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Author: Christine Schilke

Quentin Williams Downtown Hero Award – Sarah Nielsen

Quentin Williams Downtown Hero Award

Sarah Nielsen

Quentin Williams Downtown Hero Award

Sarah Nielsen, Simsbury Main Street Partnership

This new award honors the legacy of state Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams. Q was a great friend of CMSC and a champion for all of Connecticut’s downtowns. This award honors those who embody his greatest strengths, including tireless advocacy, working collaboratively to achieve common goals, bringing a multitude of voices to the fore, and working to create downtowns that are inclusive and welcoming to all.

For several years, Sarah has exemplified excellence in Main Street management.  She approaches the work with the entire ecosystem in mind, building partnerships with all stakeholders, creating innovative programs to support businesses and build excitement, applying her vast knowledge to help developers and businesses navigate regulation and permitting, and working round the clock to keep Simsbury on the map as a wonderful place to work, live and play. 

However, it was during the uncertainty and upheaval brought by COVID where Sarah’s acumen was critically important to the survival of many businesses in her downtown.  Sarah worked tirelessly to get PPE out into the community, to help businesses apply for special loans and grants, problem-solving ways to continue operations during lockdown like creating a curbside delivery system on the fly, advocating for support from the state, interfacing with public safety and public health to make reopening easier, and keeping the entire main street community constantly apprised of new information through regular communication.  Sarah’s availability, her support, and her ability to make things happen were key not only to the survival of her main street businesses but bolstered their spirits during an incredibly challenging time. Heroes show their mettle in times of crisis and Sarah, a downtown hero before COVID, certainly saved the day for Simsbury when she was most needed.


  • Sarah Nielsen, Simsbury Main Street Partnership’s Executive Director, is the first recipient of CMSC’s Quentin Williams Downtown Hero Award.

  • CMSC’s Executive Director, Michelle McCabe can’t help but share in the excitement.

  • The Simsbury Main Street Partnership Board members gather to cheer Sarah’s award.

  • This award is given in remembrance of state Rep. Quentin Williams who was a great champion of CMSC and CT’s downtowns. “Q” was also a co-chair of the Main Street Working Group.

  • Michelle talks about how Sarah embodies Q legacy of extraordinary commitment to downtown, describing how instrumental she was in helping Simsbury’s businesses navigate the pandemic.

  • Sarah’s award is met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

  • Two downtown icons reunite as Sarah catches up with CMSC’s Field Services Director, Carl Rosa.

With Thanks to Our Awards Sponsors

Main Street Partners

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Main Street Supporters

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Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service

Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service

Elizabeth Shapiro

Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service

Elizabeth Shapiro, CT Office of the Arts

Established in honor of Jack Shannahan, the former director of the Connecticut Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Officer; and a founder and first Board Chair of CMSC, the Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service recognizes public and private sector individuals and organizations that exemplify a high standard of leadership with a deep commitment to the success of Connecticut’s Main Streets.

Many Connecticut Main Streets are anchored by arts organizations. From the performing arts theaters to museums and galleries to cinemas and public art,  the arts draw residents and tourists to downtowns and village centers, bringing foot traffic to small businesses and restaurants and life to the streets.  Liz Shapiro, as the Director of Connecticut’s Office of the Arts, recognizes this important symbiotic relationship and has created two important programs to further develop the connection between the arts and business – Connecticut Cultural Districts and the AIR Collaborative. 

The Cultural District program, established in 2019, designates a specific area of a city or town that has a concentration of cultural facilities, activities and/ort assets that are within a walkable area and easy for visitors to recognize.  The creation of the districts, which inevitably are on main streets and downtowns, offer an opportunity for cross-sector collaboration that benefits all stakeholders and a statewide platform to showcase these exciting destinations.  

Similarly, the AIR Collaborative is an approach to economic and community development that brings the arts and business community together to collaborate on revitalization efforts.  Bridging these two worlds also result in the kind of main street vibrancy that CMSC champions.  By bringing both the Cultural District and the Air Collaborative to Connecticut, Liz has strengthened the ability of our main streets to bring people together and to shine.

Photo credit: New London Cultural District; Eat in the Street Scavenger Hunt, mural design by WORMO


  • CMSC’s Executive Director Michelle McCabe stands with Liz Shaprio and Jack Shannahan, for whom the Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service is named.

