$80,000 in Grants Boost Preservation Initiatives in 7 CT Communities

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), the downtown revitalization and economic development non-profit, has selected seven organizations and municipalities to receive a share of $80,400 in 2016 Preservation of Place grants. The grants will be used to provide communities in Bridgeport, Canton, Haddam, Fairfield, New Britain, New Haven (Westville Village) and Simsbury with targeted resources to increase their capacity to plan for preservation and revitalization initiatives in their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. place

This year's awards are notable because two applicants, Canton and New Britain, sought the grant funds to pursue the creation of tax increment financing (TIF) districts, made possible through the passage of legislation in 2015 that was proposed by a coalition led by CMSC. TIF is a financing mechanism in which an investment in a specified area is repaid over time using the increased tax revenue generated by the investment.

"The projects funded through this year's Preservation of Place round have the potential to be transformative for these communities," said John Simone, CMSC's President & CEO.  "Canton and New Britain may very well become the models for creating successful TIF districts, while Haddam's award can help set the foundation for a unified, mixed-use commercial area that marries their historic charm with a modern, connected design. Certainly, all of the communities represented are as diverse in location as in their unique character, but each has something wonderful to offer, which will only be enhanced through the use of these grant funds."

The Preservation 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.

The 2016 recipients of Preservation of Place grant funds are:BPT creates

  • Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District - Awarded $10,400 for Bridgeport CREATES, Phase II, to assist in the pre-development activities associated with the creation of a Maker Space/ Innovation Center.
  • Town of Canton - Awarded $10,000 for a Tax Increment Financing Master Plan for Collinsville Center & the Collins Company Complex to develop a viable TIF agreement, master plan and district to help develop the historic complex.
  • Town of Haddam - Awarded $10,000 for a Market Analysis & Village District Zoning Regulations for Tylerville in order to assess viable businesses and draft zoning regulations that will allow for and promote such businesses, as well as mixed-use development, in this historic area.
  • Town of Fairfield - Awarded $10,000 for a Signage & Wayfinding Program for Downtown & Neighboring Commercial Districts to help visitors and residents navigate their way around downtown Fairfield's many prominent cultural, tourist and academic attractions.
  • New Britain Downtown District - Awarded $10,000 to work in conjunction with the City on the Creation of a Tax Increment Financing District for transit oriented development around the CTfastrak terminus.
  • Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (New Haven) - Awarded $20,000 for the Westville Village Comprehensive Plan: The Visioning Phase, a comprehensive plan to guide a sustainable and place-based approach to long-term economic and physical development.
  • Simsbury Main Street Partnership - Awarded $10,000 for a Comprehensive Parking Study of Downtown to develop specific parking recommendations, including short- and long-term solutions.

Since 2008, the Preservation of Place grant program has leveraged over $1 million of investment in local Main Street initiatives. Connecticut Main Street Center and the Preservation of Place grant program receive support from the State Historic Preservation Office, with funds from the State of Connecticut through the Community Investment Act.

Consulates in Connecticut Promote International Connections

Connecticut is home to numerous international corporations and many more domestic companies that routinely conduct global business, but the number of official consulates in the state can be counted with just a few fingers. The Consulate General of Brazil is located at Constitution Plaza in Hartford, quite visibly on the corner Consulateof Market and State Streets just a block from the University of Connecticut School of Business downtown.   The Consulate General of Peru is also located in Connecticut’s Capitol City, on Main Street.

New Haven hosts the Consulate General of Ecuador, on the corner of Church Street and George Street in the heart of the city.  Just last year, Ecuadorian ambassador Nathalie Cely Suarez visited New Haven City Hall to meet with Mayor John DeStefano Jr. and New Haven’s Ecuadorian consul, Raul Erazo Velarde. New Haven is home to one of 19 Ecuadorian consulates in the United States, and the most recent U.S. census found that 21,000 Ecuadorians live in the state.

The state also has numerous honorary consulates – often no more than an individual and a mailing address – representing nations including Finland (in Norwich), France (in Middlebury), Romania (in Fairfield) and Italy (in Hartford).

The political title "Consul" is used for the official representatives of the government of one nation in the territory of another, normally acting to assist citizens of the consul's country, and to facilitate trade and friendship between the peoples of the two countries.  There may be several consuls,  in several main cities, providing assistance with bureaucratic issues to both the citizens of the consul's country travelling or living abroad and to the citizens of the country the consul resides in who wish to travel to or trade with the consul's country.  A consul is distinguished from ambassador, who is the official representative from one head of state to another.