(Hartford, CT) – Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) is pleased to announce the launch of a new Annual Assessment tool for CMSC member communities. This metric-based scoring system will provide CMSC’s 80+ members across the state with a way to measure the success of their initiatives, allowing them to benchmark their downtown management efforts, in addition to offering customized recommendations and resources for strengthening key areas as needed.
“We expect the new Annual Assessment to be transformational for our members,” said Michelle McCabe, CMSC Executive Director. “The information gathered will be a powerful tool for our members to see what’s working, opportunities for improvement, and where to target their efforts. From CMSC’s perspective, it helps us pinpoint with more accuracy what resources and guidance our members need, so it’s really a win-win.”
The Assessment matrix was developed over several months and measures the two overarching approaches CMSC espouses for cultivating healthy downtowns: the Four Point Approach to Main Street Management and the Six Core Components of a Vibrant Main Street. The Four Point Approach – the how – is a nationally recognized model for managing a Main Street. The Six Core Components are the what – the foundational elements CMSC has identified as critical to a vibrant Main Street, such as lighting, public art and local businesses. CMSC’s new Assessment tool measures both, ensuring its members are taking a comprehensive approach to their downtowns and Main Streets.
“I give a lot of credit to my colleague, Kristen Lopez, our Education & Training Director, who was instrumental in creating the matrix, and to our former Senior Director of Main Street Services & Projects, Kimberley Parsons Whitaker, who provided a lot of input and experience from her years working with our members,” said Carl Rosa, CMSC Field Services Director. “Together we created something really special that’s going to help our members and their downtowns, and I’m really pleased with the experiences I’ve had so far testing it.”
CMSC piloted the Assessment tool in three communities, New Britain, Simsbury and Westville Village (New Haven), in December. “We loved working with Carl on the new Assessment Tool. It’s really great from our perspective because now we have concrete data to go back to our Board and the city and show them what’s working and what our impact is, and we can see how our numbers go up or down each year,” said Lizzy Donius, Executive Director of Westville Village Renaissance Alliance. “Carl came out and met with us and within a few days we had a comprehensive report with dozens of data points and helpful recommendations and resources for how we can improve.”
CMSC will undertake an Annual Assessment for all its members in good standing that would like one on a rolling basis over the course of the year.
Communications & Strategy Director
CMSC is the expert resource for developing and sustaining vibrant downtowns that fuel our state’s prosperity. Our mission is to assess, educate, convene, and advocate to develop and grow our traditional downtowns, village centers, and urban mixed-use neighborhoods. We provide education and training, resources and technical assistance, and function as the statewide champion for downtowns and Main Streets of all sizes.
CMSC is supported by its Founding Sponsors, the Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and Eversource Energy. CMSC is also supported by its Growth Sponsors, UIL Holdings and the State Historic Preservation Office. More information is available at www.ctmainstreet.org.