(Hartford, CT – May 1, 2012) – Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2012 Awards of Excellence. The winners of these prestigious awards actively championed the revitalization and economic development of downtowns across Connecticut through initiatives ranging from rebuilding and redesigning downtown spaces to working with local police to increase safety for area businesses. The winning entries represent initiatives and organizations from Hartford, Middletown, New London, Simsbury, Suffield, Waterbury and Willimantic.

“The vitality of our city centers is critical to our efforts to spur Connecticut’s next economic revival,” said Governor Dannel P. Malloy.  “I applaud this year’s award winners for their work to reinvigorate and re-imagine the public spaces that will draw visitors to all we have to offer—shops, restaurants and entertainment.  When our urban centers thrive, we all benefit.”

“The construction of a new library in the Upper Albany neighborhood in Hartford; the redesign of the New London Parade Plaza; the adaptive reuse of buildings that now accommodate residential choices in Willimantic and in Suffield; and the community rallying to support the rebuilding of anchor businesses in downtown Middletown are all examples of the innovative initiatives successfully undertaken by our Connecticut Main Street member network,” said CMSC President & CEO John Simone. Despite continued economic challenges, these and many of CMSC’s other member communities were able to create choices in housing, support entrepreneurial and small business success, and enliven downtown public gathering spaces.

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. The Connecticut Main Street Awards annually celebrate and communicate the most successful and innovative efforts in Main Street revitalization in Connecticut. Submissions were judged on criteria which included innovation, replication, representation and partnerships utilized, and outcome.

Awards will be presented at the Connecticut Main Street 2012 Awards Gala on June 11th at Cheney Hall in Downtown Manchester. Webster Bank is the official sponsor of the 2012 Community Spirit Business Award for Business Retention. Fuss & O’Neill is the “Welcome to Main Street” reception sponsor.

2012 CT Main Street Awards of Excellence

Main Street Partnership

  • Award of Excellence to: Main Street Waterbury & The Republican-American for Celebrating Downtown – a special supplement of the Sunday Republican 

Community Investment

  • Award of Excellence to: Upper Albany Main Street, Hartford Public Library for the Hartford Public Library-Upper Albany Branch

Site Design by Sevigny Architects

Community Consensus-Building

  • Award of Excellence to: Main Street Waterbury, Waterbury Police Department for Downtown Business Watch

 Master Planning Main Street

  • Award of Excellence to: Town of Simsbury for Simsbury Town Center Code

Submitted by Simsbury Main Street Partnership

Historic Preservation

  • Award of Excellence to: New London Main Street, New London Landmarks, City Center District, City of New London, Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects, and Wilbur Smith Associates for The New London Parade Plaza Redesign


  • Award of Excellence to: Rotary Club of New London for Trolley Visitor Information Station Site Improvements

Site Design by Kent + Frost

Project Management by Richard Gipstein

Submitted by New London Main Street

Adaptive Reuse of a Building – Urban Downtown

  • Award of Excellence to: Patrick Schooley, owner for 560 on Main, Downtown Willimantic

Submitted by Thread City Development Corp.

Adaptive Reuse of a Building – Town Center

  • Award of Excellence to: Sage Engineering, Town of Suffield forThe Bissell Inn, Suffield

Submitted by Town of Suffield

Community Spirit Award for Business Retention (Award Sponsored by Webster Bank)

  • Award of Excellence to: The Middletown Community for O’Rourke’s Fire – A Community with a Cause: The community commitment to rebuild O’Rourke’s Diner

Submitted by Middletown Downtown Business District

Main Street Business Owner of the Year

  • Award of Excellence to: Andrew Gutt, Cafémantic in Downtown Willimantic

Submitted by Thread City Development Corp.

Main Street Pioneer – Business Owner Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Award of Excellence to: David Wollner, Willimantic Brewing Company

Submitted by Thread City Development Corp.

Main Street Property Owner of the Year

  • Award of Excellence to: Michael DiPiro & Michael Sokolowski, 505 Main Street: Collapse & Rebuilding on Main Street Middletown

Submitted by Middletown Downtown Business District

Image Enhancement

  • Award of Excellence to: New London Main Street for “The Big Picture”

2012 Nationally Accredited Main Street Programs

  • New London Main Street
  • Simsbury Main Street Partnership
  • Upper Albany Main Street
  • Main Street Waterbury

The Connecticut Light and Power Company Award for Outstanding Contributions to Main Street Revitalization

  • Award of Excellence to: The Northwestern Connecticut Regional Planning Collaborative