Honoring public servants who exemplify a deep commitment to Main Street.
Established in honor of John (“Jack”) W. Shannahan, former State Historic Preservation Officer and Director of the Connecticut Historical Commission, and the first Chair of the Connecticut Main Street Center, this prestigious award recognizes individuals from the public sector who demonstrate an exemplary standard of leadership with a deep commitment to history and Main Street revitalization.
This award is not given on an annual or competitive basis. Rather, CMSC bestows the honor in recognition of extraordinary efforts by Connecticut’s public servants to preserve our historic town centers.
2020 – Sara C. Bronin
Sara C. Bronin is a Mexican-American author, attorney, and architect who has worked at the local, state, and national levels on policy reforms to improve and enhance our main streets and revitalize communities. As Chair of the City of Hartford’s Planning & Zoning Commission, Sara has led collaborative efforts to draft and adopt the capital city’s Form-Based Zoning Code, its first Climate Action Plan, and its 2035 City Plan, which has a compelling vision to create connections, attract people, improve opportunity, and make the city fun! As the Board Chair of Preservation CT (formerly the CT Trust for Historic Preservation), Sara has advocated for the historic preservation tax credit and worked to align preservationists and environmentalists. Sara also sits on the Board of Latinos in Heritage Conservation and serves as an Advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sustainable Development Code.
In her day job, Sara holds the Thomas F. Gallivan Endowed Chair in Real Property Law at UCONN, and she teaches and writes about property, land use, historic preservation, and renewable energy law. She consults for cities, state agencies, and private firms all over the country. As an architect, she has won several awards for the design and rehabilitation of her downtown Hartford brownstone. She and her husband, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, are the parents of three young children.
2018 – Andrea Pereira, Executive Director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation
In 2018, CMSC presented the Shannahan Award to Andrea Pereira, Executive Director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), for her leadership in guiding strategic investments aimed at creating tangible, sustainable improvements in our communities. Andrea Pereira led LISC for over 20 years, having previously served as the Director of Urban Revitalization & Investment at the State of CT Department of Economic & Community Development. An alumna of Trinity College and Columbia University, Andrea is an accomplished community development professional with expertise in community development finance, organizational development, nonprofit management, grant-making, public policy, and program development. Guided by Ms. Pereira, LISC Connecticut provides financial and technical resources to over 60 local housing and community development organizations each year. LISC also offers predevelopment, acquisition, bridge and/or construction financing for affordable housing and other community development projects. The Connecticut Transit-Oriented Development Fund, managed by LISC, is a $15 million loan fund for site acquisition and predevelopment to support transit-oriented development along CTfastrak and commuter rail corridors.
The Jack Shannahan Prize for Public Service was awarded to the Legislative Commission on Aging in recognition of their Livable Communities initiative. This initiative aims to create thriving places for residents to grow up and grow older, notably by helping prepare Connecticut for the challenges presented by a rapidly increasing aging demographic through education, awareness and advocacy.
2015 – The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA)
Unique in their design and approach to reaching an underserved population of small downtown properties, CHFA contracted CMSC in 2012 to create the Come Home to Downtown program. CHFA demonstrated a long-term commitment to this program by securing multi-year funding and creating a loan fund to help building owners re-awaken their underutilized buildings. They are helping educate people about possible solutions, both directly through presenting at conferences and workshops and indirectly by enabling CMSC to provide municipal leaders with guidance and assistance through the program.
Read more about CHFA and their commitment to Connecticut’s downtowns here.
2008 – Senator Donald E. Williams & Senator Andrew Roraback
In selecting Senators Williams and Roraback, CMSC chose to honor the two public servants most responsible for the 2005 Community Investment Act – landmark legislation which created a yearly funding stream for farmland preservation, open space preservation, historic preservation and affordable housing. It is this funding source that has provided the resources for the State Historic Preservation Office to support CMSC’s Preservation of Place (POP) grant program. POP grants allow our member communities across the state to build and implement strategies that bring their historic commercial districts back to life.