Top Main Street Revitalization Initiatives in Connecticut Named

Manchester, New Britain, Waterbury, Seymour and the Northwestern CT Regional Planning Collaborative are being highlighted by the Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) for their strategic downtown revitalization initiatives.

As recipients of the organization’s 2014 Awards of Excellence, the efforts include a community college partnering with the downtown and others to create a co-working space; connecting the Naugatuck River with the downtown through extended trails and a linear park; and regionalizing marketing for a collection of small village centers.

The annual  Connecticut Main Street AwardCT Main Street LOGOs of Excellence were 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. All of the award recipients continue the tradition of stimulating economic development and reinvigorating Connecticut's social centers, officials said.

"Our members continually inspire us with how creatively they respond to the needs of their community," said CMSC President & CEO John Simone. "They're deeply committed to every aspect of their downtown - the businesses, public spaces, local institutions, and above all, creating a place that people really enjoy living in and visiting. We couldn't be happier with how this year's winners represent all we stand for in downtown revitalization."

Submissions were judged on criteria which included innovation, replication, representation, partnerships utilized, and outcomes.  The awards will be presented at the 2014 Connecticut Main Street Awards Gala on June 9th at Roia Restaurant in downtown New Haven.  Award recipients, by category, are:

Events & Programming

Award of Excellence for Wine on Main St. to Main Street Waterbury, Terry Boyd, Braza Churrascaria, Courtyard by Marriott, Diorio's Restaurant, Shamrock Pub & Grill, Tryst Lounge, Signature's Restaurant, City Hall Café, Howland Hughes Center, and Nutmeg Fine Wine & Spirits.

Marketing & Communications

Award of Excellence for Discover NW CT to Northwestern CT Regional Planning Collaborative (representing the Towns of Sharon, Falls Village, Goshen, Cornwall, Canaan, Salisbury, Kent, and Norfolk), Studio Two, local business owners in the eight towns in the "Secret Corner", and local historical societies.

Public Space

Award of Excellence for Complete Streets Master Plan for Downtown New Britain to Downtown Streetscape Working Group, the City of New Britain (including the Mayor's Office, Public Works, Planning and Parks Departments), New Britain Downtown District, Polonia Business District, Central Connecticut State University/ITBE, Capitol Region Council of Governments, and Project Consultant Team.

Renewed Commitment to Main Street

Award of Excellence for Seymour Downtown Action Strategy to the Town of Seymour, Seymour Economic Development Commission, Seymour Downtown Committee, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, Naugatuck River Greenway Steering Committee, Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, Downtown Merchants Association, Planimetrics, Milone and MacBroom; CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection,and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Main Street Partnership

Award of Excellence for Axis901 and MCC on Main (Manchester) to First Niagara Bank, Manchester Community College (MCC) Foundation, and the Town of Manchester (Board of Directors and Staff).

Economic & Business Development

Award of Excellence to The Business Women of Grand Street (Waterbury) to The Dutch Flower Lady, Technology Forensics, John Bale Book Company, Fine Craft Jewelers, Dottie's 2, Princess Lingerie, Brass City Market on Field, and Fashion Addict.

Six CT Communities to Receive "Preservation of Place" Grants to Boost Local Downtowns

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), the downtown revitalization and economic development non-profit, has awarded six organizations and municipalities a total of $60,000 in 2013 Preservation of Place grants. These grants will be used to provide the communities and organizations with targeted resources to increase their capacity to plan for preservation and revitalization initiatives in their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. The winning organizations and initiatives - which will each receive a $10,000 Preservation of Place grant - are:

  • the Town of Kent for a Planning & Engineering Study for its Village Center Streetscape;
  • the City of Bridgeport for the Little Asia Historic Streetscape and Archway Project;1272906927_CTMainStreetLogo
  • the Town of Putnam for the Putnam Downtown Center Signage and Wayfinding Design Project;
  •  the Town of Seymour for the Seymour Greenway Trail and Linear Park Master Plan;
  • the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance for the Westville Village Public Parking Comprehensive Design & Marketing Plan; and the
  • Northwestern Connecticut Regional Planning Collaborative for the NW CT Village Center Vitality Tourism Marketing Campaign.

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.

"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. "The diversity of locations and the diversity of projects will allow each community to respond to their greatest current need, actively creating their direction of growth."

Since 2008, CMSC has awarded $288,030 through the Preservation of Place grant program to sixteen Connecticut communities, leveraging over $768,427 in local Main Street initiatives. The program receives support from the State Historic Preservation Office with funds from the Community Investment Act.

The mission of CT Main Street Center is to be the champion and leading resource for vibrant and sustainable Main Streets as foundations for healthy communities. CMSC is dedicated to community and economic development within the context of historic preservation, and is committed to bringing Connecticut's commercial districts back to life socially and economically. The Main Street initiative is one of the most successful economic development programs in the country. For every $1 spent on a local Main Street program, $73.13 is reinvested in Connecticut Main Street downtowns.