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Resource: Webinar

CMSC Webinar Recap: DOT & Downtown – An Update On CT’s Complete Streets & Other Programs

CMSC Webinar

Webinar Summary

Kimberly Lesay, Bureau Chief of Policy & Planning at the Connecticut Department of Transportation, provides a detailed overview of the latest updates to several federal and local DOT programs including Complete Streets, Community Connectivity Grant Program (CCGP), Transportation Rural Improvement Program (TRIP), and many more. Watch the recording and review the resources to learn more about funding opportunities for your downtown transportation projects!

Presentation Highlights

  • CTDOT’s Complete Streets Policy & Directive

    As of August 2023, Complete Streets has three new controlling design criteria:

    • Pedestrian facilities–includes sidewalks, shared use paths, or side paths on both sides of the roadway.
    • Bicycle facilities–includes paved outside shoulders, bike lanes, separated bike paths, or shared use paths on both sides of the roadway.
    • Transit provisions–includes crosswalks, shelters, benches, and other ways to make existing or proposed transit stops more accessible.

    Regarding Complete Streets project applications, CTDOT:

    • is the project proponent/ administers the project
    • is responsible for providing project funding (state or federally aid)
    • controls the affected infrastructure (State Highway)

    Design Exceptions: Design Exceptions may only be granted by the Chief Engineer, with reporting requirements to the Commissioner.

  • Overview of Discretionary Federal Grant Opportunities

    The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) reauthorizes federal surface transportation programs for FY 2022 – FY 2026. Unlike the 2008 Recovery Act, IIJA is long-term, continuous investment in transportation infrastructure, not a “Shovel Ready” stimulus program. In Connecticut, there are $5.38 billion in formula-based funding over five years – a $1.62 billion increase over FAST Act. IIJA provides for over $100 billion in competitive grant opportunities between FY 2022 and FY 2026.

  • Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A)

    IIJA authorizes $6 billion over 5 years in Safe Streets grants. Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) is open to MPOs and Local Governments, not State DOTs.

    The grant program supports Vision Zero planning efforts, as well as capital projects to improve safety for all users.

    Eligible Activities:

    • Develop or update a comprehensive safety action plan
    • Conduct Planning Design and development activities in support of an Action Plan
    • Carry out projects ID’in an Action Plan
    • Demonstration Activities (Quick-Builds)

    Amendments to the latest SS4A Notice of Funding Opportunity:

    • Upwardly revises the amount available to implement projects and strategies from $580 million to $780 million.
    • Clarifies that funding awards to applicants submitted after each deadline is contingent on remaining funds. Funds are available on a rolling “first-come, first-serve” basis.
    • Waives up to $200,000 in non-Federal match for applications from certain U.S. territories.
    • Removes the option for unsuccessful Implementation Grant applicants to apply for a Planning and Demonstration Grant. Implementation Grant applicants are encouraged to bundle requests for supplemental planning and demonstration activities into their Implementation Grant application.
    • Changes the deadline for technical questions to April 24 to answer any questions related to the amendment. Application deadlines remain the same.

      New SS4A application resources:

    • CTDOT Programs

    • Success Stories

      In partnership with Smart Growth America, the cities of Waterbury, Bristol, and Middletown of along with NVCOG and RiverCOG, completed the 2022-2023 Complete Streets Academy that included workshops, planning and building temporary street safety demonstration projects.

      View 2022-2023 Complete Streets Academy final report here.

    View the Recording

    About Our Presenter

    Kimberly Lesay, Bureau Chief of Policy & Planning at the Connecticut Department of Transportation

    Contact Info

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    CMSC Webinar Recap: Funding Main Street Management – 3 Models

    CMSC Webinar

    Webinar Summary

    Sustainable funding for a main street management program is critical to achieve incremental progress in your downtown district. In this webinar, we’ll be covering three models to fund a main street management program: Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, and tax incremental financing (TIF) districts.

    Our three presenters will give a short overview of each type’s general structure and pros and cons to consider.

    Presentation Highlights

    Funding Model Comparisons

    Click here to find a comparison of the different funding model types. 

