Economic Development

CEDAS Recognizes Municipalities’ ‘Best Practices Policies’

city street in Connecticut
Photo: CEDAS

CEDAS ISSUES ‘BEST PRACTICES IN LAND USE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT’ ACCREDITATION TO TWENTY-FOUR CONNECTICUT COMMUNITIES

The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) is proud to announce that it has certified twenty-four Connecticut cities and towns as exemplifying best practices in land use and economic development. These twenty-four communities subjected themselves to a rigorous application review process that required documentation of their procedures for development projects and consideration of their economic development strategy.

This is CEDAS’s first year accrediting communities. The program, presented by sponsors Eversource and UI, was conceived as a way to recognize communities that are committed to doing economic development and at the same time, to raise the bar for excellence in the entire state. Applications were submitted from across Connecticut, with towns and cities showcasing the policies that create efficient economic development processes, target strategic business growth, and implement planning and zoning practices that thoughtfully plan for future population and community-specific needs. The 2019 application cycle opened in June and concluded on September 15th. The expectation is that other communities will follow their lead and take part in next year’s accreditation process.

This year’s certified communities are the:  Town of Bethel, Town of Bolton, City of Bridgeport, Town of Brookfield, Town of Canton, City of Groton, Town of Ellington, Town of Fairfield, Town of Farmington, City of Hartford, Town of Madison, Town of Manchester, City of Milford, City of New Haven, Town of New Milford, Town of Newtown, Town of North Haven, Town of North Stonington, City of Norwich, Town of Portland, Town of Groton, Town of West Hartford, Town of Windham, and Town of Windsor.

Awards will be presented to communities receiving 2019 ‘Best Practices in Economic Development and Land Use Planning’ accreditation at the CEDAS’ Annual Meeting on October 23rd in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This event will celebrate successful applicants, present updates on CEDAS’ activities and growth, and continue the conversation on how ‘Best Practices’ communities can showcase this designation as models for growth and as partners for future investment. To secure tickets please visit www.cedas.org.

“In order for our state to be successful at economic development, we need all levels working together and at the top of their game – local, regional, and state. The communities we are recognizing have shown a commitment to economic development and exemplify that Connecticut is open for business,” said Garrett Sheehan, this year’s President of CEDAS and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.  This program was never intended to be a competition, but rather a way to raise our collective standards. I strongly encourage all Connecticut communities to adopt these best practices and apply for next year’s certification.”

“This program was an excellent way to recognize the existing efforts of many communities and provide great examples of best practices for others. It was an amazing collaboration and I was pleased to work on the program” said Laura Brown, UConn Extension and CEDAS Board Member.

The Best Practices program was created as a partnership with Eversource, UI, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM to present this accreditation as a catalyst for economic development in Connecticut. Collaborating partners include UConn Extension, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center.  Connecticut can celebrate in the fact that it has many communities that are committed to economic development and doing it right.  Staff, volunteers, and elected officials spent hours putting together their applications. Officials and volunteers organizing their community’s application also used this process as a chance to review their current policies and plans for business and community growth and as an opportunity to receive recommendations for updates and future improvements.  According to one applicant “We applied because we do have best practices, but the internal and external dialogues don’t recognize that. This designation helps change the dialogue, and gives us direction on improvements.” The Program review committee also identified initiatives and programs that represent model approaches. These existing programs will be organized to create a resource library of examples for other communities looking for successful examples.

More information about the program is available at https://www.cedas.org/Resources/CT-Best-Practices-In-Land-Use-and-Economic-Development/

CEDAS is a non-profit association of economic development professionals. The organization is managed by an all-volunteer board.  CEDAS works closely with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to foster economic growth in the state. CEDAS focuses networking and training opportunities for its membership.

The Connecticut Economic Development Association congratulates those communities receiving the 2019 ‘Best Practices in Economic Development and Land Use’ accreditation and aims to highlight their success and contributions to promoting Connecticut as a home for future business and community growth.

Fall Updates from UConn Extension

food, health and sustainability venn diagram

UConn Extension is pleased to share the following updates with you:

  • An update on the strategic planning process for the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources, as well as internal re-organization of Extension program teams.
  • Our UConn CLEAR program worked with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on a sea level rise model map viewer, and a webinar is being offered on October 16th.
  • UConn Extension, and our Connecticut Trail Census program will be at the Connecticut Trails Symposium on Thursday, October 24th at Goodwin College in East Hartford.
  • We have two part-time positions open at the Hartford County Extension Center in Farmington. Applications are due by Thursday, October 3rd.
  • We are growing food and health with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation in Ledyard through a USDA-NIFA grant.

Read all of our updates.

Job Openings

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Join us! We have two part-time positions open, both located in our Hartford County Extension Center in Farmington. We are seeking a part-time program aide, and a part-time Extension eLearning developer. Apply online at https://hr.uconn.edu/jobs/ – click on staff, and search Job IDs 2020125 and 2020126.

