Thanksgiving arrives next week, bringing with it that annual opportunity to reflect on all we have. Looking around at my Main Street family, I once again see much to be thankful for.

First and foremost, I must express my gratitude to my wonderful staff and board. They routinely go above and beyond in our efforts to inspire great Connecticut downtowns. Our team, comprised of Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker, Susan Westa, Christine Schilke and myself, worked throughout the year to offer several events, including our Awards Gala in New Haven and DRI workshops (who can forget the popular food truck catered-lunch and pop-up park at our Placemaking II workshop?); complete several consultancies, including the Sandy Hook Economic Recovery Initiative, an assessment of the potential for a New Haven citywide main street program, and implementing Year 2 of the Come Home to Downtown program. We also rolled out a brand new website and garnered positive press through op-eds and other successful media relations.

The CMSC Board continued to be active champions and supporters of our goals. This year our board raised an unprecedented amount of sponsorships for our Awards Gala, leading the way for another fiscally sound year. Offering guidance, identifying resources and attending CMSC events in support of us and our members are just a few of the helpful practices our board routinely engages in, making our work with them both a value and a pleasure.

We’re also grateful for our members and industry partners. While we continue to make forward progress on creating a positive environment for revitalizing our downtowns, we couldn’t possibly do it alone. Knowing we have allies on the ground in our many communities and in the many organizations we work with means we can achieve that much more. We made new friends with two successful member networking events in Waterbury and Westville (New Haven), and our colleagues in state agencies such as DECD, ConnDOT, the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and in organizations like CERC, CRCOG, CEDAS, CCAPA and CPA are truly valued and appreciated by all of us here at CMSC.

Looking back over the year, I realize how lucky we are to work with such wonderful people towards such noble goals. It’s our programmatic successes and the relationships we’ve cultivated that inspire us to keep going. This Thanksgiving, I hope you and your loved ones have every bit as much to be thankful for as we do here at CMSC.