    View the Recording

    About Our Presenters

    • Jennifer E. Goldman

      Jennifer E Goldman LLC

    • Sandra Russo-Driska

      Coordinator of Middletown Downtown Business District

    • Michael J. Andreana

      , Attorney at Pullman & Comley LLC

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    CMSC Webinar: CT Humanities Grant Funding for Main Street Projects

    CMSC Webinar

    CT Humanities Grant Funding for Main Street Projects

    Webinar Summary

    Are you looking for support for your public humanities projects on Main Street? Has your community started thinking how it will participate in the commemorations, celebrations, and reflections of the United States’ 250th anniversary? 

    In this webinar, the CT Humanities Grant Team provides an overview of the grants they offer, what types of projects are eligible, the application process, as well as other resources available for our nation’s 250th anniversary.

    What are the humanities?

    “The humanities are fields of learning that help us understand and appreciate human history, culture, values, and beliefs.”

    Initiatives that CT Humanities fund must fit into the definition of humanities. A initiative that is just focused on art without an opportunity for reflection, dialogue, or some sort of engagement would not qualify. A good example of a Main Street project that CT Humanities has funded is the Wethersfield Heritage Walk Expansion.

    View the Recording

    Other Resources

    About CT Humanities

    Founded in 1974, Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is an independent, non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. CTH connects people to the humanities through grants, partnerships, and collaborative programs. CTH projects, administration, and program development are supported by state and federal matching funds, community foundations, and gifts from private sources.

    Contact Info

    The first step to applying to CT Humanities for the first time is to email the grants team at to discuss your project. This is a required step.

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    CMSC Webinar – Constructing Downtown: Storrs Center 20 Year Update

    CMSC Webinar

    Constructing Downtown: Storrs Center 20 Year Update

    Webinar Summary

    Twenty-four years ago, the Town of Mansfield and UCONN had a vision to create a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use downtown. Today, Storrs Center is home to 60 businesses, 1300 residents, and boasts civic space and multi-use buildings. So what’s next?

    In this webinar, Cynthia van Zelm, Mansfield Downtown Partnership Executive Director, shares share her firsthand experiences and lessons learned in downtown management.

    Presentation Highlights

    • The Three Stages of Development

      Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. has been involved in the construction of Storrs Center from the very beginning. Its role has changed to meet the needs of the project: planning, construction, and management


      • 1999 – Mansfield Town Council forms “Town Green Committee”
      • 2001 – Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. to oversee redevelopment efforts
      • 2003 – Partnership selects master developer
      • 2003-2006 – Partnership guides Town, UConn, and master developer through approval process
      • 2007 – Design guidelines approved


      • 2011 – Construction Begins
      • 2012 – First building of Phase 1A Storrs Center opens
      • 2017 – Construction of “Storrs Center” complete


      • 2018 – DOWNTOWN STORRS introduced for whole district
      • 2018- Today – Key management activities include: providing business support, operations (e.g. enhancing public spaces, etc.) , working with property owners, promotion and marketing of the district, and hosting community events
    • Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Inc. Organization & Budget

      The Board of Directors is made up of:

      • 3 Town of Mansfield positions (appointed)
      • 3 UConn positions (appointed)
      • 2 Student representatives (selected)
      • 6 Elected positions (voted on by “membership” base)
      • 2 ex officio positions:
        • Mansfield Mayor
        • UConn President or designee

      Staff includes:

      • Executive Director
      • Senior Communications Manager
      • Event Coordinator
      • Administrative Assistant (part-time)


      Their annual budget is $405,000.

      • Town of Mansfield – $175,000
      • UConn Contribution – $175,000
      • Economic Development Service Fee – $40,000
      • “Membership” Dues – $15,000
    • Lessons Learned

      • Clear direction/everyone on same page as the mission
      • Dedicated and funded staff is key
      • Be ready to pivot
      • Bring on and mentor a staff team that meets evolving needs
      • Try not to take things personally

    View the Recording

    Additional Resources

    Professional Affiliates

    Several of the photos of Storrs Center were taken by CMSC Professional Affiliate Levin Aerial Works

    About Cynthia van Zelm

    Cynthia van Zelm, is Executive Director of Mansfield Downtown Partnership. She was involved in Downtown Storrs from its inception and now concentrates on managing and promoting the downtown and Mansfield’s economic development.

