NEDC board chooses Zandvliet as chairman

Rebecca Zandvliet, center, was elected chairman of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors last week. Zandvliet is pictured at the annual Lewis A. Dibble Award ceremony in January of 2015 with John Ford of the Alderson-Ford Funeral Home, left, and David Prendergast, retired CEO of the NEDC. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — A longtime member of the Naugatuck Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors is taking the reins.

Rebecca Zandvliet was elected chairman of the NEDC board on Nov. 28.

Zandvliet, 58, has served on the board for 10 years and has been the vice chairman of the board for more than five years. When former Chairman Jay Carlson died unexpectedly in July, Zandvliet took over as the interim chairman.

Zandvliet said, as chairman, she looks forward to working with the board and Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess towards the revitalization of Naugatuck.

“We are very excited, with his leadership, that we are going to have a great opportunity to do that,” Zandvliet said.

Zandvliet has lived in Naugatuck for about 30 years and is the owner of the borough-based real estate agency Coldwell Banker Reality 2000.

NEDC President and CEO Ron Pugliese said he has “nothing but positive things to say” about Zandvliet.

Pugliese said Zandvliet has a lot of experience leading a board since she served as the chairman of the Naugatuck Board of Education from 1991 to 1996.

“She is just an incredible person,” Pugliese said. “I am very happy she is the chairperson of board.”

The NEDC is a quasi-public agency that works on economic development for the borough.

Zandvliet said among her top priorities is to continue working on the revitalization of downtown, including developing the former Uniroyal property and moving the Metro-North train station from its current location at 195 Water St. further down the track to the former General DataComm property on Rubber Avenue. Officials want to the see the vacant land turned into a transit-oriented development.

“We are very interested about potentially having the train station relocated at the platform, which I think will be marvelous if the Department of Transportation works with us on that. It seems like it’s going well,” Zandvliet said. “We’ve got some projects close. We are looking to get those firmed up.”

In addition to Zandvliet, the board filled out its officers with Terry Barber as vice chairman, Dave Rotatori as treasurer, and Yvette Wilmot as secretary. Seth Bronko and Gene Fridland were added to the board to fill the seats vacated by Thomas Annulli and Al Pistarelli.