  • CMSC’s Michelle McCabe lists Liz’s many accomplishments in support of the arts in our downtowns, including implementing the state’s Cultural District program and AIR Collaborative.

  • Liz accepts the Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service. 

  • Liz talks about the importance of arts and culture in our communities and how she’s looking forward to continuing to work with partners throughout the state.

  • Jack Shannahan had an enormous impact on the state and CMSC. He is the former director of the Connecticut Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Officer; and a founder and first Board Chair of CMSC.

With Thanks to Our Awards Sponsors

Main Street Partners

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Main Street Supporters

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Award of Excellence Thomaston EDC

Award of Excellence

Thomaston Economic Development Commission

Award of Excellence – Thomaston Economic Development Commission

Collaborative Revitalization Plan

Managing a vibrant downtown is complex work, requiring consistent effort and tireless commitment. This award honors CMSC members – the people, communities and organizations – whose exceptional efforts are contributing to thriving downtowns across the state.

See Thomaston’s Story

Thomaston’s Main Street is located in a charming walkable downtown.  Much of the original 19th Century  architecture remains intact and is utilized as retail, restaurant and business enterprises.  Main Street is bookended by two picturesque parks that are inviting to sit, relax and enjoy your surroundings. With easy on and off Routes 8 and 6, Thomaston has slowly morphed into a tourism destination. Main Street has free parking, walkable streets and great attractions, and whether you’re visiting the Naugatuck Valley Railroad, the Thomaston Opera House, sightseeing, fishing, hiking or motocross riding, and you’re likely to complete your day with a visit to the many restaurants that Thomaston has to offer.  

How Thomaston is utilizing the Four Point Approach to improve their downtown:

The Thomaston EDC has engaged with CMSC to assist them with plans to transform their Main Street into a model Main Street participant.  Each year the EDC has a recognition event spotlighting  local businesses for their participation in improving the business climate in the town.  The EDC has recently formed two sub committees.  The first is the Thomaston Greenway committee that is actively planning and raising money to complete the Greenway project that follows the path of the Naugatuck River.  The second committee is the Thomaston 150th Anniversary Celebration committee. They are making plans for a year-long celebration of the town and its history beginning in November 2024 and concluding the following November.

How CMSC has influenced Thomaston’s efforts:

Thomaston EDC took a tour of its downtown with a CMSC representative (Carl Rosa) to begin identifying some of the assets and many of its problems. A report of the tour was given to the EDC which has served as a reference when planning volunteer work activities.  Subsequent phone calls and emails have also assisted the actions of the EDC.  The commission has actively promoted the various workshops that CMSC offers to members.  Several of the commissioners have attended these workshops and reported back to the commission.


  • The Thomaston Economic Development Commission is all smiles standing with CMSC Executive Director Michelle McCabe.

  • You can learn more about Thomaston’s story by watching their video.

  • Thomaston has been an incredibly active member since joining the CMSC community network last year.

  • The crew from Thomaston joins CMSC’s Field Services Director Carl Rosa on stage to collect their Award of Excellence.

  • Join CMSC in congratulating Thomaston on their achievements this year!

With Thanks to Our Awards Sponsors

Main Street Partners

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Main Street Supporters

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Award of Excellence – Norwich Community Development Corp.

Award of Excellence

Norwich Community Development Corporation

Award of Excellence – Norwich Community Development Corporation

Jubilee Mural Series & Parklet Program powered by Achatrak®

Managing a vibrant downtown is complex work, requiring consistent effort and tireless commitment. This award honors CMSC members – the people, communities and organizations – whose exceptional efforts are contributing to thriving downtowns across the state.

Main Street is the spine for the Downtown Norwich Historic District which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Amazing 19th Century architecture includes a magnificent City Hall prominently overlooking the business district and the historic Carroll Building which greets visitors at the confluence of the Shetucket, Yantic and Thames Rivers in the picturesque Chelsea Harbor. These assets lay the foundation for Norwich’s Main Street revival, where eight summer cultural festivals were hosted in 2022, and restaurants and breweries created a walkable “party under the lights” for St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas. Their parklets and murals have enhanced this welcoming and vibrant downtown where people enjoy coming together. The next 12 months will see a $20 million investment produce a 20-room boutique hotel, brewery, coffee house, and 60 market rate apartments all with Main Street addresses along a 300-yard stretch where downtown residents can live, work, and play.

