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Author: Jennifer Hunter

Spotlight on Main Street Bridgeport

Spotlight on Main

Downtown Bridgeport: Fueled by Creatives

Presented by Sacred Heart University office of Community Engagement

Fueled by creatives, arts and entertainment, dining and nightlife, Downtown Bridgeport is evolving into an inclusive, affordable and multicultural Downtown. Connected to highways, trains and buses, it can be easily accessed by car or foot. Once vacant daytime office buildings are being converted into residential units, encouraging even more dining and nightlife in the city center. Downtown Bridgeport’s historic amenities are being brought to life through adaptive reuse and mixed-use projects. Public art is bringing vibrancy and engaging creativity in public spaces. 

Presentation Highlights

Our Spotlight on Main event introduced downtown professionals, economic development officials, and municipal leaders from across the state to this multicultural district. This event included:

Learn More: 

View Pictures from this event

Photos Courtesy of Daniel Recinos

  • CMSC Executive Director, Michelle McCabe

  • CMSC Board Member, Kelvin Ayala

  • Matthew Shields, Sacred Heart University

  • Lauren Coakley Vincent, President & CEO of Bridgeport DSSD

  • Bill Coleman, Bridgeport Office of Planning and Economic Development

  • Mayor Ganim

  • ES Barraza, Endangered Studio

  • Alicia Cobb, Art Simplicated

  • CMSC Staff

Watch the Presentation

CMSC in the Media

Video courtesy of Stephen Krauchick of Doing it Local 

With thanks to our Sponsors!


Presenting Sponsor

Sacred Heart University Office of Community Engagement

Social responsibility plays a role in our curriculum, events and student activities. SHU offers Volunteer Programs, Service-Learning opportunities and Service Immersion Programs to suit everyone – every aspiration, every career goal, every social interest.

Visit their website


Spotlight Partners

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. CEDAS is the premiere association for economic development professionals, providing a forum for the economic development community and sponsoring educational programs and seminars to benefit those in the field. 

Visit their website


Bridgeport Regional Business Council

The largest business association in the region, the 600 member Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC) is comprised of six affiliates: the Bridgeport, Stratford and Trumbull Chambers of Commerce, Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation, Leadership Greater Bridgeport and the Women’s Leadership Council.

Visit their website

Fairfield University Center for Social Impact

Grounded in Fairfield University’s Jesuit, Catholic mission to share its intellectual resources for the betterment of the community and to educate students to be socially and morally responsible, the Center for Social Impact connects community and campus to create high impact academic opportunities that address local, national, and global challenges and develop individuals committed to creating a more just and equitable world.

Visit their website


M&T Bank

M&T Bank is committed to building a stronger community–Together. Our purpose is to understand the individuals and the businesses in our neighborhood, so we can create the right opportunities for the people we serve.

Visit their website

The Recinos Company

Here to help you connect with your audience through understanding that everything worth doing starts with passion, and that’s something that we all have in common. Whether you’re looking to connect with your clients through photos, videos or music, our team will always work with you to unlock and release that passion into your work. 

We create honest, vulnerable & relevant content that resonates with your customers and community. We aspire to increase engagement and add value to your customers and brand. 

Visit their website


Spotlight Supporters

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O.3.1 Mission & Vision

O.3.1 Mission & Vision

Action

Update or create a written mission and vision statement with input from stakeholders.

Why

A mission and vision statement is critical to guide your district work to consistent, strategic progress.

Resources

Search Downtown Resource Library

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O.2.2.2 Board Representation – Constituencies

O.2.2.2 Board Representation – Constituencies

Action

Develop a board that is made up of individuals who represent different constituencies within your downtown district and the community at large.

Note: “Board” refers to a Board of Directors of a non-profit or other legal entity, an Advisory Board, Committee, or Commission. 

Why

Different constituencies bring unique perspectives that will enrich your Board’s leadership of the district.

How

Recruit board members from different industries. Here is a sample of constituencies that typically are downtown stakeholders:

  • Property Owners
  • Business Owners
  • Economic Development
  • Business Council
  • Housing Authority
  • Local Banks or Financial Institutions
  • Realtors
  • Planning & Zoning
  • Historic Organizations
  • Library
  • Civic Orgs
  • Faith-based
  • K-12 School System
  • College System
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Tourism
  • Arts & Culture Organizations

Resources

Search Downtown Resource Library

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O.1.2 Community Support

O.1.2 Community Support

Action

Build community buy-in and consensus on your district’s revitalization.

Why

District stakeholders must be aligned with a unified vision. If different stakeholder groups have different priorities or goals, the district will not progress forward.

How

Engage in consensus building activities so stakeholders are in agreement on the vision and direction of the district. Establish a culture of collaboration and regular communication.