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    CMSC Webinar: 7 Steps to Successfully Hire a Main Street Executive

    CMSC Webinar

    7 Steps to Successfully Hire a Main Street Executive

    Webinar Summary

    Hiring a Main Street Executive – whether for the first time or as you bring on a new leader – is an exciting time. It’s a great opportunity for the organization to reposition itself and infuse it with new life. However, without strong leadership, hiring a new Main Street Executive can be delayed or worse, the wrong person might be hired.

    In this webinar, you’ll learn the steps to follow to ensure a successful search and learn about Connecticut Main Street Center’s new action kit Hiring a Main Street Executive.

    Presentation Highlights

    • The 7 Steps of hiring an Executive Director

      An organization transitioning to new leadership has an opportunity to deepen relationships with the community and strengthen the organization’s internal workings. Hiring a new Main Street Executive allows an organization to reposition itself and infuse it with new life. However, without strong Board leadership, the organization may flounder, leading to time delays in hiring the new Main Street Executive or worse, choosing the wrong person for the job.

      CMSC has broken down the process of hiring a Main Street Executive into seven steps:

      1. Assemble a Search Committee
      2. Send an Exit Survey
      3. Understand the Role
      4. Write the Job Description
      5. Advertise the Position
      6. Interviewing
      7. Orientation and Onboarding
    • About the Action Kit

      To assist in achieving the best outcome, Connecticut Main Street Center developed an action kit to support organizations in hiring a new leader. This action kit includes a workbook and editable templates and checklists. It will guide you step-by-step through the hiring process and provide you with estimated timeframes you can use throughout the entire process.

      Included in the Hiring Your Main Street Executive Action Kit:

      • Step-by-Step guide available as an online course or PDF
      • Action Kit Overview Checklist
      • Outgoing Executive Director Exit Survey Template
      • Community Survey Template
      • Community Focus Group Presentation Template
      • Job Description Template
      • Connecticut Job Marketing Resources
      • First Round Interview Scorecard Template
      • Second Round Interview Scorecard Template
      • Reference Check Template
      • Onboarding Checklist
      • “A Day in the Life of a Main Street Executive” Video

    View the Recording

    About Kristen Lopez

    Kristen M. Lopez is Connecticut Main Street Center’s Education & Training Director. With over 11 years of experience in economic development from various roles and industries across the United States, she has always worked with adults to achieve their goals through education. Kristen is an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer alum, a StartingBloc Fellow, and Next City Vanguard Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Messiah University.

    Get the Action Kit!

    To get your Hiring Your Main Street Executive Action Kit, email: Judith@ctmainstreet.or

    • $17 for CMSC Members
    • $47 for non-members

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    CMSC Webinar: Main Street Management 101

    CMSC Webinar

    Main Street Management 101

    Webinar Summary

    Creating and maintaining a vibrant Main Street is a commitment. It does not happen overnight and requires consistent attention and management. There are many moving parts – stakeholders with different agendas, external market and economic factors out of your control, and limited resources. The good news is there is model that has been replicated across the country for decades to help guide your initiatives and priorities.

    This webinar gives you a high-level overview of the Main Street Management Four Point Approach and ideas on how you can start implementing the approach into your Main Street.

    Presentation Highlights

    • Origins of the Four Points of Main Street Management

      In the late 1970s the National Trust for Historic Preservation developed a pilot program designed to address the neglect and demolition of historic downtowns. They discovered that downtowns had lost their value in these four distinct areas: economic value, physical value, social value, and civic value. This loss of value was attributed to land use policy, the rise of autos, and suburban sprawl.

      This Main Street Approach was developed to address the restoration of these values simultaneously by providing a framework to guide revitalization efforts.

      Every community and commercial district are different, with its own distinctive assets and sense of place, but the Main Street Approach provides a practical, adaptable framework for downtown transformation that is tailored to local conditions.

