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Main Street Accelerator

Leadership Development Training

Main Street Accelerator

Main Street Accelerator is an action-oriented leadership development program focused on helping communities better their downtown by implementing a specific project, such as launching a new initiative or addressing a challenge.

During the virtual, 6-month Accelerator program, participants will learn and practice the nationally proven Four Point Main Street Approach; sustainable and inclusive development practices; project management; and community engagement.

Learn more about the program or view the curriculum outline for key dates.


Meet our 2024 Accelerator Class!

Teams from six Connecticut communities were chosen for the inaugural class of Connecticut Main Street Center’s new Main Street Accelerator program, representing a diverse array of Connecticut towns and cities:

  • Georgetown Village Restoration, Inc. (GVR) – GVR team members will examine how to increase exposure and foot traffic in Georgetown to help support businesses and the community.
  • Town of Thomaston – Municipal officials and downtown volunteers will work collaboratively to create a strong network of downtown businesses and begin revitalizing Downtown Thomaston’s historic and visual assets.
  • East Side NRZ, Bridgeport – Representatives from the NRZ and the City will create an accessible document that provides actionable solutions for businesses to revitalize their storefronts.
  • Downtown Windsor – A local business owner and Windsor’s First Town Downtown director will reimagine the ground floor VFW ballroom into a beer hall-type facility.
  • Town of Haddam – Municipal economic development commissioners, the town’s selectwoman, and local business owners will work together to improve signage, mapping, and the overall visual appeal between the town’s two village centers.
  • Norwich Community Development Corporation – Planners and local development organizations will collaborate on how to change the perception of downtown Norwich by enticing tourists through cooperative marketing and events with local groups.

Application Information

Applications are open from September 21st – November 3rd

The application contains the following questions:

  • Point of Contact Information
  • Team Contact Information
  • Please describe your challenge or project. (500 characters)
  • Please describe your team. Have you worked on a project together previously? Why is this team the right team? (500 characters)
  • Why is now a good time to participate in Main Street Accelerator? (250 characters)
  • What do you hope to accomplish by participating in Main Street Accelerator? (250 characters)

Questions? Email Kristen Lopez or call her at 860-280-2074 to discuss whether this program is right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions
On our team, we don’t have “at least one individual who is a paid professional and has decision-making power/authority in their downtown.” Can we still apply?

We recognize that every community has a different support structure for their Main Street. Our goal is to ensure that the work the group accomplishes during Main Street Accelerator can be implemented and will be supported in the community. As such, if your team does not include a paid professional or the direct decision-making authority but is confident that the work can be implemented and supported by the community, then we welcome your application, just please make note of this in your application.

What is the time commitment?

It really depends on how active your team is, but we anticipate about 4-5 hours a month between self-paced lessons, monthly virtual meetings, and independent teamwork.

When are the monthly virtual meetings?

The time of day isn’t set yet. On the application, there is a question regarding preference for time of day. We want to make sure we choose a convenient time for most people, but everything will be recorded if it can’t be attended live.

Can multiple different communities be accepted if they are focused on tackling the same project or challenge?

Yes, absolutely. There are no restrictions on different communities working on the same goal.


© Connecticut Main Street Center 
P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337