New Team to Lead CT Trail Census Data & Education Program

NEW TEAM TO LEAD CONNECTICUT TRAIL CENSUS DATA COLLECTION AND EDUCATION PROGRAM

The University of Connecticut (UConn) Extension is pleased to welcome Charles Tracy as the new Coordinator, and Ryan Faulkner as the new Project Specialist of the Connecticut Trail Census Program. The Connecticut Trail Census is a statewide volunteer-based data collection and education program that operates on trails across the state. The program collects information about trail use through trail use counts recorded by infrared pedestrian counters and trail user intercept surveys administered by trained volunteers, and disseminates trail use information through public education programs.

Charles Tracy
Charles Tracy

“Connecticut’s diverse trail networks are among the state’s most scenic, valuable and enduring assets,” said Tracy. “Connecticut’s trails support public health, promote community, provide alternative transportation, encourage tourism, and strengthen the economy. I’m looking forward to developing an accurate and compelling picture of who uses trails in Connecticut, and then finding creative ways to share that picture to advance and inform new trail design and construction throughout the state.”

“We’re thrilled to have such an amazing team on board to continue and grow this work,” said Census team member Laura Brown with UConn Extension. “The new staff will focus on developing new partnerships with public and private organizations in areas such as economic development, health, and transportation who have an interest in trails but might not have engaged with the trail user community before. We’ll also be increasing our educational programs to help communities and leaders make better use of this valuable data.”

The Trail Census encourages data informed decision-making and promotes active citizen participation in multi-use trail monitoring and advocacy. It has operated since 2017 and in 2018 the Census documented an estimated 1,449,220 uses on the 16 participating sites. The program has since grown to over 20 participating data collection sites across the state. The program received $206,043 in funding from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Recreational Trails Program to continue work through 2019.

Charles Tracy has been leading community and regional trail development and landscape conservation initiatives throughout New England since 1988 and will be retiring from his current position as a National Park Service landscape architect. Tracy has been superintendent of the New England National Scenic Trail and national lead for NPS art partnerships. He holds master’s degrees in landscape architecture from the University of Massachusetts and in classics from the University of Texas. 

Ryan Faulkner joins the Census after nearly two years of contributions as a project intern while completing his BA in

Ryan Faulkner
Ryan Faulkner

Economics from UConn in 2017. He is currently a Master’s Degree Candidate in Geography at Central Connecticut State University.

“I look forward to forming closer relationships with our volunteers and partners,” Ryan said. “It’s exciting to now have the resources and staff to take the Trail Census to the next level. Trails are a keystone to building a prosperous and healthy Connecticut, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish this coming year.” 

The Trail Census is statewide and serves community leaders and decision makers including local elected officials, planners, economic development professionals, trail advocates, trail maintenance professionals, environmental, health and outdoor activity advocates, as well as the general public. The program was developed as a partnership program between UConn Extension, the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, the Connecticut Greenways Council, and local trail advocacy organizations. The project is advised by a volunteer steering committee. For more information or to get involved visitcttrailcensus.uconn.edu.

Ask UConn Extension

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Do you have food, health, or environmental sustainability questions?

Ask UConn Extension.

We have specialists located throughout the state to answer your questions and connect you with the power of UConn research.

Fill out this form with your question: http://bit.ly/AskUConnExtension

UConn Helps New Farmers ‘Bridge the Gap’

Originally published by UConn Today on July 29, 2019

vegetables on a table at Ghost Fawn Homestead in Willington
Photo: Ghost Fawn Homestead

Cari and Ken Donaldson had always wanted to farm. After finding a property in Willington, they established Ghost Fawn Homestead five years ago. Today, gardens and vegetable beds dot the hillside, while chickens quietly go about their day in the yard.

“We are the second owner of this farm. It’s just under 10 acres, and we currently have three acres in cultivation, with plans to expand,” says Cari Donaldson. “New farmers don’t know what they don’t know, or what resources are available. UConn Extension has been really good at bridging that gap for us.”

Farming can be a challenging profession filled with joys, discomfort, and economic risk.  The Donaldsons have tapped into a suite of UConn Extension programs to help them get established as farmers, including the Solid Ground Farmer Trainings, Vegetable Crops Integrated Pest Management, Put Local on Your Tray, as well as Taste of Mansfield.

“Cari has been a smart user of Extension resources and training,” says Jiff Martin, associate extension educator in sustainable food systems. “As much as we want to help her family’s farm business grow, her feedback also helps us grow and evolve our own programming so we can offer new farmers the types of help they really need. We’ve been especially interested in supporting Cari’s enthusiasm for selling to schools and have leveraged resources through our Put Local on Your Tray program to assist.”

