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with Chris Canna, of the Corporation for Independent Living

cil_c-canna-croppedI lead development projects that take underutilized, often vacant, properties and return them to productive use in a manner that helps strengthen the neighborhood. Over the past couple years I’ve worked with CMSC on their award-winning Come Home to Downtown program, helping rejuvenate downtowns by bringing housing above commercial space back to our downtowns and town centers.

To me, downtowns are at their best when they incorporate “third places” – gathering spaces between home (“first place”) and work (“second place”) like parks, clubs and cafes. Working at CIL and on the Come Home to Downtown program, I get to see firsthand how a developing a building to its fullest potential offers the perfect complement to these types of vibrant spaces.

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Connecticut Main Street Center

We collaborate with professionals and experts to create unique solutions for our downtowns. In 2012, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) contracted CMSC to develop and administer the Come Home to Downtown program, assisting the owners of small properties to redevelop their under-utilized buildings into housing above commercial space. CMSC provides select communities and property owners with customized technical assistance, working with them to devise viable redevelopment options that include identifying solutions to address the financial gap. The CMSC team also offers guidance to local officials on how to facilitate mixed-use development in the downtown, assessing issues such as zoning and regulatory requirements.