New Winsted program offering funding for business startups, improvements


WINSTED — Business owners wanting to improve the appearance of their buildings or storefronts are taking advantage of a new program created by Town Manager Josh Kelly.

In November, Kelly presented a list of projects using American Rescue Plan Act money, with a focus on community and business development, which were approved in December by the Board of Selectmen. Among his proposals were a Business Start-Up Program and a Facade Improvement Program, which launched Jan. 14.

“The primary purpose of our Business Start-Up Program is to attract new businesses to Winsted/Winchester,” Kelly said. “It’s going very well; we have received eight applications for facade improvements to local businesses. It’s competitive, so people can still apply for the funding, and I hope they do.”

Winsted has received half of its allocation of $3.128 million from the ARPA, and is expecting the second half in June. Kelly’s project list also called for funding for Winsted Volunteer Fire Department for equipment; money for the Water and Sewer Commission to repair and replace pumping equipment at the sewer plant; a part-time economic development director; educational materials for technology at the senior center; online permitting software for Town Hall; new radios for the police department; online marketing and economic development advertising; and refurbishing an emergency vehicle for the Winsted Ambulance Service.

At the time of his presentation last fall, Kelly said he wanted to allocate $100,000 for a business startup fund; the facade improvement program was part of that amount. Kelly said then that businesses could borrow money from the fund and use it for upgrades, or to start a new venture.

“We’ve had two applications so far for the business startup fund, and we can accept up to ten. Businesses have a solid idea of what they want to do, and the money will help them get started. People are digging down and thinking about what they want to do,” he said. “I think it will a real boost for our downtown and other areas of our community.”


The business startup fund, he said, is open to anyone interested in opening a business in Winsted.

“It’s open to all local businesses, but it’s also about people who want to move here and get something going,” he said. “The deadline is rolling, so people have time to contact us and learn more about the requirements.”

Applications for both programs will be reviewed by a committee headed by Kelly and Winsted’s new Economic Development Director, Ted Shafer, who is joining the staff at town hall next week.

“Our group will probably dive into the applications we’ve received next week,” Kelly said.

The town manager is also preparing for public meetings on an ambitious road improvement plan, which he and Public Works Director Jim Rollins recently presented to the Board of Selectmen. He is proposing borrowing $15.2 million for specific areas of town in need of road improvements, drainage upgrades and repairs. The selectmen approved the plan at its most recent meeting.



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