First Selectman Mike Tetreau is very pleased to announce that the Town of Fairfield was among two dozen communities in the State to receive accreditation from the Connecticut Economic Development Association (CEDAS) for exemplifying Best Practices in Economic Development at last week’s CEDAS’ Annual Meeting.
The CEDAS Best Practices Program was developed to spur communities to pursue excellence in economic development and land use practices and to recognize those communities within the State that have set the mark and worked to establish best practices.
Director of Community & Economic Development Mark Barnhart said, “We constantly strive to make improvements to better serve the business community and public at large. We are very appreciative of this statewide recognition for the work that we are already doing, and wish to congratulate our fellow awardees.”
First Selectman Tetreau stated, “It is quite an honor for the Town to receive this high distinction that highlights the numerous economic development achievements that serve as a model to others. Thanks to the hard work of Mr. Barnhart, his staff, the Economic Development Commission, our local business community and our strong partnership with the Chamber, Fairfield is a most desirable place to live, work and visit.”
The Town of Fairfield underwent a rigorous application and peer review process that required documentation of its procedures and adherence to industry best practices. The Town was able to showcase the policies that it uses to support local businesses and target strategic business growth.
Among the activities highlighted in the Town’s application were:
• Working with the Economic Development Commission to identify priority sites for redevelopment and to evaluate opportunities for transit-oriented development to expand the Town’s commercial tax base; and
• Initiating a “Buy Local” campaign to support local businesses and to help strengthen Fairfield’s local economy; and
• Working collaboratively with other communities within the region to help launch the Fairfield Five initiative to attract new business investment, to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and to encourage brownfield redevelopment; and
• Developing a long-range economic development strategic plan as well as a business retention program; and
• Launching a new business attraction website, ChooseFairfield, to define the unique value proposition that Fairfield has to offer and providing information and resources to businesses looking to relocate to Fairfield; and
• Cultivating a strong partnership with the Fairfield Chamber of Commerce on various business-oriented initiatives, particularly on retail events such as the Holiday Shop & Stroll, Small Business Saturday and the Summer Sidewalk Sale & Street Fair; and
• Organizing a Fairfield Arts/Tourism Committee to coordinate with the CT Office of Tourism and to help promote Fairfield’s arts, cultural and historical attractions through initiatives such as the Fairfield Town Map & Guide and a new mobile-responsive website ExperienceFairfieldCT.org; and
• Partnering with CT Small Business Development Center and others to provide workshops, technical assistance and no-cost advising services to both prospective and existing business owners; and
• Assisting numerous entrepreneurs with training, technical assistance, and start-up capital needed to create and sustain their viable and productive small businesses in Fairfield through the Micro-Enterprise Assistance (federally funded) program.
In announcing the awards, CEDAS President Garrett Sheehan stated, “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,” Mr. Sheehan continued, “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.”
About the Best Practices Program:
The Best Practices program was created in partnership with Eversource, UI, Pullman & Comley, and STV/DPM to serve 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. More information about the program can be found here.
CEDAS is a non-profit association of economic development professionals. Managed by a 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.
The photo shows: Economic Development Commission member Alethe Fatherley, CEDAS President Garrett Sheehan, Director of Community & Economic Development Mark Barnhart, and EDC member Don Peterson accepting the Town’s award at the CEDAS Annual Meeting that took place in Bridgeport, CT on October 23, 2019.