Seven Communities Earn Grants to Strengthen Downtowns

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), the downtown revitalization and economic development non-profit, has selected seven organizations and municipalities to receive a total of $70,000 in  Preservation of Place grants this year.

The 2014 grants will be used to provide Connecticut communities in Bridgeport, Canton, Essex, New London, Norwalk, the Northwest corner, and Willimantic with targeted resources to increase their capacity to plan for preservation and revitalization initiatives in their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

The PreserCT Main Street LOGOvation of Place grant program provides a source of funding for new initiatives that can be integrated into, and leverage, comprehensive Main Street preservation and revitalization programs. The funds are meant to be flexible to meet individual community need.

"Historic preservation and the revitalization of our Main Streets create jobs, bring vacant buildings back on the tax rolls and add value and vitality to adjacent buildings and neighborhoods," said John Simone, CMSC President & CEO. "This year's winners are taking steps to implement these types of positive changes by proactively planning for the growth and improvement of their downtowns."

The selected organizations or initiatives will receive between $5,000 and $14,500 in Preservation of Place grant funds:

  • ·         Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District, for the creation of a plan that will use open spaces to facilitate creating placemaking in downtown Bridgeport
  • ·         Town of Canton, for the development of Collinsville Village Zoning Regulations;
  • ·         Town of Essex, for a Centerbrook Visioning & Action Plan;
  • ·         New London Main Street, for an organizational and leadership development and capacity-building plan,
  • ·         Norwalk 2.0, for the Freese Park Artist Village Plan;
  • ·         Northwest CT Regional Planning Collaborative, for Active Main Street: Enlivening Village Center Public Spaces;preservation of place
  • ·         Thread City Development, Inc. (Willimantic), for an organizational and leadership development plan.

"The diversity of locations, from the Northwest Corner of Connecticut to New London, matched with the diversity of projects, from creative placemaking in urban open spaces to organizational and leadership development that will improve the management function in downtown, will allow each community to respond to their greatest current need, actively creating their direction of growth," Simone said.

Since 2008, CMSC has awarded $376,130 through the Preservation new londonof Place grant program to twenty Connecticut communities, leveraging $842,727 in local Main Street initiatives. The program receives support from the State Historic Preservation Office with funds from the Community Investment Act.