NCDC has utilized the Four Point Approach to improve the downtown in the following ways:
  • Economic Vitality: The pandemic created a difficult situation for the food & beverage industry but also set the conditions for revival. Outdoor dining became a solution to the pandemic problem, but has evolved into an opportunity. Norwich’s investment in parklets has created permanence to what was a temporary condition, and allowed not only increased business for downtown restaurants and breweries, but also created a vitality that draws in more business.
  • Design: Outward facing symbols that create a welcoming and vibrant community are at the center of their parklet and mural improvements. Prior to acquiring and placing the parklets, outdoor dining space was haphazard and ad hoc. The quality of design of the Archatrack parklets, enhanced by floral displays and lighting, results in a Main Street “feel” that is attractive and stands alone as a service option and not just a “solution to a problem”.  The murals throughout the downtown attract interest and visitation as well as reducing the toxic stress that can come from a lack of vibrant outdoor space.
  • Promotion: Acquiring assets is only step one. NCDC’s efforts to bring people together through festivals coordinated by Global City Norwich (an arm of NCDC) and their partners in the Norwich Events Organization have added people to the assets!  Promoting struts, strolls, and parades through the downtown space, particularly at night under the lights, has brought people’s attention directly to the efforts to create outdoor communal space in the parklets and the evolving work at Jubilee Park.  Additionally, NCDC’s ongoing work to reach out to the community through the EnvisionNorwich360.com online engagement tool has given them extra reach.
  • Organization: Community partnerships with business owners have made this parklet effort successful.  Business retention requires sustained face-to-face with downtown business owners and these efforts have created a spark for those conversations.  The Jubilee Park effort is a case study in public-private cooperation to take a privately owned asset and create public space. Though still underway, NCDC’s ability to organize and synchronize the efforts of the municipality, their economic development organization and a private building owner with a study by the Yale Urban Design Workshop is an example of how Main Street efforts require “many hands” as opposed to one organization.
How has CMSC influenced your efforts?

Says NCDC, “Our initial visit with CMSC leaders inspired us to make a concerted effort to do the daily work of reviving what has been a tired downtown. The workshops and newsletters distributed by CMCS sustain our motivation and refresh us when we get caught up in the daily grind of the hard work that is Main Street revival.” 

View Norwich’s Story


  • Michelle McCabe is joined by the Norwich contingency, including Kevin Brown, Executive Director of the Norwich Community Development Corporation. 

  • NCDC has taken several steps to improve the downtown’s look and feel, including instituting a parklet program and mural series.

  • You can learn more about the success of their revitalization efforts in our awards video

  • The team from Norwich looks on with pride as they reflect on their efforts.

  • The team from Norwich looks on with pride as they reflect on their efforts.

  • CMSC’s Carl Rosa is proud to present NCDC with our 2023 Award of Excellence!

With Thanks to Our Awards Sponsors

Main Street Partners

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Main Street Supporters

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Awards of Excellence – Town of Berlin

Award of Excellence

Town of Berlin

Award of Excellence – Town of Berlin

Economic Development in Kensington Village

Managing a vibrant downtown is complex work, requiring consistent effort and tireless commitment. This award honors CMSC members – the people, communities and organizations – whose exceptional efforts are contributing to thriving downtowns across the state.

Farmington Avenue in Berlin is a very non-traditional Main Street, as it’s not just a state highway but also serves as a major vehicular passageway.  In 2019, Berlin joined the CT Main Street Program and named this area Kensington Village through a local contest.  At the same time, the state and federal investment into CT Rail as Berlin and the new Berlin Train Station began the shift in the area.  This brought about Steele Center, an $18 million mixed-use project developed by Southington-based Newport Realty Group.  Steele Center is being constructed on formerly town-owned land that shares a property line with the train station property.  When complete in 2024, Steele Center will boast over 60 apartments, 15,000 square feet of commercial space, and become the core to this new village center.  These two major investments have spurred additional investment in the form of new businesses including Coles Road Brewing, Provision State Coffee, new restaurants and a renewed spirit of entrepreneurship.

