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.
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:
- 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.