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October 2, 2017

Tonka Trucks & Building Blocks

Filed under: SRDC — admin @ 5:48 am

(This column by SRDC Executive Director Bob Flint appears in the SRDC Fall Newsletter)

Even though my father and oldest brother were carpenters (Barry still is), I never really had much interest in playing with toy trucks or plastic hammers. Sure, I had them and enjoyed pushing them around the dogs and cats, but it never felt like my destiny.

I thought of that a couple of weeks ago when I was standing with Doug Gurney (and you know he surely had the best toy trucks!) behind J & L Plant 1. We were there to check out the work that the EPA Removals program was completing, removing the “grinding swarf” behind the building. It was pretty impressive – Doug figured it was 450 tons of material. Yet, both of us realized it was just another step (albeit a good sized one) in the seemingly never-ending journey of J & L. Yes, the equipment was a bit larger than the toys of yesteryear!

Across the street, we’re working to put the former Bryants building together, piece by piece. We hope to have space at both ends of the property available for cold storage for this winter (roof and interior work will be taking place in a bit) and we’re working to determine what stays/goes of the existing building.

In Windsor, SRDC is working with Distinctly Windsor/Windsor Improvement Corporation to assume operations of the former Goodyear property. SRDC will also have a regional Revolving Loan Fund to build upon the good work that CRDC has done for many years, assisting small businesses in Southern Windsor County.

Next door to the former Goodyear site is the Jarvis Street area of Windsor. Distinctly Windsor/Windsor Improvement Corporation is taking the bold step of “lifting” one of the small houses that has been in disrepair for many years. The elevation solves a flood zone issue, which has precluded this (and other homes in that area) from accessing the funding to put it back in shape. We have been providing oversight for this project which, along with Goodyear, are significant puzzle pieces for the revitalization of downtown Windsor.

We’re also involved with efforts in downtown Springfield, working with old friend Matt Dunne on a potentially exciting project centered around the former Park Street School. It’s early in the process, but we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ll have some interesting things to announce in the coming weeks and months. The project is built upon the remarkable gigabit (and more) connectivity we have because of the vision and investment that VTel has made in the region.

I still have my father’s yellow Connecticut Valley Construction hat kicking around. I’m not sure he ever entirely understood whatever it is I do at SRDC, but he knew it had something to do with “building”. In some ways, I guess, I’m swinging a metaphorical hammer each and every day!

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