$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.

Newtown Was Rated #4 Town Among Peers, with Lowest Crime Rate

When Connecticut magazine last ranked Connecticut’s towns and cities on their quality of life, Newtown placed fourth overall among 26 communities with between 25,000 and 50,000 residents. Breaking down the individual categories in the rating, Newtown placed first with the lowest crime rate, third in the vibrancy of its economy, and sixth in the quality of education, in data compiled for the 2011 rating.

The top eight communities were Westport, Farmington, Glastonbury, Newtown, Cheshire, Wallingford, Mansfield and New Milford. The categories included were education, crime, economy, cost, and leisure.

The crime category is based on major crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor-vehicle theft) committed in 2007, 2008 and 2009 per 1,000 population, using figures available from the state Department of Public Safety.  The education category combines five elements: the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Mastery Test results for 4th, 6th and 7th grades; results of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT); local SAT scores for 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the percentage of 2010 public high school graduates who went on to two- or four-year colleges. Test scores were weighted more heavily.

The strength of the local economy was determined by the 2011 Public Investment Community score, compiled by the Office of Policy and Management, which rates all Connecticut towns under a formula based on population, per capita income, the adjusted equalized grand list per capita, the unemployment rate, the equalized mill rate and per capita aid to children.

Newtown was in the middle of the pack in leisure/culture, placing 13th, and among the lowest in cost of living, placing 25th out of 26 communities evaluated. The cost of living category weighs most heavily the median price of a single-family house purchased in the first six months of 2011.   Leisure includes local library expenditures per capita in 2010, the number of theaters, museums, festivals, concert venues, historic sites, colleges and universities, golf courses, local newspapers, radio stations, state parks and forests, voter turnout in the 2008 election and good local restaurants.

Bozrah is #13; Mashantucket #170: Towns by the Numbers

Every town in Connecticut has a tax code number, issued by the state and used in a variety of official reports across state agencies.  How are the numbers determined?  The towns are listed alphabetically, and given their appropriate number, in order.   Which means that:

  • Bozrah is lucky #13
  • Andover is #1
  • Woodstock is #169
  • Middletown may be at the state’s center geographically, but Monroe is half-way down the list at #85
  • Towns that begin with “New” start with New Britain at #89 and run through Newtown at #97
  • The first double digit town is Bethlehem at #10; the first triple digit town is North Canaan at #100
  • The final locale on the list hasn’t been considered a town through the years:  at #170 in a state with 169 towns is “Mashantucket

If you’d like to know your town’s number, take a look at the full list.