Our story is as unique as our downtowns.
The Connecticut Main Street Program was established by the Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) in 1995. At the time, CL&P (now Eversource Energy) recognized there was no comprehensive approach to revitalizing our historic commercial districts, and they were concerned with protecting their significant investment in infrastructure in the State’s downtowns. As a result, they decided to provide the funding and internal administrative resources to establish the Connecticut Main Street Program. To this day, CL&P remains the only private corporation in the country to solely sponsor and administer a statewide Main Street initiative.
Realizing it would be necessary to gather a combination of public and private support to grow Connecticut Main Street, CL&P proposed restructuring the program. In 1999, with the support of then-Lt. Governor M. Jodi Rell, Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) became a private nonprofit corporation with its own board of directors. In 2000, and continuing through the present day, the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) joined CL&P as a Founding Partner.
At its first Strategic Planning Retreat in 2000 the new CMSC Board developed the following vision statement: “The Connecticut Main Street Center will be recognized as the premier downtown revitalization and economic development program in the state, with a reputation for high standards of excellence and a record of developing and nurturing successful Connecticut Main Street Communities.” This vision has successfully guided CMSC through its first 15 years, leading us to become the State’s central resource for downtown revitalization and management, providing technical information, regional cooperation, training and networking.
CMSC is also a member of the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Main Street Center is committed to advancing the preservation-based revitalization of commercial districts throughout the country, most notably by utilizing the Four Point Approach™.