Put Local on Your Tray helps school districts source, serve, and celebrate local food by incorporating Connecticut-grown ingredients into school lunch menus.  In the 2019-2020 school year, more than 80 school districts will participate in Put Local On Your Tray.

“Stephanie Richard, the Mansfield schools’ food service director, gave us an entrance into the wholesale market,” Cari says. “It’s a weight off our minds being able to grow for the schools. I can’t say enough about UConn Extension’s Put Local on Your Tray Program, and Stephanie. People are always the most excited about the fact that we grow food for the schools.”

“As a food service director, I find that Put Local on Your Tray is a great asset for promotional and marketing materials,” says Richard. “Making arrangements with farmers, meetings, figuring out how much product we can take in and work with pulls time away from the marketing part. With Put Local on Your Tray, I am able to focus more time on building relationships with farmers and coaching my staff who work with the produce.”

Working with Richard also helped Cari Donaldson develop the language she needed to attract other wholesale buyers, including other schools that will begin purchasing from the farm in the fall.

“Put Local on Your Tray has information that schools need to alleviate their concerns about purchasing from local farms,” Donaldson says.

And Put Local on Your Tray isn’t the only program offered by Extension to help new farmers in Connecticut. Solid Ground Farmer Trainings, for example, are for farmers with less than ten years of farming experience. Small group workshops are offered in-person with experts in soils, production, farm finances, pesticide safety, irrigation, agriculture mechanics, and more. Fact sheets, guides, videos, and online tutorials on the program’s website are frequently used resources by farmers throughout the state.

Charlotte Ross, project coordinator for Solid Ground Farmer Trainings, owns and operates Sweet Acre Farm in Lebanon. Before serving as project coordinator, she participated in Extension’s beginning farmer trainings. Ross says, “We’ve learned a lot about new farmers through the Solid Ground Training Program. New farmers are as time-limited as anyone and are hungry for practical knowledge. Given the amount of information you can find online already, our training provides more than how-to instructions. They offer opportunities to have your questions answered by an expert, hands-on practice, and a chance to network with other new farmers.”

“You just want to farm. You don’t want to be a salesman, but that’s half of the job,” Ken Donaldson says. “UConn Extension helps with that. The networking and assistance in finding buyers is huge, and has been the most beneficial part of our involvement with Extension. We’re getting better at farming each year, and that’s a really cool thing.”

The Solid Ground Farmer Trainings are sponsored by the USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Award #2016-70017-25416.

Article by Stacey Stearns

CEDAS Launches “Best Practices” Accreditation

CONNECTICUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION WELCOMES CONNECTICUT MUNICIPALITIES TO SHOWCASE ‘BEST PRACTICES’ – LAUNCHES ‘BEST PRACTICES IN LAND USE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT’ ACCREDITATION

city street in Connecticut
Photo: CEDAS

The Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) is announcing the launch of the ‘Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development’ certification to recognize Connecticut municipalities for outstanding land use practices.

In creating this program, CEDAS partnered with sponsors Eversource, UI, CNG, SCG, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM to present this accreditation as a strategy for sharing information on planning policies and as a catalyst for economic development in Connecticut. Collaborating partners include the Connecticut Economic Development Association, Connecticut Economic Resource Center, the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, and UConn Extension.

The Best Practices program provides a tool for planners, economic developers, and community leaders to review their existing strategies for economic development and drives them to pursue creative, community specific practices for encouraging investment and smart planning. “This is a great opportunity for staff, commissioners, and elected officials in every community to improve their effectiveness in economic development by reviewing their existing strategies and understanding what they could improve.” said Garrett Sheehan, President of CEDAS. “We’re interested in giving communities ideas and tools for making improvements that work best for them.”

The program was designed over the past two years with significant input from economic development professionals and planners. According to Kelly Buck, CEDAS Board Member and Co-Chair of the Best Practices Committee “This program is the result of a unique collaboration including a diverse range of partners. We’ve reached out to share the idea with groups like the Connecticut Developers Forum, the Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association and were very interested in learning from communities presently leading the way.”

Communities who document use of established best practices will be recognized and will receive an award at the CEDAS annual meeting in October, 2019. Applications will be evaluated by a committee of each of CEDAS’ collaborating partners. To demonstrate continuous improvement, applicants may re-submit for recertification every three years and share their successful strategies as models of ‘Best Practices’ for other Connecticut communities. The program will be revised each year to reflect input from communities.

Interested communities can download the application and read more about the program at https://www.cedas.org/Resources/CT-Best-Practices-In-Land-Use-and-Economic-Development/. Applications are due on September 15, 2019. Information and questions about the program may be addressed to cedasprograms@gmail.com

The Connecticut Economic Development Association works closely with the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and the Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) to foster economic growth in the state through its support of legislation, connect planners, policymakers, and community leaders with information on development practices and strategies, and to co-sponsor events to attract businesses and investment to Connecticut. Learn more about CEDAS at www.cedas.org.