How Berlin is utilizing the Four Point Approach to improve their downtown:

Kensington Village has become the place to be in Central Connecticut!  The incredible amount of new and growing businesses (during COVID) have created an Economic Vitality not seen in this area of Berlin for many decades.  In fact, there is a shortage of space on Farmington Avenue for new firms, so the brand new buildings at Steele Center are eagerly awaited for occupancy.  Promotion has been an important key to this area as they hold a few events every year to bring people to the area.  The most popular and successful one is their Halloween Trick or Treat.  In only their 4th year, they had over 70 business give out candy and close to 500 participants who dressed up and enjoyed the day.  In addition, they held a number of events with outside groups including CREW and the CT Homebuilders Association to highlight the forward progress in the area including.  Design is something that has not been focused on, but an effort is planned for 2023-2024 to add decorative and functional benches along Farmington Avenue to give people a spot to sit while providing something for local artists to use to show off their creativity.  A core group of business and property owners have been the driving force behind the success of the Kensington Village.  This organic, ground-up approach has been key to helping the Town of Berlin in making decisions on use of marketing dollars as well as the best use of the time of Town staff.

How CMSC is influencing their efforts:

Says Berlin’s Chris Edge: “CMSC has been a valuable resource as they were instrumental when discussions began in 2018 and 2019 on creating a Main Street Program in town.  In partnership with the Greater New Britain Foundation for Public Giving, the Town of Berlin and CMSC, we received a grant which helped us to work together to look at the area and determine if a Main Street Approach would work in town.  Thankfully, the work and research done laid the groundwork for where we are today.  The programs (both in person and virtually) have helped me personally to bring ideas to our Kensington Village, as well as to spur conversations on where we are, where we are headed, and ways to get there.  We are not there yet, but hope to have a separate non-profit set up for the Kensington Village which will be run and managed by the property owners and businesses that call it home.”

View Berlin’s Story


  • Berlin’s Economic Developer Chris Edge is joined by CMSC’s Michelle McCabe and Pam and Kyle Zinn, proprietors of Provision State Coffee, a new coffee shop in Kensington Village.

  • Chris is congratulated by CMSC Board member (and Berlin resident) Kathy Nanowski.

  • View our awards video describing how Berlin has spent several years laying the groundwork for Kensington Village’s success. 

  • CMSC’s Carl Rosa talks about Kensington Village’s success and how it’s the result of incremental achievements. 

  • Berlin’s Economic Development Director Chris Edge shared Berlin’s story of how they revitalized the Kensington Village area.

  • Congratulations to Berlin on your Award of Excellence!

  • Chris take a moment to thank CMSC for their assistance, including our 2023 Founder’s Award winner Kim Parsons-Whitaker, who assisted Berlin with their efforts during her time at CMSC.

With Thanks to Our Awards Sponsors

Main Street Partners

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Main Street Supporters

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Press Release: CT Main Street Center Announces 2023 Awards of Excellence Winners

CT Main Street Center Announces 2023 Awards of Excellence Winners

New “Downtown Hero” award honors late Rep. Quentin Williams

For Immediate Release – June 1, 2023

(Hartford, CT) – The Connecticut Main Street Center is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2023 Awards of Excellence. The six awards recognize communities and individuals for their outstanding contributions to downtown vibrancy. Three of the awards honor CMSC member communities for their efforts to spur local vibrancy, while another two recognize state officials for their leadership in effectuating positive change in Connecticut’s downtowns. This year CMSC is also unveiling a new award category named in honor of the late Representative Quentin “Q” Williams that celebrates his collaborative and tireless advocacy for Main Streets.

“We are thrilled to share the fantastic work happening every day in our downtowns across the state and to champion the individuals who have meaningful impact on Connecticut’s Main Streets,” said Michelle McCabe, CMSC Executive Director. “All of our award winners deserve to be in the spotlight for their efforts to add vitality and life to their downtowns. The cumulative effect is a constellation of lively and prosperous downtowns across the state that benefits all of us.”

Awards of Excellence

These awards honor CMSC members – the people, communities and organizations – whose exceptional efforts are contributing to thriving downtowns in Connecticut.

  • Town of Berlin – Berlin is being recognized for their economic development efforts in the Kensington Village area. Utilizing CMSC’s Main Street approach, they leveraged investment in the $18 million mixed-use Steele Center to create a new village center, bringing small businesses, jobs, and vitality to the area.
  • Norwich Community Development Corporation – NCDC is being recognized for the creation of a new mural series celebrating art, history and new beginnings, as well as the Parklet Program powered by Archatrak®, both of which are bolstering the downtown’s economic vibrancy while creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.
  • Thomaston Economic Development Commission – Thomaston EDC is a new member of CMSC and is being recognized for their enthusiastic efforts to revitalize their Main Street, notably creating an incremental plan to revitalize their downtown through the collaborative efforts of the EDC and several local organizations.

