Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and Chris Murphy (CT-5) introduced the Naugatuck River Valley National Heritage Area Study Act today (Tuesday June 14, 2011), which is the first step towards designating the area as a National Heritage Area.
The legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to determine if the area is suitable or not.
Designating this area as a National Heritage Area will help to create more coordinated regional preservation and planning efforts aided by technical and planning assistance from the National Park Service.
“The Naugatuck Valley exemplifies the cultural strength of our country. The valley has a rich history with much to be proud of, from the legacy of a patchwork community of immigrants providing the industrial strength to get us through all of our nations wars, to the unique industrial-era and art-deco style buildings,” said Lieberman. “I am pleased to introduce this legislation because our national heritage is embodied not just in our natural treasures, but on the cultural uniqueness of each part of our great nation.”
“The Naugatuck River Valley, a priceless region containing rich historical and economic significance and immense physical beauty, has been enjoyed by residents and visitors for over a century,” said Blumenthal. “This region of Connecticut is a shining example of American history and well deserving of recognition as a National Heritage Area that will enable towns along the river to attract visitors who are eager to learn about this unique region.”
“Once known as the arsenal of America for its high concentration of war industries, the Naugatuck River Valley is rich in manufacturing history and natural beauty,” said DeLauro. “The fourteen communities that stretch along the Naugatuck River are steeped in agricultural, trade, architectural, and industrial history. A National Heritage Area designation would not only recognize its unique and historical significance, but would boost the local economy through cultural and historic tourism, and help Connecticut to preserve its history for generations to come.”
“The Naugatuck River corridor’s rich history is equaled only by its natural beauty,” Murphy said. “With some help from the National Park Service, we can help preserve both, while hopefully bringing much-needed new tourism dollars to the region.”