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WEST HAVEN, Dec. 14, 2020 — The City Council on Monday night, Dec. 14, approved Mayor Nancy R. Rossi’s proposal for establishing a state-designated Enterprise Zone in West Haven that would run the length of Front Avenue and Spring Street and include the city’s compost site and North End Field.
Connecticut’s statewide Enterprise Zone Program was the first in the country, authorized by the General Assembly in 1981, and qualifies businesses to receive state and local tax incentives when developing properties in distressed areas, or zones, of municipalities.
In West Haven, the proposed area is the only one that meets the qualifications for an Enterprise Zone designation. The zone needs to be a contiguous tract of land with high poverty and unemployment rates, along with a significant percentage of the population on public assistance within the boundary.
New or expanding businesses wishing to participate in the Enterprise Zone Program must submit proposals for approval by the state and be located within the zone. Those businesses would then receive tax abatements on state-levied corporate taxes and local real estate and personal property taxes.
The council’s approval of the Enterprise Zone clears the way for the city to submit its proposal to the state Department of Economic and Community Development for final approval.
“I want to thank state Rep. Michael DiMassa (D-West Haven), who has been instrumental in the research and the development of the city’s Enterprise Zone application,” Rossi said. “This designation will help us develop and revitalize the city’s neediest area, generating new commercial tax revenue and well-paying local jobs.
“With city and state approval, West Haven will become a targeted investment community for research, manufacturing, service, and warehousing operations looking to build or expand within the zone with a substantial initial tax benefit.”
DiMassa said: “I am excited about the newly proposed Enterprise Zone, much of which is in my district. This is a great opportunity for the development of underutilized land and the construction, renovation, and expansion of new and existing businesses.
“I want to thank Mayor Rossi and her administration for working with me and my staff on this yearlong process. This zone will result in a vital increase in the grand list by commercial investment and jobs for our residents. This will give our local economy the boost it needs.”
Rossi added: “The city has already received some interest from the business community on the proposed Enterprise Zone, and I look forward to moving this program forward quickly once approved. I also want to thank state Sens. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven) and James Maroney (D-Milford) and state Reps. Dorinda Borer (D-West Haven) and Charles Ferraro (R-West Haven) for their support of this important West Haven economic initiative.
“I believe this will really improve this area and generate much-needed revenue and jobs.”
A satellite image shows the proposed Enterprise Zone on Front Avenue in West Haven. (City of West Haven)