The Quentin Williams Downtown Hero Award

This new award honors the legacy of state Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams. Q was a great friend of CMSC and a champion for all of Connecticut’s downtowns. This award honors those who embody his greatest strengths, including tireless advocacy, working collaboratively to achieve common goals, bringing a multitude of voices to the fore, and working to create downtowns that are inclusive and welcoming to all.

  • Sarah Nielsen, Simsbury Main Street Partnership, is being recognized for her herculean efforts to aid Simsbury’s businesses during the Covid pandemic, tireless support which continues to today, and her exceptional devotion to Simsbury’s Main Street district.

“I couldn’t imagine a better inaugural Downtown Hero Award recipient than Sarah,” said Ms. McCabe. “She lives and breathes Main Street, with her enthusiasm and influence stretching far beyond Simsbury.”

The Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service

This award recognizes public and private sector individuals and organizations that exemplify a high standard of leadership with a deep commitment to the success of Connecticut’s Main Streets.

  • Liz Shapiro, CT Office of the Arts, is being recognized for instituting several statewide programs, including the Cultural District program and AIR Collaborative, that contribute to the vibrancy of Connecticut’s downtowns by enhancing their unique sense of place and supporting the local creative economy through jobs and visitors.

CMSC Founder’s Award, presented by Eversource

This award is presented in recognition of individuals and organizations who dedicate themselves to promoting an awareness of the necessity of a comprehensive management approach to the revitalization of Connecticut’s historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.

  • Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker, DECD, is being recognized for her 20+ years of service to Connecticut’s downtowns and Main Streets. Ms. Parsons-Whitaker spent two decades at CMSC where she provided technical assistance to members, developed CMSC’s educational programming, and served as interim Executive Director before moving to DECD, where she continues to help downtowns by administering the Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant.

The Awards of Excellence were created in 2003 to recognize outstanding projects, individuals and partnerships in community efforts to bring traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts back to life, socially and economically. This year’s awards will be presented at an awards celebration on June 20th in New Haven.

You can find more information about the award winners and CMSC on their website.

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Media Contact
Christine Schilke
Communications & Strategy Director
860-280.2356
christine@ctmainstreet.org


About Connecticut Main Street Center

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

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Traveler’s Foundation funds revitalization effort for Hartford’s Upper Albany neighborhood – HBJ

Traveler’s Foundation funds revitalization effort for Hartford’s Upper Albany neighborhood

By Michael Puffer, Hartford Business Journal – May 9, 2023

The Connecticut Main Street Center and Upper Albany Main Street announced a new program intended to help fill storefronts and secure businesses in that corner of the city.  A $13,000 grant from the Travelers Foundation will pay for an effort to fill vacancies, strengthen existing businesses and attract new ones. The grant will fund the creation of an updated inventory of area businesses, commercial properties and vacancies.

Read the full article in the Hartford Business Journal


About Connecticut Main Street Center

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 Partners, Eversource Energy and the Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD). CMSC is also supported by its Growth Partners, UIL Holdings and the State Historic Preservation Office. More information is available at www.ctmainstreet.org

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CMSC Partners with Upper Albany Main Street to Bring New Businesses to the Neighborhood

CMSC Partners with Upper Albany Main Street to Bring New Businesses to the Neighborhood

For Immediate Release – May 9, 2022

(Hartford, CT) – The Upper Albany neighborhood’s commercial corridors will receive customized assistance to recruit new businesses through a new project launched by the Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) and Upper Albany Main Street (UAMS). Funded through a generous grant from the Travelers Foundation, the multi-phase project aims to strategically fill vacancies, strengthen existing businesses, and increase the number and type of businesses in this vibrant neighborhood.

Established in 2000, the Upper Albany Main Street program’s mission is to preserve, revitalize and support the commercial district of Upper Albany by working with residents, merchants and stakeholders to create a neighborhood of choice. In keeping with this mission, UAMS recently embarked on an ambitious strategic visioning process with the community and local partners to attract visitors, new businesses and residents with its rich African American and West Indian heritage. Among the goals of this exercise is to see more economic activity along Albany Avenue and its spurs. During this process, area residents also identified various types of businesses they hope to see along the Avenue.

