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MapmanNo1

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Middletown officials see room to grow [NDN 1/10/07]

The Town Council recently approved the hiring of [the Mayforth Group of Providence] to help the town come up with a strategy for growing Middletown's defense and high-tech economic base. As part of its contract with the town, Mayforth will be responsible for a variety of tasks, including surveying local and off-island business leaders to see what the town could do to make itself more attractive to businesses. "If you look at what's out there, first and foremost, we have to keep and sustain the businesses that are currently in Middletown," said Louis P. DiPalma, the councilman who pushed for the study.

Two studies in 2005 about the town's economy indicated that there was much that could be done to help make Middletown more user friendly to businesses. One study from Pare Engineering of Providence found that there was about 1.5 million square feet of available office and light industrial space spread across town. The other study, from the Gifford Design Group of Cumberland, reported that the [Aquidneck] corporate park [on Johnnycake Hill Road] was in need of a facelift. The project would be paid for with $100,000 in federal money secured by U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I.

Town Planner Ronald M. Wolanski said the effort is not about developing open spaces, but augmenting those areas where business already is rooted. The one exception to that, he said, would be the Omni Drive business park, on a parcel once home to the Skater Island indoor skateboard park.

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1/25/2007: George Wein sells Festival Productions [NDN] [NYT]

HUGE news a long time coming. At a time when jazz and folk festival attendance is dwindling due to the proliferation of festivals and the live concert options at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, this deal could be good news for Newport. The new owner has a deep appreciation for destination festivals, a core part of the Newport events that, according to the Times, Wein required a new buyer to value.

UPDATE: The ProJo has the best article on the sale. The new owner is a member of the Haffenreffer family.

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From the Daily News:

CHEERS to KVH Industries' plan to expand in Middletown.

The high-tech company, which specializes in mobile satellite communication products, last week filed for zoning approval for its plan to build a nearly 70,000-square-foot building on East Main Road, north of Town Hall. The new facility, near KVH's headquarters in the Enterprise Center, would house manufacturing operations and offices.

"This is where the company started and this is where we want to be," said KVH spokesman Chris Watson.

Speculation had simmered for some time that the company, with 229 employees in Middletown, might be moving out of the area. Its decision to stay - and grow - here is good news.

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What is going on at the wharf a few blocks down Thames from here, closer to Downtown? There's a collection of honky tonk shops on the wharf, and a pass through to a restaurant, but beside it all there is a big open space with lots of construction work going on (Christie's Landing maybe?).

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What is going on at the wharf a few blocks down Thames from here, closer to Downtown? There's a collection of honky tonk shops on the wharf, and a pass through to a restaurant, but beside it all there is a big open space with lots of construction work going on (Christie's Landing maybe?).
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