Jack Shannahan Prize for Public Service
presented to the Legislative Commission on Aging

CMSC is proud to present this award to Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging for their Livable Communities Initiative, which celebrates and supports components of a vibrant downtown, including community engagement, housing, planning & zoning, public spaces & buildings, and transportation.

Established in honor of Jack Shannahan, the former director of the Connecticut Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Officer; and a founder and first Board Chair of CMSC, the Jack Shannahan Prize for Public Service recognizes public sector individuals and organizations that exemplify a high standard of leadership with a deep commitment to the success of Connecticut’s Main Streets.

Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging, (currently the CT Commission on Women, Children and Seniors), a nonpartisan public policy and research office of the Connecticut General Assembly, provides information and inspiration for community leaders to prepare for the changing demographics of our state. For over twenty years, the Legislative Commission has worked to prepare Connecticut for its growing aging population while promoting policies that enhance the lives of the present and future generations of older adults.

Through its collaborative and long-standing work in changing how and where people receive long-term services and supports, the Commission on Aging knows that people want to stay in their homes and communities and to have choice, independence and dignity. And recognizing unprecedented longevity in Connecticut’s population, coupled with sheer increases in the number of older adults, the Connecticut General Assembly charged Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging with facilitating the Livable Communities initiative in 2013.

According to the Commission on Aging, Livable Communities are defined as “places that foster independence and support residents across the lifespan. They offer affordable, accessible, and diverse housing and transportation options and public buildings and spaces; supportive community features and services; and vibrancy and opportunities for community engagement. They engage residents in civic and social life, and allow people to remain in their homes and communities. Done well, they enhance the quality of life for all residents, create tremendous economic value in towns and cities, promote healthy living and support environmental sustainability.”

Although focused primarily on Connecticut’s rapidly aging population, the Commission understands that great places are great for everyone, young and old.  Many of the domains of their Livable Communities initiatives are the same components that foster robust downtowns, including having varied transit and housing options.  Moreover, they not only understand but celebrate the idea that the most vibrant communities are those that are inclusive – providing refuge and recreation to all.  This inclusivity is a trait the staff members themselves share, and from which CMSC has benefitted greatly.  Often at the forefront of creating and sharing useful data and information about the components of healthy communities, the Commission has been extraordinary in their ability to build partnerships that respect and encourage the works of others.  In addition to nearly 60 other organizations, CMSC has signed on as a partner to the Commission’s Livable Communities Initiative, supporting their efforts to inspire communities that are just as great to grow up as they are to grow older.

For their extraordinary support of Connecticut’s Main Streets, we are proud to present Connecticut’s Legislative Commission on Aging with the Jack Shannahan Prize for Public Service.