“We know what businesses the community wants in Upper Albany,” stated Marilyn Risi, Upper Albany Main Street Executive Director. “This partnership with Connecticut Main Street Center will support an important phase of this process by updating our inventories in a new way that will assist with marketing and recruitment.”

Using the grant provided by Travelers, CMSC will conduct a full, updated building, business, and vacancy inventory using a robust new tool, Ginko.City. Once the opportunities for investment and new business occupancy are established, CMSC and UAMS will co-create a marketing strategy that will support area entrepreneurs and help attract the kinds of businesses residents identified. UAMS will additionally tap into their Micro Business Incubator (MBI) participants to grow into available spaces. MBI, developed in 2002, is a joint project by Upper Albany Main Street, the University of Hartford and the Metro Hartford Alliance that matches micro-enterprises in the Upper Albany community with students from the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business to cultivate business capacity using an on-site, one-on-one training model that enables students and business owners.

This new collaboration between CMSC and UAMS is a pilot for a larger program, Diversity on Main, currently under development at CMSC. Diversity on Main is a planned approach to filling vacancies, creating vibrancy on main streets, and ensuring a mix of building and business ownership that is diverse and inclusive. 

“We are very excited to partner with UAMS to curate a mix of new businesses that reflect the aspirations of the community while potentially providing opportunities for underserved businesses and entrepreneurs,” stated CMSC Executive Director, Michelle McCabe. “It’s wonderful to have a partner in UAMS to explore how we can energize our main streets in an inclusive way, test ideas and new tools, and support a business ecosystem. We are especially grateful to the Travelers Foundation for making the project possible.”

CMSC will work with Upper Albany Main Street over the next three months to collect data, convene stakeholders, and create a marketing plan to promote the revitalized area.

You can find information about CMSC, its members, and programs on their website.

Photo courtesy of Upper Albany Main Street

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Media Contact
Christine Schilke
Communications & Strategy Director
860-280.2356
christine@ctmainstreet.org


About Connecticut Main Street Center

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

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CMSC Webinar: All About the CT Communities Challenge Grant

CMSC Webinar

All About the CT Communities Challenge Grant

Webinar Summary

DECD’s competitive CT Communities Challenge Grant Program funds multiple projects in an effort to improve communities’ livability, vibrancy, convenience, and equity, while creating new jobs in the process. DECD’s goal is to allocate up to 50% of the funds to eligible and competitive projects in distressed municipalities and create approximately 3,000 new jobs.

In this webinar, we cover the ins -and-outs of the CT Communities Challenge Grant including:

  • Eligible uses for the funds
  • Tips for crafting a strong application
  • Application timeline & important milestone dates
  • Previous Community Challenge recipients

This is Round 3 (the final round) of CT Communities Challenge. DECD has approximately $20 million to award in this round with a deadline of May 3, 2023 at 3:00pm.

Presentation Highlights

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) can provide its members with the following assistance:


  • Pre-Application

    Recipients of these awards have projects that are “shovel ready”, so the community engagement component should be well on its way prior to application. CMSC can help with engagement strategies and tactics to make sure your downtown stakeholders have informed your application – and that the community is a true partner in the development of the project and the application.

  • Public Space Strategies

    CT Communities Challenge focuses on mixed-use, mixed-income development and the State of CT is particularly committed to investing in residential development. CMSC can help a community think through how the vertical development projects are complemented by vibrant, lively, and equitable public spaces. This is a great opportunity to bring CMSC field services staff in to help think through public space strategies.


View the Recording


About the Speakers

  • Allison Pincus

    Senior Economic Development Advisor, DECD

  • Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker

    Community Development Specialist, DECD

     

Contact

Email questions to CTCommunitiesChallenge@ct.gov

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Spotlight on Main Street – Downtown Torrington

Spotlight on Main Street

Downtown Torrington: It’s Happening Here!


Presented by Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

Torrington’s Main Street, touting one of the country’s largest collections of Art Deco Buildings, is in the heart of the city’s Cultural District. The wide sidewalks, beautiful landscaping and public art displayed throughout the area make it a great place to take a stroll. Visitors can enhance their experience by visiting one (or more) of the vibrant restaurants, galleries, shops and museums that line this quaint New England street. Torrington Main Street is perfect if you’re looking to take in a theatre performance, create a memory with your grandchildren or planning a fun night out.

