Economic development coordinator Lou Perillo has his hands full with dozens of projects to benefit the town, and a number of long-term projects are coming to a conclusion. Industrial space, commercial building lots, or empty retail spaces are in high demand in town.
Whether it’s lodging, dining, residency, education, entertainment, athletics, shopping, healthcare, or work, Southington’s small-town aesthetic has quickly transformed into a bustling economic hub, attracting people near and far to enjoy all it has to offer.
Well-known projects such as Cranberry Cove and Greenway Commons are underway in preparation for construction, and once finished, will be a pedestrian friendly destination. The convenience of retail and restaurants, especially along the rail-trail, is an attractive factor to shoppers and employers.
With its easy access from highway I-84 and its central location in the region, Southington is a tourist hot-spot. The Economic Development Strike Committee is a key player in the town’s growth, and their hard work has not gone unnoticed.
At the Nov. 15 Town Council meeting, chairman Michael Riccio said, “The economic development in Southington is unbelievably impressive, and I’m not sure that the public gets to see or hear a lot about it that often.”
Perillo’s office serves as a link between the government and business communities, and there are a number of long-term projects—in addition to Cranberry Cove and Greenway Commons—that are nearing completion.
The Hartford Healthcare medical office building on Queen Street is also making progress every day.
The Executive Boulevard offices on West Street are almost completely filled, and by Dec. 16 Webster Bank (200 Exec. Blvd.) will have 550 employees.
Perillo said that it’s hard to find vacant properties on Queen Street with the rising number of plazas and infrastructure, providing ample shopping and food vendors.
This economic strength employs people in the community, creating a multiplier effect. If someone is employed in town, it motivates them to move closer to, if not into town, which then has them shopping and eating nearby as well. All sectors are lending a hand to improve the economy.
The most important take-away, Perillo said, is that “every aspect of our town is working together. It’s well known, we’re out to help you.”
Businesses small and large are thriving throughout the community, which helps them and the town. By attracting new customers, Southington sees more traffic and visitors. Even businesses with Bristol addresses like Lake Compounce or ESPN help Southington thrive because more often than not, people have to drive through Southington to get there.
“Strength for the region is strength for the town,” said Perillo.
For years, residents have heard about potential sports complexes being built. Hockey rinks, multi-sports complexes, and other facilities have been discussed. Some have even sought permits.
Perillo said that a contract was finally signed to build a new indoor/outdoor multi-sport complex off West Street and West Queen Street. It will serve as yet another point of interest for Southington.
Families from around the state that travel to bring their children to games and events will have endless possibilities. A five minute drive can land them at the amusement park, various restaurants, Mount Southington, shops downtown and more.
All-day tournaments can be taxing on families, but having the complex in the heart of Central Connecticut eases the burden. There are also multiple hotels in town for those spending the weekend, and hotels pay the highest rate for local taxes.
Every project, every new construction project, and every tenant added to an empty building brings tax dollars into the town.