CMSC brings awareness to the needs and benefits of, and advocates for, Connecticut’s downtowns and Main Streets.

  • CMSC participated in the review of applications for DECD’s CT Communities Challenge Grant program, which has awarded over $45 million to 12 communities. The purpose of the program is to improve livability, vibrancy, convenience, and appeal of communities throughout the state. This is a robust review process, which took 4-6 hours per week. Round 2 planned for Fall 2022.
  • Ryan Bingham has connected CMSC to DRS Commission Mark Boughton’s Deputy Program Advisor for Infrastructure, Steve Nocera. CMSC will help inform the Infrastructure Advisory Group to properly deploy Infrastructure Investment & Job Act Funds (IIJA) grant  funding, connecting these grants to Main Streets.
  • Congressman Joe Courtney requested a Letter of Support for Enfield Train Station Track Improvements Project grant application, a CTDOT proposal to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation. CMSC provided this LOS and underscored to the Town of Enfield that CMSC is ready to help guide them to a comprehensive approach to the revitalization of Thompsonville Village (station location).

Update on Legislation impacting Main Streets

  • HB 5171-Abandoned & Blighted Property Receivership, eliminating the population threshold.
    • CMSC testified in support of this bill, stating “eligibility is currently restricted to those communities with populations of 35,000 or greater. This threshold limits the ability of 80% of Connecticut towns from accessing the receivership process. Less than 20% of Connecticut’s municipalities reach the existing threshold, despite the pressing need to address blighted properties.”
    • On 3/4/22, Planning & Development Committee Joint Favorable vote. On 4/6/22, referred by House to Committee on Judiciary. Legislation died this session.

 

  • HB 5271-Continuation of Outdoor Dining, extends to 4/30/23.
    • Public Act No. 22-1 signed by Governor.
    • Relaxes rules on outdoor dining, requiring municipal zoning commissions to permit restaurants to engage in outdoor food and beverage service as an accessory use of such restaurant’s permitted use.

 

  • RB 5429-Transit Oriented Development. Died in Planning & Development Committee.
    • CMSC believes that denser development around transit stations is critical for vibrant Main Streets. CMSC testified in support of the bill, stating “Connecticut has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in train lines and the CTfastrak bus rapid transit system. We should amplify these efforts by encouraging a vibrant mix of shops, businesses, and residences around transit stations. The approach proposed in R.B. 5429 will allow medium density zoning near transit, while affording municipalities the opportunity to determine the design and site plan for that density. At no cost to taxpayers, we could create thousands of affordable homes, jump-start economic growth, connect businesses and employees, and protect our environment.”
    • This summer, Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker & Carl Rosa will conduct a Transit Oriented Communities Listening Tour in communities where there are Metro North and/or CTFastrak Stations. We will use the information gained from this tour to inform revisions to a bill for next year’s session, sharing with the Main Street Working Group and Desegregate CT in the fall.

 

2022 Awards

  • Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service – Main Street Working Group Co-Chairs Representatives Jane Garibay, Jennifer Leeper, and Quentin Williams. Awards were presented on May 3, 2022 in the Hall of Flags at the State Capitol.
    • MSWG Co-Chair expressed desire to meet in the summer to begin planning for 2023 session

 

CELEBRATING CT’S MAIN STREETS PHOTO EXHIBIT 2022

Our photo exhibit is up in the Lower Concourse of the LOB for the entire month of May. The exhibit features 150 linear feet of high-quality and arresting photographs that celebrate downtowns and Main Streets throughout Connecticut.