What was long a highly industrialized and strong economy of manufacturing for commercial and industrial goods saw a precipitous decline in the mid 1970s. Industry has historically been strong here since the fledgling days of our country’s history, but one event started a decline of local factories in the area. An arson fire in the Sponge Rugger Products plant, which was determined to be an act of insurance fraud by the owners, set off a string of closures and relocations. It has not been easy, but things are starting to turn around thanks to new companies moving in.
After rebounding from the arson fire in 1975, Shelton was looking to rebuild their economy and revitalize the city’s downtown area. Once Route 8 was completed, it opened up a new avenue for outside companies to relocate their facilities from more expensive areas nearby, and Shelton had a mini renaissance of sorts. Efforts began to get underway to build new riverfront parks in the downtown area, restore and preserve historic landmarks, such as the buildings along Howe Avenue, and do new construction project like high-rise condos and improve the appearance of the central business district.