Economic Development Commission

Making Westerly a Great Place to Live, to Work, to Grow, and to Play!



Welcome! This webpage is intended to provide all new and existing businesses in the Town of Westerly with guidance, assistance, resources, and information in dealing with local and state government.

GOALS & OBJECTIVES


  1. To support activities that promote orderly growth and diversification of development that recognizes the natural characteristics of the land, its suitability for use and the availability of existing and proposed public and/or private services and facilities. [Amended 8-15-2016 by Ch. No. 1873]
  2. To support activities that promote an economic climate which increases the quality and quantity of job opportunities and the overall economic well-being of the Town and its residents. [Amended 8-15-2016 by Ch. No. 1873]
  3. To support local business activities by promoting the revitalization and development of all aspects of Westerly's economy.
  4. To support the implementation of the economic development goals and the intent of the Town’s Comprehensive Plan and/or make advisory opinions should a conflict arise. [Amended 8-15-2016 by Ch. No. 1873]

Click here to view the 2021 Meeting Calendar for the Economic Development Commission. Minutes and Agendas are posted on the Open Meetings page on the Rhode Island Secretary of State's website - Click here to view

COVID-19 Resources
If your business is being impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, please click here to visit the Town of Westerly's centralized COVID-19 Resources portal for businesses and nonprofits.

About the Commission
The Economic Development Commission (EDC) is a seven-member public body established by the Town Council and supported by the Department of Development Services. The Commission meets regularly on the third Wednesday of each month at 4:00PM ET in Town Hall. Commissioners welcome your input and encourage suggestions. Please click here to learn more about the Commissioners.

EDC Volunteer Opportunities for Non-EDC members
The EDC welcomes volunteers who are interested in supporting the economic development of Westerly to participate on projects and initiatives that the EDC is driving.  If you are interested, please fill out this Application Form identifying your interest in volunteering to support the EDC and the experience and expertise you could offer.

Want to Address the Commission?
If you'd like to speak before the Commission or have questions for any of the Commission members, please email EDC@westerlyri.gov or contact the Westerly Planning Office at 401-348-2536.

Business Resources
The Rhode Island Department of State is making it easier for you to start or grow a business in Rhode Island. Receive full-service support through free, customized packages that make it easier to apply for financing, obtain permits, grow your network, and get answers from government at every level.

The Rhode Island Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed many small business loan and assistance programs, special outreach efforts and initiatives to aid and inform small businesses. The SBA offers a variety of resources through its Small Business Resource Network, which includes partners like the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE), and Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).

The EDC has a created a Business Process Map to help guide businesses through the required steps for obtaining the necessary local licenses and approvals.

FAQs on grants for businesses subject to new virus-related restrictions

EDC Activities
2021 STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION
The EDC presented its 2021 Strategy and Implementation to the Town Council on August 16, 2021.  The Council was extremely supportive and complimentary of the EDC activities.  Click here to view the presentation.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR DOWNTOWN AND ROUTE 1 CORRIDOR
Two action items in the 2020 Comprehensive Plan for Westerly are to develop economic strategies for Downtown Westerly and the Route 1 Corridor.  The EDC conducted initial interviews with investors, business owners, conservators, and community groups to gain insights into how healthy (or vibrant) the area is, what it could aspire to be, and steps Westerly should take to make the transition. Click here to view a summary of these interviews. 

The Route One Corridor Committee (ROCC) solicited bids via a Request for Proposals for a consultant to create a revitalization plan and economic strategy for the Route 1 Corridor.  Click here to view ROCC's evaluation of the candidates and recommendation to the Town Council. Weston & Sampson was selected as the lead consultant to facilitate this project, and was awarded the contract by the Town Council during their Regular Meeting on October 25th.  During this meeting, the Town Council also allocated up to $200,000 of American Rescue Plan funds toward development of the Route 1 Corridor Plan.

ECONOMIC RESILIENCY
An action item in the 2020 Comprehensive Plan for Westerly is to quantify the value of all property and resulting tax revenue that would be impacted by increased flooding, sea level rise, and storm events.  To this end, the EDC engaged with Northeastern University to conduct a targeted study of the Winnapaug Pond area to utilize as a model for expanding the study.  Click here to view a summary of this work.

2019 BUSINESS SURVEY
The EDC and the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey to better understand the challenges facing local businesses and to solicit input on how best to provide support for economic growth and development. Click here to view a summary of survey results.