Hal Kurfehs: Working to build jobs and prosperity in the region – Aug 2012

Hal Kurfehs: Working to build jobs and prosperity in the region – Aug 2012

The classic Jimmy Stewart movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” dramatically shows the contrast between a friendly, well-adjusted community and a horrifying “honky tonk” alternative that can happen if some conditions are changed or removed.

Our Housatonic Region, comprised of the 10 municipalities of Danbury, Newtown, Ridgefield, Brookfield, Bethel, New Milford, Redding, New Fairfield, Bridgewater and Sherman, has generally enjoyed that “wonderful life”.

Consider that we are blessed with proximity to the world class city of New York, and the area has a high quality of life, complete with natural beauty, superior education levels and cultural activity, diversity of industry, and an adequate road and transportation system.

Even now, in the midst of a prolonged, slow recovery period, the Housatonic Valley Region has an unemployment rate in the 6 % range – far better than the state and the U.S.

That does not mean we have dodged the bullet of economic downturn – there is still much pain in the region.

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Alliance Focuses on Area’s Economic Future News- Times March 2012

by Dirk Perrefort
Danbury- While the are was clawing its way out of the worst recession in recent memory, a goup of business leaders began working on a common goal- to ensure the economic vitality of Greater Danbury for generations to come.

The group created the Western Connecticut Economic Alliance to (WCEA) two years ago to represent the interests of 10 area towns, including Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, New Milford, Redding and Ridgefield.
Hal Kurfehs, chairman of the Brookfield Economic Development Commission, said while this area fared better than most during the recession – in part because of a diverse industry base and a highly talented labor pool- now is not the time to sit idle.

“Yes, we have an edge,” said Kurfehs, chairman of the alliance. “But we don’t want to lose that edge going forward.”

By working together, he said, the strengths of each town can be identified and promoted.

“The idea is to maximize each town’s potential,” he said.

Because each town has it’s own strengths, marketing the area as a whole can make it more appealing to companies, according to Allen Morton, a member of the alliance and dean of Westchester Connecticut State University’s Ancell School of Business.

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