      The four points of Main Street management are:

      • Organization
      • Economic Vitality
      • Design
      • Promotion
    • Organization

      Goal – Restore civic value through:

      • Building leadership and strong organizational capacity
      • Ensuring broad community engagement
      • Forging partnerships across sectors

      Aspects of Organization

      • Community Stakeholder Support:
        • Are community stakeholders in consensus on the vision for the downtown?
        • Is the municipality actively supporting Main Street through resource allocation?
        • Resource: Spotlight on Main in Torrington
      • Public Safety
        • Is public safety involved as a revitalization partner?
      • Board of Directors or Advisory Board
        • Is there an active, diverse Board of Directors?
      • Strategic Planning and Work Plan
        • Is a work plan regularly updated to align with a current strategic plan for Main Street?
      • Funding
        • Are there multiple revenue streams to support Main Street revitalization?
      • Financial Management
        • Are financial management best practices followed?
      • Administration
        • Is there full-time, paid dedicated staff person to Main Street?
      • Volunteers
        • Is there a volunteer management strategy in place?
      • Demonstrating Impact
        • Are accomplishments regularly communicated to stakeholders?
      • Messaging and Outreach
        • Are multiple communication channels consistently used to update stakeholders and promote activity?
    • Economic Vitality

      Goal – Restore economic value through:

      • Build a diverse economic base
      • Catalyze smart new investment
      • Cultivate a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem

      Aspects of Economic Vitality

      • District Knowledge & Data
        • Have you documented your Main Street assets?
      • Historic Preservation
        • Is there a historic preservation ethos?
      • Housing
        • Does your zoning support the development of housing downtown?
      • Vacant Storefronts and Lots
      • Property Owner Engagement
        • Are your property owners regularly engaged?
      • Attracting Development
        • Do you have a “one-stop-shop” approach for developers and other Main Street investors?
      • Small Business Support & Ecosystem
        • How are your small businesses supported?
      • Recruiting Business
        • Do you have a strategic plan to recruit businesses based on needs and wants of the community?
    • Design

      Goal – Restore physical value through:

      • Creating an inviting, inclusive atmosphere
      • Celebrating historic and unique character
      • Fostering accessible, people-centered public spaces

      Aspects of Design

      • Building façades/Historic Preservation
        • What is the condition of your building façades?
      • Bike Lanes & Public Transit
        • How can people travel to and get around in your Main Street?
      • Sidewalks & Crosswalks
        • What is the condition and uses of your sidewalks?
      • Green Spaces
        • Are your green spaces appropriately maintained?
      • Parking
        • Are you promoting your parking options?
      • Public Art
        • Is public art used to activate Main Street?
      • Lighting
      • Graffiti & Litter Removal
        • How is Main Street kept clean?
      • Signage
        • Is your downtown signage easy to read and in good condition?
      • Window Displays
        • Do your downtown businesses have attractive window displays?
    • Promotion

      Goal – Restore social value through:

      • Marketing district’s defining assets
      • Communicating unique features through storytelling
      • Supporting buy-local experience

      Aspects of Promotion

      • Attitudes and Perceptions
      • Branding and Positioning
        • Do you have consistent, strategic branding that uniquely positions your community?
      • Retail Promotions
        • Do you host or facilitate activities that highlight goods and services offered by your downtown businesses?
      • Special Events
        • Do you host strategic special events to draw in large crowds and visitors?

    View the Recording

    Other Resources

    About Presenter Kristen Lopez

    Kristen M. Lopez is Connecticut Main Street Center’s Education & Training Director. With over 11 years of experience in economic development from various roles and industries across the United States, she has always worked with adults to achieve their goals through education. Kristen is an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer alum, a StartingBloc Fellow, and Next City Vanguard Fellow. She holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Messiah University.

    Contact Info

    Connect with Kristen via email or phone.

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    CMSC Case Study: The Beatrice, NE, Approach to Defeating Negativity

    CMSC Case Study

    The Beatrice, NE Approach to Defeating Negativity

    Webinar Summary

    The community of Beatrice, Nebraska was struggling with negative perceptions and apathy after years of economic setbacks. Community leaders needed to take action to push back against the perception of negativity and defeatism.

