Loan helps launch Winchester business park project

A project that could bring manufacturing businesses and jobs to southwest New Hampshire took a step closer to reality recently with the announcement of a $666,000 federal grant to the Winchester Economic Development Corp. (WEDC).

The grant from the Dept. of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will be used to construct road, water, sewer and drainage infrastructure necessary to establish a manufacturing-focused business park in Winchester. The project, on the site of a former sand and gravel pit off Richmond Road. is expected to create close to 250 jobs and spur $19 million in private investment in the region.

WEDC plans to develop Stone Mountain Business Park on 55 acres formerly used as a gravel pit. When completed, the park will be built out to 120,000 square feet of business space.

The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund helped launch the project with a $19,000 loan to cover consulting costs for the federal grant application, and providing a loan commitment for the infrastructure grant match.

“We’re inspired by WEDC’s efforts and vision to create a business park that will attract manufacturing businesses to Winchester,” said Community Loan Fund Business Finance Director Liz Short. “We look forward to working together to advance our shared mission to create quality jobs in the region.”

The grant was applauded by U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and by Congresswoman Annie Kuster. Shaheen called it “an important investment that will lead to significant long-term economic gains throughout the region.”

WECD Chair Mark Tigan said, “This commitment from our federal partners, as well as the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, has opened the door to significant growth in Winchester’s manufacturing sector. This EDA grant is the culmination of several years of work and full cooperation from the town of Winchester. We have lots of hard work in front of us, but we’re excited to get started.”