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State Bond Commission Approves $300K For Military Museum Relocation

Chamber President Larry McHugh recaps another busy week in Middlesex County and looks ahead to the 2012 Business to Business Expo.

 

Last Monday, the Chamber welcomed former UCONN Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun as guest speaker at a sold out Member Breakfast Meeting in Cromwell.  It was a great event and a nice opportunity for our membership to thank Coach Calhoun for the fine job he has done at UCONN. 

We had a sell-out crowd which is remarkable considering we had a major Member Breakfast Meeting the Monday before with both of Connecticut’s United States Senators, Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal.  I would like to thank our entire membership for their continued support of Chamber events. 

Last Monday evening, I attended the Middletown Common Council meeting to offer the Chamber’s public support for a number of important agenda items.  The Chamber is in strong support of the city’s plan to purchase the property at 40 Liberty Street, demolish the buildings and create parking for North End residents, and provide a job creation/relocation grant to John Houston and Automatic Machine Products Inc. so the company can move to the Remington Rand site and continue to grow. 

Seeing this plan through would relieve congestion on the northern part of Main Street, would help a local company that is creating jobs, and would provide additional parking for the residents of the North End.  Our organization also stands in support of WinWholesale, Inc, a plumbing distributor based in Ohio, planning to move into a large facility in Middletown that will service the entire Northeast. 

This proposed 198,000 square foot facility on Middle Street will add to the city’s grand list and will bring jobs and more economic development to the region.  I am looking forward to attending the company’s official ground breaking this Friday.  The Chamber also supported the resolution that authorizes the city to sell the land at 182 Tuttle Road to DATTCO for an expansion project.  DATTCO is a strong member of ours and has our support. 

This is a situation where revenue from the sale will go to the general fund, the land goes back on the tax rolls, the additions to the buildings expand the grand list, and most importantly, 20 new jobs will be created.  Finally, our organization is in strong support of the bond ordinance that will appropriate almost $600,000 for city parking improvements including construction, public safety measures, and infrastructure.  I would like to publicly thank Mayor Dan Drew and the members of the Common Council for passing all of these critical items. 

Last Wednesday, the State Bond Commission approved a $300,000 allocation that will allow the Greater Middletown Military Museum to relocate to a permanent facility at Veterans’ Memorial Park. The museum plans to purchase a prefabricated building from ModSpace, a local company and new member of the Middlesex Chamber. 

The museum will be right near the Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial which will honor Connecticut soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.  There was a press conference on the site on Wednesday which officially announced the news. 

I would like to thank Senator Paul Doyle and Governor Dannel P. Malloy for making this happen at the state level, all members of our legislative delegation, especially Reps. Joe Serra and Matt Lesser who attended the press conference along with Senator Doyle, Mayor Dan Drew and Middletown Common Council members Tom Serra and Ron Klattenberg. 

I want to especially thank Museum President Ron Organek and American Legion Post 75 Commander Phil Cacciola for their unending support of local veterans and the community at large. 

Last Thursday was a busy day as I attended multiple events throughout Middlesex County.  I was honored to attend the 40th Anniversary Open House for Nathan L. Jacobson & Associates in Chester.  I would like to congratulate this fine company on 40 great years.  Jeff Jacobson is the Co-Chair of the Chamber’s Chester, Deep River, and Essex Division and has done a great job in leadership for our Chamber.  The Day Club Adult Day Center in Middletown celebrated its 20th Anniversary. 

I was happy to congratulate Ed and Annette Margnelli on 20 years of outstanding support of our senior citizens.  The Annual Meeting of the Middlesex Hospital Coporators was held on Thursday evening on the hospital campus before a large crowd.  Middlesex Hospital has taken an outstanding leadership position in health care service in our state and I want to commend President and CEO Vin Capece on his leadership and thank him for his dedication.  Finally, I stopped by Fusion Bakery’s new location in Riverview Plaza and it is terrific. 

On Friday, I attended an Open House at LABCO Welding on Industrial Park Road in Middletown which celebrated 42 years in business.  I would like to thank Vin and Michael LaBella for their great work and for their long time support of our Chamber.  Vin and I go way back, and I appreciate his friendship and advice. 

This Thursday night, I will be attending the 27th Annual Membership and Freedom Fund Awards Dinner of the Middlesex County NAACP Branch.  This year, the Chamber and its Side Street to Main Street Business & Leadership Development Program will be honored with the Community Service Award.  Now in its 16th year, and fully funded with a grant from Aetna, Inc., the Side Street to Main Street Business & Leadership Development Program is a unique, award winning entrepreneurial development course, with a rigorous curriculum, designed to assist minority small business owners in Middlesex County and beyond. 

With a focus on personal and business planning, and leadership, the Program accepts only 16 qualified applicants each year to assure maximum impact and effectiveness.  I would like to thank the Program’s Facilitator, Jim Jackson of The Essex Group and Chamber Staff Member, Jennifer De Kine for their great work making this a very effective Program, and I congratulate them on this honor. 

An important mission of the NAACP is to promote entrepreneurship and to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities.  All people, regardless of race and ethnicity should have access to livable wages and a discrimination free employment environment that is fair and healthy. 

Each year, I am honored that the NAACP presents the Larry McHugh Business Award to a business that exhibits this belief.  The Lyman Farm, Inc., of Middlefield, will be honored with this year’s award.  I would like to congratulate CEO Steve Ciskowski, Executive Vice President John Lyman, all members of the Lyman family, and their great staff. 

October in Middlesex County means that the Chamber’s Business to Business EXPO is near.  This year, the Chamber is excited to announce our first Small Business of the Year Awards Luncheon, which will be held as a key part of the EXPO on Tuesday, October 30, 2012. 

The luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. and will feature guest speaker, Commissioner Catherine Smith of the CT Department of Economic and Community Development.  The Small Business of the Year Awards program is designed to recognize the dedication, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit displayed by Connecticut's small businesses. 

If you would like to submit a nomination for a 2012 Small Business Award, please contact Johanna Bond in the Chamber office at 860-347-6924 or Johanna@middlesexchamber.com

I would like to close by recognizing the passing of Russell “Cy” Fowler. Russ, who was the owner of R. E. F. Machine Company in Middlefield for forty-eight years, was an outstanding man dedicated to the quality of life in Middlefield and in Middlesex County.  He was also a great supporter of our Chamber.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Russ’s wife Lorraine and their family. 

October is a busy month, and the Chamber continues to move forward. 

For more information on Chamber events and activities, please contact Jeff Pugliese at jpugliese@middlesexchamber.com.

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