Resources

Search Downtown Resource Library

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O.1.1 Municipal Support

O.1.1 Municipal Support

Action

Build municipal support for and investment in your district’s revitalization.

Why

Municipal support is crucial for a unified vision and support structure.

How

Municipal government should demonstrate an active commitment to the district via dedicated funding and/or dedicated personnel dedicated to the district. Every local context may vary depending on the community’s history and political environment. Building strong municipal support may take some time. Develop a strong case as to why district revitalization is important and the impact it makes. Be ready to share key talking points consistently with municipal leaders as frequently as possible. Keep leaders updated regularly with progress.

Resources

Search Downtown Resource Library

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P.2.1 Positioning Statement

P.2.1 Positioning Statement

Action

Develop or improve a positioning statement for your district.

Why

A positioning statement is a concise and compelling description that captures the vibe of your district and gives a person why they should live, work, and/or play in your district. A positioning statement is the foundation of your brand identity and should guide all of your strategic initiatives, programs, events, outreach, marketing – everything you do.

How

To develop a positioning statement for your downtown district you first take stock of your district’s strengths, assets, attractions, history, events, values, etc. Next identify the target audience that aligns the most with what your district already has to offer. You may have a primary and secondary target audience. For example, families, young professionals, active outdoors people, retired professionals who love art, etc. From there, create a statement that captures what makes your downtown so special for your target audience.

Resources

Search Downtown Resource Library

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P.2.3 Brand Key Messages

P.2.3 Brand Key Messages

Action

Develop key messages and talking points for the different stakeholders of your district.

Why

“Key messages are the main points of information you want your audience to hear, understand, and remember. They are bite-sized summations that articulate what you do, why you do it, how you are different, and what value you bring to stakeholders. Key messages are important because they serve as the foundation of an organization’s branding and marketing efforts and should be reflected in all written and spoken communications.” – “Developing Key Messages for Effective Communication” by MSKTC (linked below)

How

Before creating and administering a survey, it’s important to identify what you want to get out of the survey and how you plan to use the survey results. Next, identify the questions you want to ask using both open-ended, multiple choice, and Likert scale questions. Consider the different stakeholders of your district like business owners, residents, etc. Lastly, use a digital survey tool like Survey Monkey or Google Forms as your central repository to collect all the responses. You may also want to create the survey in different languages and as a paper version to ensure you’re hearing from diverse populations. Create a promotion campaign to get the word out for people to complete the survey.

Resources

Search Downtown Resource Library

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P.1.2 Attitudes and Perceptions Survey

P.1.2 Attitudes and Perceptions Survey

Action

Conduct, analyze, and document the findings of an attitudes and perception survey of your district.

Why

Conducting an attitudes and perception survey of your district gives valuable insights into the community’s opinions and preferences, helping in identifying areas of improvement and guiding future development strategies to improve overall satisfaction and engagement with the district.

How

Before creating and administering a survey, it’s important to identify what you want to get out of the survey and how you plan to use the survey results. Next, identify the questions you want to ask using both open-ended, multiple choice, and Likert scale questions. Consider the different stakeholders of your district like business owners, residents, etc. Lastly, use a digital survey tool like Survey Monkey or Google Forms as your central repository to collect all the responses. You may also want to create the survey in different languages and as a paper version to ensure you’re hearing from diverse populations. Create a promotion campaign to get the word out for people to complete the survey.

Search Downtown Resource Library

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D.7.1 Public Art Inventory

D.7.1 Public Art Inventory

Action

Conduct and document your district’s public art inventory.

Why

All good plans for revitalization start with taking stock of the assets your district has. This enables you to create a strategic plan that takes advantage of the assets you have, address core issues, share information more easily with stakeholders, and helps you market your district.

How

Watch the “How to Collect, Maintain, and Leverage Your Main Street Inventories” webinar and review the Main Street Inventory Quick Reference for guidance on how to conduct this inventory.

Search Downtown Resource Library

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D.4.5 Environmental Resiliency Initiatives

D.4.5 Environmental Resiliency Initiatives

Action

Develop, fund, implement and maintain an environmental resiliency and low impact development plan.

Why

Implementing low impact development principles and practices, and planning for environmental resiliency:

  • manages and cleans stormwater
  • reduces road closures due to flooding (keeps customers from visiting, employees from working)
  • mitigates impacts to property owners and businesses
  • can add beauty and interest through green infrastructure

How

  • Utilize any previous studies or community engagement feedback to create, fund and implement an environmental resiliency and low impact development plan. 
  • Work with partners such as the local Department of Public Works, Engineering Department and the State of CT Department of Transportation Right of Way office as needed.

Search Downtown Resource Library

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P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337