View the Presentation

Mayor Elinor Carbone and Rista Malanca, AICP, Director of Economic Development, discuss the proactive steps the city took to enable the city’s many successes.


Event Overview

Our Spotlight on Main Street event, co-sponsored by CEDAS, introduced downtown professionals, economic development officials, and municipal leaders from across the state to this historic, walkable district. This event included:

View Related Webinars

Mayor Carbone and Rista described several actions they took to improve their downtown’s walkability and make it inviting to residents, visitors and businesses. Learn more about how you can do the same with our video series on the 4 Point Approach.

View the videos


Other Resources

The arts & culture community is thriving in Torrington. Click the links to see the latest happenings.

About the Cover Photo

The banner photo was provided courtesy of Main Street Torrington and features Dennis Polisky & Maestro’s Men during their annual Oktoberfest event


View Pictures from this event

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With thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Charlotte Hungerford Hospital

Hartford HealthCare is creating a better future for healthcare in Connecticut and beyond. We are a community of caregivers engaged in developing a coordinated, consistently high standard of care, using research and education as part of care delivery. We create and engage in meaningful alliances to enhance access to services and invest in technology and training to develop new pathways to improve the timeliness, effectiveness and accuracy of our services.

Resources

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Event Partner

CEDAS

CEDAS, the Connecticut Economic Development Association, is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the practice of economic development within the state of Connecticut. The Association encourages communication among its members by providing a forum for discussion and information exchange.

Spotlight Partner

Torrington Savings Bank

Torrington Savings Bank’s steady, strong banking practices have made them a trusted and reliable bank since 1868. Conservatively guided and strongly capitalized, they are committed to their mutuality and to providing quality products and services to meet the financial needs of the individuals, families, and businesses in their communities.


Spotlight Supporters

Brooks, Todd & McNeil Insurance

Brooks, Todd & McNeil works hard to make your insurance decisions effortless and trustworthy. You can rely on the solutions they offer and count on their friendly, local service. They are proud of their long agency history providing families, non-profit organizations and commercial businesses in CT with insurance. They have been serving Connecticut since 1839.


Commercial Sewing, Inc.

Commercial Sewing has specialized in the marine and power sports markets with a focus on producing canvas products for Original Equipment Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers.


Good Earth Advisors

Good Earth Advisors is a woman-owned and operated consulting firm specializing in community planning, development services and public engagement. Inspired by the prospect of positive change, we see opportunity in each challenge—using planning as a pathway to progress.


Herbst & Herbst LLC

Conveniently located in Torrington since 1973, you can contact us with all your real estate, business, and estate planning needs. From our downtown Torrington location we are able to serve the needs of clients throughout Litchfield County. 

O&G Industries

O&G Industries, Inc. is a leading provider of construction services and products in the Northeast.

Our portfolio encompasses numerous market segments, with projects that span in size and scope. Our clients include some of the most well-respected brands in the region and throughout the world.

Remember When Vintages & Antiques

32 Years and counting in the lighting and antique business.  We have the largest selection of restored antique lighting, chandeliers, wall sconces, and lamps in the area. Our master restorer, Mr. Rit, does  museum quality restorations and has done restorations for the White House, the Torrington Historical Society  as well as numerous other venues.


Torrington Development Corporation

The Torrington Development Corporation will plan, lead, direct and coordinate comprehensive efforts to improve the City’s economic base.  The purchase, reclamation and development of property and the procurement and administration of funding and/or loans will be carefully managed to support a vibrant community.


Torrington Downtown Partners

Torrington Downtown Partners was formed in September 2010 by a group of investors who recognized an historic opportunity to shape the revitalization of downtown Torrington, Connecticut.  Their goal is two-fold: To break the cycle of absentee ownership and vacant storefronts in the heart of downtown, and to involve the community at-large in making decisions about and being a part in the turnaround and rehabilitation of a key part of the city.


White Flower Farm

White Flower Farm is a family-owned nursery based in Northwest Connecticut. Since 1950, we’ve been growing a wide range of ornamental plant varieties, and delivering them to gardeners all over the country. Our mission is to help gardeners succeed by supplying top quality plant material, comprehensive cultural information, and superior customer service. Whether you are an experienced horticulturalist on the lookout for unusual cultivars, or a newcomer to gardening, we’re here to help.

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