Preston Approves Plans for Norwich Hospital Site

Preston held a special town meeting on Thursday and approved a proposal to redevelop the former Norwich Hospital.

Mohegan Tribe officials announced additional details on Monday about plans to turn the former Norwich Hospital site in southeastern Connecticut into a family destination.

The 393-acre property that developers are calling the Preston Riverwalk sits along the Thames River across from Mohegan Sun.

Last week, Preston’s town selectman announced they were entering a partnership with the tribe to redevelop the land and provided some details on what types of businesses they hope to attract.

“Possibly some outdoor adventure park development is a play, maybe a synthetic ski slope that you wont’t have to go to Dubai for, but you could come to southeastern Connecticut and ski year-round on a synthetic ski slope. Those kinds of things,” Kevin Brown, chairman of the Mohegan Tribe, said.

Brown said he hopes the new development will set them apart from other casinos in the northeast, attract more people to visit southeastern Connecticut and get them to stay longer.

“There’s increased competition throughout the northeast and this absolutely will be a distinguishing characteristic,” Brown said.

Other possibilities for the land include senior housing, restaurants and even shopping.

“It just brings great enthusiasm to the table, lots of people are interested in what’s going on and what’s going to happen and I think it’s a great turning point for eastern Connecticut,” Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, said.

The town of Preston will agree not to sell it to anyone else for 180 days while the tribe tries to attract potential businesses and entertainment.

Cogdon said the town is looking for public input now and especially after the 180 days when the tribe has a better idea of what businesses will go onto the property. After the 180 days, the town will vote to approve the development.

The property will be taxable.

Brown said this wound not be a third casino, but it will bring several businesses and jobs to the area.

“For so long, there has been this reliance on gaming, which now really has been broadened to include economic development and a strategic vision for the future. So that’s a hope and expectation that I find very exciting,” U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, said.

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