Economic Development Commission - East Haddam

Economic Development Commission

Commission Members:

Robert R. Casner (D), Chairman
Debra M. Mathiasen (U)
Joe Albuquerque (U)
Pamela D. Rubenbauer (D)
Gerald Rucker (U)
A. Frederick Weissbach (R)
Ralph M. Parady (U)

Donald A. Bergeron (D)
1 vacancy

Part-time staff: Peter S. Simmons, Economic Development Coordinator

P.O. Box K, East Haddam, CT 06423

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7:00pm at the Grange Hall.
Business owners and the public are invited to contact us with your ideas and questions or join us at one of our meetings.

The East Haddam Economic Development Commission (EDC) was established in June 1987, in accordance with the provisions of the General Statutes of the State of Connecticut. Seven volunteer members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen for five year terms. A part-time Economic Development Coordinator was added in September 2007, to work with the EDC and First Selectman on key development projects and as a business liaison.

The function of the East Haddam Economic Development Commission is to promote and develop the economic resources of the town, consistent with the town’s historic character, quality of life and natural environment. Promotion efforts focus on the tourism industry and visitor services to compliment East Haddam’s attractions and recreational opportunities. Development strategy focuses on East Haddam’s untapped tourism industry, maximizes its industrial zones, and capitalizes on the Town’s resident-driven market potential.


In March 2013, eight East Haddam restaurants/organizations  participated in the tenth annual Chowder Cook-off.  Proceeds were donated to local organizations and community projects. Following a year of preparation, EDC members coordinated the successful “Swing Bridge Centennial,” a regional celebration held on June 15, 2013, featuring an antique car Historic Bridge Crossing, 100th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony, and community activities on both sides of the Connecticut River.  Bunting decorated the Swing Bridge from June through fall.  EDC worked with the Agricultural Commission to promote the weekly Farmers’ Market held June to October.


The Economic Development Coordinator assisted several businesses in obtaining financial resources, permitting, and commercial properties.  The Coordinator managed two state grants for capital improvements at the Harris Farm, and assisted in preparing a CT Humanities grant for funding live theater on summer weekends at Gillette Castle State Park.  The EDC coordinated communication between Town businesses and the Town regarding the planned reconstruction of the two Norwich Road bridges in East Haddam Village.

East Haddam’s economic interests were represented at the regular meetings of the Central Regional Tourism District.  East Haddam’s on-line business directory, calendar, tourism brochures, and roadside sign boards were regularly updated.  New businesses were announced in East Haddam Events magazine.  Ads promoting the town were purchased in various publications.  The EDC continued its membership in CT Economic Development Association (CEDAS).  In November 2012 and April 2013, mailings were sent to all business (250+) to keep owners apprised of economic opportunities.  An email newsletter delivery service was used on several occasions to communicate more urgent notifications. The EDC also supports festivals, merchant events and other "destination" type activities by assisting with business tie-ins and advertising.


The EDC first launched its own Tourism and Business Promotion website in 2001. That website was combined with the new municipal website in May 2010 and Commission members will continue to maintain the Business Directory, business information and tourism features of the municipal site.


During 2014, the EDC decided to phase-out the large Business Directory signage.  The individual business signs were maintained by EDC for over ten years.  With both of the directory frames in need of relocation and repair, it was agreed to pursue other options to identify business locations.