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3 Questions for Economic Development Chair Eric Hodgson

Eric Hodgson takes over as chair of the Economic Development Commission and talks about the vision for Route 80, shopping local and more.

 

North Branford Patch: What's new with the Economic Development Commission?
Eric Hodgson: The Economic Development Committee is hard at work! As the widening and renovation of Route 80/139 progresses, the EDC is working to bring together a group of concerned residents, key stakeholders and town leadership to create a future vision for this area. Specifically, we want to gather as much input from town residents in order to figure out what types of development (housing, businesses, offices) would be most appealing and desirable for residents of North Branford. We would also try to create a unifying “look” for this area that may help to show everyone that North Branford is a great place to live.

If we work together, we can create a win-win situation. By forming a clearer picture of what we hope to see in the future for this area, we will be more successful in guiding potential developers to help us achieve these goals.

North Branford Patch: What's something residents should know?
Eric Hodgson: Shop locally! Our local businesses play a key role in our town. We depend on locally owned businesses to sponsor activities, to donate goods or services, or both – which they do without hesitation. The town receives tax revenue from the local businesses which, in turn, supports our schools, police and makes North Branford such a great place to live. We need to keep up our end of the bargain by helping these businesses prosper. 

As a way to highlight our local farms in North Branford, the EDC is working together with the Agriculture Commission to create a “farm dinner event” to be held sometime in the fall. We want to give everyone a taste (literally) of how lucky we are to have easy access to delicious, healthy and locally grown fresh food.  Stay tuned for upcoming details.

Remember, when our local businesses succeed, our town becomes stronger. 

North Branford Patch: What is your favorite thing about winter?
Eric Hodgson: I love hiking in the snow with my dog, Atticus.  He loves the snow!

Tell us: How do you envision Route 80? What would you like to see there?

Lindsay February 04, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Yes, yes and yes! I would love to see a more unified look throughout town, and more specifically the Bobby's strip. I would love to see some new businesses open up and for someone to fill the vacant building (old supermarket) in the Dairy Queen/McDonalds plaza. And I can't wait until the road work is finished!
James Dwyer February 04, 2013 at 07:05 PM
From Twin Lakes Rd to the Atwater Library on Rte 80- Foxon Rd, there could be a few new restaurants on the south side of the road (Rte 80) There is a three acre building lot for lease or for sale on Rte 80. Maybe a Ruby Tuesdays, an Outback Steakhouse, or a Chili's could be welcome here. The Town Council members need to focus on this economic potential area when voting on it. However, the traffic speed is unbearable in this area. Maybe we can slow it down with some new neat restaurants.
Deirdre Salemme February 04, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I would love to see Central Plaza become a town green-like area with shops, and a place for comminity events! I'd also like to see more sidewalks so that people can walk to different stores, the library, etc...and just enjoy our town! I live with-in walking distance but walking in the streets, especially with a stroller, isn't very safe! Dairy Queen is such a big draw in the warmer months, there is so much potential to make going into town more enjoyable! Also, a lot of the strip malls could use a facelift...and because we do have wonderful farms in our town I would love a local farmer's market!
Blue Sky February 04, 2013 at 11:04 PM
All those that comment above must be idiots! I grew up in that town. Yes, I would agree that the strip malls need a face lift but that is NOT up to the town that is up to the owners of the building. Mind you if the owner is FORCED to revamp the exterior of the building, the expense is passed down to the bussiness that is renting it and eventually, you the consumer pays for it over and over again. Also having a centrally localized "farmer's market" sounds like a good idea but again they will have to pay for the space and again the consumer pays for the increase in the produce. North Branford is a TOWN not a city like New Haven or West Haven where they don't have farmers close by. If you don't like it, MOVE! Leave North Branford alone. Isn't that why you moved there in the first place? For its charm. Because of progress they ruined the bridge on Mill Road. Now as you drive by you can't see the falls unless you are driving in a big truck. We lost that beautification. What else are you risking to lose?
Eric Hodgson February 05, 2013 at 11:24 PM
I'm so excited to see the ideas and comments coming from folks in the community about possibilities for work on the Rte 80/139 corridor. We are in the very early stages of this work, so stay tuned for ways to get and stay involved. Knowing that reasonable people will sometimes disagree on the direction things will take, I encourage everyone to get involved in the Town so your voice can be heard as decisions are made. Pick the area that most concerns you and find out where you can help! For example, the Democratic and Republican Town Committees are always looking for volunteers to participate on commissions and other "official" work groups that help to keep the town moving forward. You might even consider running for town council or other elected positions. It is a fundamental part of life that change is inevitable. By getting involved, you can make sure that the things you value most about North Branford are taken into consideration as future decisions are made. Eric Hodgson

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