlines to the businesses. This would be a co-sponsored event by the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Commission. Jim Richards will investigate with the Trolley Museum and report back any information
at the next meeting.
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· Marketing Brochure
Chairman Moffett queried the members for comments and suggestions on the draft marketing brochure for the town, and where to target the mailings of the brochure to best promote the town. Ms. Aprea stated the brochure was done well and succinctly. Rich Covill felt the brochure wasn’t strong or enticing enough to say come to East Windsor. Mr. Moffett noted that this was just a draft idea and can be enhanced. The tear-off postcard part of the brochure contains a checklist for town information that is for returning to the town. The board members concurred that the information checklist on the return card should be revised to include: Planning & Zoning, Parks & Recreation, Board of Education, Public Works, Tax Assessor’s Office, Senior Services. The Commission discussed different ways to handle the receipt of incoming brochures, deciding that the response postcard should go directly to the First Selectman’s office. It would be beneficial if the staff in the Selectman’s
office could maintain a tracking list to determine the amount of requests for each department on the checklist. The return card would be given to the applicable department, which would send out a packet of information related to that request. Ms. Aprea will ask the Board of Education what information they have to put together in a packet. Jim Richards suggested a letter from the Superintendent of schools should accompany the Board of Ed packet.
Chairman Moffett noted that the brochure is like a storefront to the town, which would also include the town’s website address. Matt Crossen questioned where and whom the brochures were being sent to. Mr. Richards responded that the brochure can be given to almost anyone, letting people and businesses know where to find out information about the town. It’s a connection from the outside world to the inside world of East Windsor. Mr. Richards described the pamphlets that were created for the Chamber of Commerce, noting that he created mailing lists from newspapers, advertisements. The brochures could be placed at the Airport, with possible further information for restaurants and hotels in East Windsor. The Chamber sent out 50 mailings and received 5 responses.
There was continued discussion concerning postage costs, noting the need for a no-postage requirement on the return postcard. The current cost of a postcard is $0.25. As for the cost of printing the brochures, Chairman Moffett provided a rough estimate of about $500 for approximately 150 brochures. Town Planner Laurie Whitten suggested getting local businesses to become sponsors, thus bearing some of the printing and mailing costs.
Chairman Moffett commented on developing a mailing list of developers, trust funds and real estate companies. In addition, the different departments will need to be willing to develop a package that is not cumbersome, but should include a form letter with a real signature. Selectman Ed Filipone who was in attendance, stated that he would relay this subject to the First Selectman,
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inquiring whether that office would be agreeable to receiving the return card, marking it and routing to the applicable department. Mr. Moffett requested the contacts from each department. Prior to the next meeting in April, the following items should be investigated: how to pay for the printing of the brochures; investigating possible businesses as sponsors; avenues for distribution; locations to place the brochures; and the cost of business-reply mail. Mr. Crossen will check into local printers for cost estimates. Chairman Moffett requested feedback for any possible changes to the brochure. Further discussion will be continued at the April 17th meeting.
· Other Economic Development Issues
Educational Forum for Town Residents
Chairman Moffett raised the question of an open educational forum for the residents with a panel consisting of representatives from each Commission. After further discussion and debate, it was noted that a the reaction would be better received if the EDC attended each of the board meetings to discuss EDC matters and find out the concerns of each board. Again, the question was raised as to how to educate the new residents of town regarding economic development and land use matters. Town Planner Whitten commented that public television is likely the best method to get information out to the residents—that past history of meetings has shown that the same group of residents attend meetings. Jim Richards remarked that the EDC going to each of the Commissions would open the doors and also provide
an opportunity to ask their input on the town brochure. He also stated that it is the EDC who is the marketing tool and their responsibility to promote economic development—to seek out ways to get input from the other Commissions and get that information to the citizens. Matt Crossen recommended the Town Newsletter as a media tool to reach the town’s residents. Chairman Moffett was in agreement that if the newsletter is a useful marketing tool, he will pursue getting on the email list and find out the schedule and deadlines for submissions.
North Road Sewer
Selectman Ed Filipone commented on the unfortunate defeat on the vote of the North Road sewer project, noting that it will hurt the town. The Commission reiterated their feelings that it was the resident’s fear of apartment complexes that caused the sewer project to be voted out. Chairman Moffett questioned Town Planner Whitten as to the status of the new Zoning regulations. Ms. Whitten explained that the residential aspects, open space, subdivision regulations and Plan of Conservation & Development are all being updated. The draft booklets on these regulations are on the town’s website.
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Ms. Whitten cited a workshop, “A Crash Course in Economic Development”, to be held on March 29th and May 31st. It is sponsored by the Northeast Community Builders.
She also read a letter, dated March 3, 2006 from the Connecticut Development Authority, announcing a meeting, “Business Collaborative Meeting” to be held on March 30th at the Rocky Hill Marriott. Two key issues involve areas of financial importance to the stability and growth of the business community. Speakers will be Mr. John O’Toole, Manager of EDC for Northeast Utilities, and Loan officers from the CT Development Authority.
Town Planner Whitten noted that the MetroHartford Alliance has a new person, Jeff Vose, Vice President and Municipal Services Manager. He supports EDC issues in municipalities.
Chairman Moffett discussed his meeting in Franklin County, PA, with someone from the Northeast Economic Development, who was willing to provide assistance with EDC issues.
Jim Richards noted the Chamber of Commerce sponsors ‘Business-After-Hours’ events, with one being held on Thursday, March 23rd at Lomac Ltd on South Main Street – from 5:00 –7:30 p.m.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
MOTION: To approve the minutes of February 27, 2006 as submitted. Covill/Crossen-Unanimous
MOTION: To adjourn the meeting at 8:44 p.m. - Covill/Richards-Unanimous
Nancy J. Rudek,