North Stonington, Groton top list for economic growth in CT

New London

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)– Farmtrue in North Stonington produces Ghee at its Route 2 studio.

“It’s used as a cooking oil,” explained company co-founder Kim Welch. “It’s great for digestion.”

The ayurveda lifestyle company founded by Welch, along with Lynn Goodwin, is one of several new businesses including Jovial Foods, which have moved into town and long vacant spaces.

“The amount of land that was available and how heavily trafficked the area is, there was a lot of potential here,” said Welch.

“We really made a very intentional effort to remove any barriers to economic development,” said Juliet Hodge, who is the head planning, zoning, and housing for North Stonington. 

She says starting in 2010 they got rid of complicated zoning regulations and many of the mandated special permits to make the town more development friendly and it worked.

“We have a lot of land and a lot of people willing to help,” said Hodge.

The town again topped the State Department of Labor’s list for Economic Growth in the October Economic Digest.

North Stonington took the top rank for towns with under 25,000 people while Groton topped the list for towns with between 25,000 and 100,000 people.

Groton Explore More is a campaign aimed at adding to the momentum already started in town.  A video highlighting the shoreline community’s attractions and assets is used when economic development officials travel out of state to drum up new business.

Manufacturing makes up most of Groton’s growth.

“Not that there’s just one answer but Electric Boat is a large driver. An anchor for us in ramping up to over 17,000 workers,” said Paige Bronk, Economic and Community Development Manager for Groton. 

There are also many other businesses supporting the submarine industry. Some moving into town-owned property like the former school at Groton Heights.

On the other end of town Mystic is thriving with very little available space.

To rate the towns the state looked at total establishments, total employment, wages, and unemployment rate – of which Groton has one of the lowest.

“We’re averaging in the low three percent range,” said Bronk.

Like New London which has seen a lot of new housing to accommodate all the new employees at Electric Boat, Groton will also see several hundred new housing units built.

Bronk says that housing has to be amenity rich because that’s what the young employees are demanding.

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