Ten initiatives from nine communities across Connecticut will be receiving this year's Awards of Excellence from the Connecticut Main Street Center, the state's leading downtown resource. Ranging from a Yale Law School/downtown management collaboration on zoning codes to the citizen-driven establishment of a community hub and co-working space in Norfolk, this year's winners represent the creativity, perseverance and innovation needed to cultivate great downtowns. CMSC selected organizations and initiatives from Canton, Hartford, Hebron, Meriden, Newtown, Norfolk, Putnam, Waterbury, and Westville Village (New Haven) to receive the prestigious awards.
"While our winners are from communities large and small, their commitment and passion are universal," said CMSC CEO Patrick McMahon. "Collectively, they're addressing key downtown challenges like rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings, attracting new entrepreneurs, and furthering downtown investment. They're using time-tested Main Street approaches like community engagement, placemaking and thoughtful planning to ensure multiple constituencies are heard and the community's vision recognized. We're very pleased with the way this year's winners embody the core components of a vibrant downtown and that we're able to recognize their day-to-day commitment to implementing them," said McMahon.
Created in 2003 to recognize outstanding projects, individuals and partnerships in community efforts to bring traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts back to life, socially and economically, the Awards of Excellence are presented annually. This year's awards will be presented at CMSC's VIBRANT MAIN STREETS awards celebration in Downtown Willimantic on June 3.
2019 Awards of Excellence winners:
Trifecta Ecosystems, Inc. (Meriden) for The City That Feeds Itself™: education, community programs and build-outs of urban farms
Flint Ridge Development, LLC for Preservation & Revitalization of Newtown's Historic Main Street and Sandy Hook Village
Noble Gas Inc. and Crosskey Architects, LLC for Noble Hartford mixed-use development in South Downtown Hartford
Town of Canton and Fuss & O'Neill for Canton Village Districts Form-Based Design: Zoning to facilitate the Community's Vision for Development
Yale Law School's Ludwig Center for Community & Economic Development and Westville Village Renaissance Alliance for Westville Village Zone: a University / Main Street Partnership
Norfolk Foundation, Inc. for Revitalization of Norfolk's Town Center through Acquisition & Redevelopment, and Creation of a Collaborative, Co-working Office and Community Hub
Putnam Business Association for Promoting the business of Putnam, CT while encouraging the growth and success of Downtown
Main Street Waterbury for Welcome to Waterbury: A Showcase of Downtown Opportunity - Downtown Marketing Program
The Town Center Project, Inc. for Reinventing the Heart of Hebron: Placemaking as a Catalyst for Creating a Vibrant, Walkable Town Center
Westville Village Renaissance Alliance for Westville Village ArtWalk - annual community-based arts festival
CT Main Street Founder's Award
In addition to its Awards of Excellence, CMSC also named the recipient of its 2019 Founder's Award, presented by Eversource. Robert W. Santy, President & CEO of Connecticut Economic Resource Center (CERC) was selected to receive the Founder's Award for his 35-year career in a variety of positions at the intersection of business, the economy and public policy.
Prior to joining CERC in 2007, he served as president of the Regional Growth Partnership in New Haven, a not-for-profit collaborative economic development corporation serving the 15 communities of south central Connecticut. From 1992 through 1995, he served as deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic Development in the Administration of Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr.
Before beginning his economic development career in Connecticut, Santy served in the nation's capital for more than 15 years holding a variety of positions ranging from coordinator of special programs for Senator Lowell Weicker to the assistant administrator and chief of staff for the U.S Small Business Administration for President Ronald Reagan. Santy also served on CT Main Street Center's Board of Directors from 2007 to 2018.
"Bob has had a long and distinguished career working to bring new companies and economic growth to Connecticut," said Rodney Powell, President, Corporate Citizenship for Eversource. "He's been a cheerleader for the state for years, raising Connecticut's profile among businesses and spurring investment in our communities."
Sponsors of the 2019 VIBRANT MAIN STREETS celebration include: Eastern Connecticut State University (Title Sponsor), Fuss & O'Neill (Reception Sponsor) and Newtown - Sandy Hook Restaurant Week (Program Sponsor).