    In 2015, they came together and developed a plan to help facilitate change. By 2018, Beatrice was named the #1 micropolitan community in Nebraska—#14 nationally—for large scale (mostly manufacturing) economic development projects by Site Selection Magazine. Now, post-COVID Beatrice is working to gain back the momentum they had been building.

    In this webinar, Michael Sothan, the Executive Director of Main Street Beatrice, shares the journey of changing the perception of Beatrice and six lessons learned along the way.

    Presentation Highlights

    • The Problem

      Beatrice struggled for decades with the loss of jobs and businesses, a stagnating population, and a dilapidated downtown.

      Around 2013, an opinion piece in the local newspaper called out the town’s apathy as the root of the town’s decline around the same time a building downtown collapsed in on itself. The coincidence of these events became a defining moment for leaders of Beatrice to come together and actively fight against negativity and apathy.

    • The Solution

      Main Street, City government, the Chamber of Commerce, economic development, and public schools came together to create a plan to aggressively take on the negativity.

      The plan included a rebranding, façade improvement, and other projects. As a result:

      • Downtown Beatrice is home to over 180 businesses, a net gain of 31 shops since 2016. 
      • In the last 5 years, they have had more than 100 improvement projects totaling $12.5 million in investments.
    • Lessons Learned

      The first six lessons were included in the original case study article posted on Main Street America, lessons 7-10 CMSC added from observation. 

      1. Find the Forest through the Trees – Don’t get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of your work but keep focused on the big picture.
      2. Work Together (and think holistically) – The Public Schools were engaged to join the traditional economic development stakeholders. They had the deepest connections to Beatrice’s youth and the school system is a leading factor when people are considering making Beatrice their permanent home. The schools were experiencing the apathy firsthand, among students, staff, and in the community; they had also had a series of failed bond issues for a new elementary facility. They got involved to help role out the brand imagery, they incorporated it into their own uses school system-wide and helped Beatrice disseminate the message to and through the kids so it could get back home.
      3. Make a Plan
      4. Start Taking Action – No matter how small, action builds momentum. Something as simple as paint can make a big difference.
      5. Know that Set-Backs & Burnout Will Happen
      6. Be Honest & Positive – As economic development professionals, it’s easier to see potential and positivity because it is your job. However, most people do not see that. Being overtly positive and not recognizing the negativity will not be accepted by the community as authentic or trustworthy. Remember, perception is reality.
      7. Be Aggressive – Michael Sothan in his webinar presentation used words like “fight” and “go to war” to describe the level of commitment and effort to turn Beatrice around. It’s not a passive undertaking to tackle a declining town.
      8. Focus on People – Beatrice took the approach that only we can save our town. They knew they couldn’t wait for some investment, some grant, some outsider to save their city. Beatrice leaders realized it’s the people who own the businesses and buildings that will change the city.
      9. Always Tell Your Story – You can never get tired of telling your story because there is always someone who hasn’t caught the vision or seen the progress. Michael tells the story of speaking to a group of retired teachers who were so fixated on what used to be downtown that they didn’t even notice the new businesses and progress that had been made.
      10. Leverage Your Assets – For Beatrice’s rebranding effort, they chose a brand around “Stake Your Claim” which pays homage for being nationally recognized as the first homestead. Beatrice is currently rebranding after 10 years and pulling on the pronunciation of their town (Bee-at-trice) with a “Be @…” campaign.

    View the Recording

    Other Resources

    About Michael Sothan

    Michael Sothan is the Executive Director of Main Street Beatrice in Beatrice Nebraska (pop 12,300).  He has been with Main Street Beatrice since 2013 and has been a part of Downtown Beatrice’s efforts to become listed on the National Register of Historic Places, undertake façade improvement programs, and regularly guides downtown improvements, events, and economic development efforts.

    Michael is a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He resides in Steele City, NE (population 60) where he and his wife Megan have purchased an 1890’s grocery store with plans for its rehabilitation.  Michael enjoys living history interpretation and the outdoors when not working on community development efforts.

