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CMSC Summit: Addressing Blight & Vacancy On Main Street

CMSC Summit

Addressing Blight & Vacancy on Main Street

Presented by Liberty Bank

Main streets are the face of the community. They welcome visitors, provide residents and community members with a sense of identity, house many small businesses, and host the arts, culture and entertainment that bring life to a municipality. Empty storefronts and blighted properties in downtowns and village centers drag a community down, undermining economic vitality and pride of place for surrounding buildings and businesses.

View Event Photos

View the Blight Panel

View the Vacancy Panel

Speaker Bios & Presentations

  • Michael Andreana, Pullman & Comley

  • Sarah Bodley, reSET co/ BL&D

    Sarah Bodley, Executive Director of reSET Social Enterprise Trust, is a nonprofit professional with over a decade of experience leading organizations focused on entrepreneurship and the arts. A former professional modern dancer, Sarah earned a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase and an MBA in Sustainability from Bard College. She is passionate about systems change, sustainability, equality and justice, and believes that business should be a positive force for change in the world.

    View Sarah’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Kevin Brown, Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC)

  • Julie Carmelich, SHPO

  • Jonathan Delgado, City of Bridgeport

    Jonathan Delgado serves as a Sr. Economic Development Associate for the City of Bridgeport’s Office of Planning & Economic Development. In this role, he works with developers, business owners and local community through the administration of various City programs and initiatives. Previously, Jonathan served as Assistant Director for Community-Engaged Research in Fairfield University’s Center for Social Impact, where he worked with staff, faculty and students to design and implement research projects with community partners. Jonathan received his Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Connecticut, and his Master of Public Administration degree from Fairfield University.

    View Jonathan’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Chris Edge, Town of Berlin

    Chris Edge has been the Economic Development Director for the Town of Berlin since January 2015.  He works with companies, individuals, entrepreneurs and others to enhance Berlin. This includes guidance with local government, programs and resources to launch from home into a storefront, move to town, and expand in town.  Previous work – finding employment for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and a part-time commercial real estate agent.  Has been a foster parent for almost 19 years and resides in Avon with his wife, 2 sons and 2 daughters.

    View Chris’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Kevin Gremse, Grow America

    Kevin Gremse is an economic development professional with over three decades of experience. As a Senior Director at Grow America (formerly NDC), Kevin manages a team of professionals who work in over thirty municipalities in the eastern United States. Kevin coordinates a multi-disciplined set of economic and housing development services, including technical assistance, training, and small business lending, and tax credit equity investment to a wide range of clients. Kevin advances the work of Grow America’s affiliated programs, including its federal tax credit programs, its public facility development division, and its small business lending company in client communities. Kevin has used his working knowledge of business credit and real estate underwriting and proven experience with federal, state, and local economic development incentive programs to structure business and real estate development transactions exceeding $6 billion throughout the country.

    View Kevin’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Dan Pesce, Director- Main Street Waterbury

  • Peter Ludwig, CT Green Bank

    Peter leads market engagement for the Connecticut Green Bank’s commercial building solutions. He helps building owners, contractors and other partners understand and access green energy financing programs for commercial and multifamily buildings.

    View Peter’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Rista Malanca, Northwest Hill Council of Governments (NHCOG)

  • Brian McCann, Pullman & Comley

    Brian is a partner at the law firm Pullman & Comley.  He represents businesses and individuals before municipal boards and commissions, and prosecutes and defends administrative appeals regarding issuance and denial of municipal approvals. 

    Prior to joining Pullman & Comley, Brian served as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Norwalk for fourteen years, and, in that position, he counseled officials in the performance of their duties, drafted and implemented new ordinances (such as a blight ordinance, and a zoning citation ordinance), prosecuted hundreds of injunctions to enforce code violations, and defended the City in hundreds of administrative appeals.

    View Brian’s Presentation (PDF)

  • Yvonne Zhao, City of Hartford

    Yvonne Zhao is the Director of Small Business Initiatives and Support at the City of Hartford. With expertise in economic development and entrepreneurship, she leads initiatives such as the Hartlift program and the Small Business Facade program. Yvonne is a certified entrepreneurship development professional through the International Economic Development Council. Before her tenure at the City of Hartford, she contributed to regional economic development efforts in upstate New York, where she gained valuable insights and experience in downtown revitalization and main street development through collaborative public-private partnerships.

    View Yvonne’s Presentation (PDF)

With thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Summit Supporters

Summit Exhibitors

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CMSC Summit: Positioning CT Main Streets in the Social Media Landscape

CMSC Summit

Positioning CT Main Streets in the Social Media Landscape

Presented by Intuition Media Group

During our fall summit we dove into the ever-evolving relationship between marketing and Main Streets, exploring the pivotal role social media plays in influencing residents and visitors, and how online audiences can be converted into real-life customers.  

Event Highlights

  • 2 Case Study panels featuring local Main Street professionals & social media influencers
  • A conversation with CT’s Chief Marketing Officer, Anthony Anthony about the state’s new Make It Here campaign. 

This event was approved for 4 credits for certified planners. With thanks to our AICP Certification Maintenance Provider FHI Studio

View Pictures from this event

  • Lyric Hall Entrance

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  • New Canaan Panel w Audience

  • CAS_0592

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  • CAS_0622

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  • CAS_0659

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  • WVRA Panel w MLM

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  • WVRA Panel w Audience

Watch the Presentation

Panel Discussion 1 – Unlocking Digital Creation for Your Main Street

Panel Discussion 2 – Cultivating an Ecosystem of Creators

Keynote Discussion with Anthony Anthony

View all webinars

With thanks to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Intuition Media Group

Intuition Media is a global leader in influencer marketing.

We are an award-winning influencer marketing agency serving the most iconic brands since 2008. We connect trend-setting creators with insight-based strategies.

From ideation to implementation, our experiential strategists develop campaigns that connect with your target audience and utilize influencers to drive engagement and enhance credibility.

Visit their website

Spotlight Partners

Key Bank

Key Bank’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, NY. Today, KeyCorp is based in Cleveland, OH, and we’re one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of approximately $195 billion.

Visit their website

Spotlight Supporters


CBIA is the leading voice for Connecticut business

We support the innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders shaping a vibrant, dynamic Connecticut with opportunities for all–and connect business executives with each other and with legislators.

FHI Studio

FHI Studio integrates expertise in a wide array of services and technical disciplines. Across planning, engagement, mobility, and design, we look at the whole to understand the parts of every project. From internal brainstorm sessions to client, stakeholder, and public workshops, we bring a diversity of knowledge and the creativity to get things done.

Our four studios work together to ensure comprehensive and thoughtful solutions, demonstrating our commitment to continual learning and collaboration.

Fuss & O’Neill

Fuss & O’Neill is a nearly 100-year-old engineering and science-based firm with offices in each New England state, and New York.

We specialize in planning, design, and construction work in the transportation, water, environmental, buildings, and energy market sectors. We thrive at the intersection of industry and community issues such as economic development, livable communities, complete streets, Environmental Justice, and climate change while offering traditional public and private services. We count more than a dozen Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as part of our extensive list of clients.

Summit Exhibitors

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M&T Bank

With a community bank approach, M&T Bank helps people reach their personal and business goals with banking, mortgage, loan and investment services. A community bank at heart, M&T lives its commitment to local communities because they believe healthy communities are the foundation of successful businesses. Beyond banking, their M&T Charitable Foundation works in partnership with non-profit organizations that focus on improving the quality of life for their customers, employees and neighbors.

For more information on how M&T Bank can help you reach your goals, visit their website at

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