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Jobs, housing and business check all of the boxes for New London

Mike Passero, Mayor of New London talking at the Economic Forum.
Brian Scott-Smith
Mike Passero, Mayor of New London talking at the Economic Forum.

The City of New London is among the poorest municipalities in the state. But the past few years have been good to the city with new market rate and affordable housing and other major projects.

Mayor Mike Passero, during an Economic Development Forum on Wednesday, credited these recent investments for giving New London the boost it needed to help the city grow.

“Private developers are investing here because they realize they can get a return on their investment,” Passero said. “That wasn’t the case for many many years as investment in the city was sluggish and non-existent.”

“Finally, we’ve got the formula right: Daring to believe has attracted investment,” he added.

Private investors have helped make New London lead the region in new market rate and affordable housing, the mayor said. Statewide, Connecticut lags an estimated 85,000 affordable rental units. This new housing will support major local employers, like submarine maker Electric Boat, which is looking to add around 5,000 new employees in 2023.

Officials also hope the redevelopment of State Pier will bring additional jobs from the offshore wind industry later this year.

To Felix Reyes, the city’s director of economic development and planning, the greatest improvement to New London in his career is a long-awaited community center, featuring 58,000-square-feet of recreational space, basketball courts and swimming pool.

“You know what’s crazy, is that these kids in New London, they live on the water, and, when 90% of them don’t even know how to swim, that really hurts,” Reyes said. “These are the amenities these children deserve.”

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.