Departing Stonington planning director Jason Vincent returning to NCDC in Norwich

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Norwich — Jason Vincent’s planning career will take another U-turn along Route 2 next week, when he returns to the Norwich Community Development Corp., days after his resignation as Stonington planning director.

NCDC President Robert Mills announced Friday that Vincent has been hired as senior vice president at NCDC, rejoining the Norwich economic development agency he left in January 2016 to become director of planning in Stonington. Vincent is a professional planner with more than two decades of experience in the public and private sectors, including four years at NCDC previously. He starts in the new position on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

“Many of us in Norwich always hoped that Jason’s career path would return him to our community,” Mills said in a news release announcing Vincent’s hiring. “Without a doubt, Jason has a personal, vested interest in the future of Norwich and we fully expect him to bring his array of exceptional skills and incredible passion to this position.”

Mills sat on the hiring committee that met with “a number of candidates,” he said, before hiring Vincent. His salary was not immediately available. He will join Mills and NCDC Vice President and Community Manager Jill Fritzsche at the NCDC headquarters in the agency’s Foundry 66 shared workspace facility at 66 Franklin St.

Vincent also is a shareholder of Epicure Brewing, an independent craft beer brewery and taproom located in the same Franklin Street building — the former Norwich Bulletin complex — that houses Foundry 66.

Mills said Epicure “has been an economic catalyst for downtown Norwich.”

Vincent was not available for comment on his appointment.

“My time in Stonington was invaluable,” Vincent said in the release. “It was an honor to work with a long-standing community leader in First Selectman Rob Simmons. Both Rob’s office and my own sought to put ‘Stonington First,’ in seeking external funding and making the most of economic opportunities for the long-term benefit of the entire community. I look forward to applying the insights from my time in Stonington to Norwich — a city on the rise and a community with a unique combination of assets that is poised to make the most of a shifting economic profile.”

During his previous tenure at NCDC, Vincent worked to secure grant funding for studies on proposed traffic patterns, walking trails, enhancements to the historic Uncas Leap area and small business incentive programs.

Mayor Peter Nystrom said in the release that many people in the private and public sectors in Norwich will consider Vincent’s return a “win” for the city. “I fully agree with these sentiments,” Nystrom said in the release.

Vincent had served as Stonington’s town planner from 2002 to 2003 and then its director of planning from 2003 to 2007, when he stepped down to take a job with Planimetrics in Avon, where he rose to the position of vice president. He joined NCDC for the first time in 2012.

When First Selectman Rob Simmons was re-elected in the fall of 2015, he said one of his first priorities was to ask Vincent if he would return to head the Planning Department. Vincent agreed and has led the town’s planning office since January 2016. His last day was Friday and town hall employees held an afterwork party for him.

Vincent said last week that, with Simmons deciding not to run for reelection this year, “It just felt like the right time to do something different.”

Simmons praised Vincent for heading up several successful initiatives designed to spur redevelopment in downtown Pawcatuck, which has been occurring with several prominent downtown properties, some long vacant.

Simmons also pointed to the development of the Perkins Farm into an “economic engine” for the town while preserving 50 percent of the site for open space as more evidence of Vincent’s leadership. Vincent’s office has held 40 community conversations to gather resident input on a wide range of planning and development issues.

Simmons called working with Vincent “a unique, special and rewarding experience.”

Day Staff Writer Joe Wojtas contributed to this report.

c.bessette@theday.com

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