(Hartford, CT – April 2, 2013) – Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) Designated Main Street members reached a significant milestone recently when they surpassed the $1 billion investment mark. This impressive figure represents the cumulative investment in CMSC Designated Programs since the program began in 1995. The number becomes even more remarkable when considering the strong growth maintained during the height of the Great Recession. Since 2007, the number of net new businesses in these communities increased by 21%, while the number of net new jobs increased by 29%. “Even in this challenging economic climate our Main Street programs are continuing to experience significant investment in their respective districts. It is encouraging to see major institutions investing in facilities and private developers creating more housing in these main street districts,” said CMSC President & CEO John Simone.
Particularly impressive numbers have emerged out of downtowns in Waterbury and Simsbury, as well as the Upper Albany Main Street neighborhood in Hartford and Westville Village in New Haven. In the past year, Simsbury’s Town Center has seen 33 building improvement projects totaling $989,000 of private investment. During the same period Downtown Waterbury gained a net 14 new businesses, creating 48 new jobs. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary stated, “The Main Street initiative has helped us to focus on our downtown, the heart of our city. The partnership that we have developed is invaluable and we look forward to bigger and better things to come.”
Hartford’s Upper Albany neighborhood welcomed Fichman Eye Center to Albany Avenue – a $2,500,000 new facility providing services to the community that created ten new jobs. In 2012, Upper Albany Avenue also benefited from six public infrastructure improvement projects totaling $52,000,000. At the same time, in the southern part of the state, New Haven’s Westville Village neighborhood reported ten business relocations or expansions employing 35 people in the past year, and 18 building improvements totaling $569,649 of private investment. Westville Village Renaissance Alliance held 20 events with total attendance topping 12,000.
“Numbers like these show the success of the Main Street Approach and Main Street programs at the local level. They’re why the revitalization strategy has earned a reputation as one of the most powerful economic development tools in the nation,” said Mr. Simone.
CMSC has a statewide network of over 60 communities working to revitalize their downtowns and Main Street districts. Five of these have achieved Designated Main Street member community status: New London Main Street, Simsbury Main Street Partnership, Main Street Waterbury, Westville Renaissance Village Alliance, and Upper Albany Main Street (Hartford). CMSC collects statistical information on economic activity in Designated Main Street communities every six months. In addition to increases in public and private investment, jobs, new businesses and building improvements, approximately 90,000 hours of volunteer time was donated in the past three years by individuals involved in community efforts to bring CT Main Street districts back to life. “During this difficult economic time, it is important for public-private partnerships to work together to leverage our resources and to coordinate efforts to grow and retain jobs to sustain a vibrant community,” said Mary Glassman, First Selectman of Simsbury.