    Contact Info

    Main Street Beatrice

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    CMSC Webinar: All About the CT Communities Challenge Grant

    CMSC Webinar

    All About the CT Communities Challenge Grant

    Webinar Summary

    DECD’s competitive CT Communities Challenge Grant Program funds multiple projects in an effort to improve communities’ livability, vibrancy, convenience, and equity, while creating new jobs in the process. DECD’s goal is to allocate up to 50% of the funds to eligible and competitive projects in distressed municipalities and create approximately 3,000 new jobs.

    In this webinar, we cover the ins -and-outs of the CT Communities Challenge Grant including:

    • Eligible uses for the funds
    • Tips for crafting a strong application
    • Application timeline & important milestone dates
    • Previous Community Challenge recipients

    This is Round 3 (the final round) of CT Communities Challenge. DECD has approximately $20 million to award in this round with a deadline of May 3, 2023 at 3:00pm.

    Presentation Highlights

    Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) can provide its members with the following assistance:

    • Pre-Application

      Recipients of these awards have projects that are “shovel ready”, so the community engagement component should be well on its way prior to application. CMSC can help with engagement strategies and tactics to make sure your downtown stakeholders have informed your application – and that the community is a true partner in the development of the project and the application.

    • Public Space Strategies

      CT Communities Challenge focuses on mixed-use, mixed-income development and the State of CT is particularly committed to investing in residential development. CMSC can help a community think through how the vertical development projects are complemented by vibrant, lively, and equitable public spaces. This is a great opportunity to bring CMSC field services staff in to help think through public space strategies.

    View the Recording

    About the Speakers

    • Allison Pincus

      Senior Economic Development Advisor, DECD

    • Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker

      Community Development Specialist, DECD



    Email questions to

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    CMSC Webinar: Implementing Successful Parklet Programming

    CMSC Webinar

    Implementing Successful Parklet Programming

    Webinar Summary

    During COVID, we saw a surge of temporary interventions to support outdoor dining and shopping by way of parklets and other outdoor space programming. How can we carry forward this momentum and develop sustainable parklet programs that better support local businesses, foster community, and improve the pedestrian experience?

    In this webinar you will:

    • Understand what parklets are and the different types of parklets or outdoor shared spaces and their benefits
    • Learn the ordinances, zoning & other policy considerations to implement a successful program
    • Hear from communities who have implemented successful parklet programs about how they did it

    Presentation Highlights

    • Stamford Case Study


      • Stamford had a small PARKlets program in 2016, 2017, and 2018 for sidewalk only dining.
      • The StrEATeries Program was a collaboration between the City and the Downtown Special Services District with the goal to keep restaurants open and let people dine safely during COVID-19 restrictions. The program transformed 140+ parking spaces into outdoor dining using caution tape, water barriers, and other materials that was already on hand. The program was well-received.
      • In the fall of 2021, the City contracted with FHI Studio to developed regulations and a design guide to address: ADA compliance, roadway safety, noise concerns, design and material standards, streamline planning and permitting processes, and to reduce the regulatory burden on restaurants.

      Present Day

      • As of March 16, 2023, the city passed an ordinance to make the outdoor dining permanent. The design guide and permitting process is being finalized.

      Future Plans

      • Building on success by moving from temporary to permanent.
        • On Lower Summer Street, the city is eliminating street parking and widening the sidewalk to allow for more outdoor dining. This project is set to break ground in spring 2023.
        • Parking area on Bedford Street is in talks to close off and become a permanent public plaza that would also create 80 seats of outdoor dining.
      • Transformation of public space from car oriented to people oriented.
    • Stamford Parklets – Key Topics


      • The mindset of having parking right in front of the restaurant as the most important asset is slowly changing because restaurants are realizing that one or two parking spots could equal up to 20 extra seats. Stamford also has other parking lot options for customers.
      • The City of Stamford calculated a $500k-$750k loss in parking revenue due to outdoor dining. It was a policy decision to focus on keeping downtown restaurants open and to attract visitors to downtown. There are fees for outdoor dining permits and there is a possibility of higher tax revenue and other economic benefits from expanded dining.


      • The purchase of materials for the StrEATeries Program in response to COVID was self-funded by the City of Stamford.
      • The design guide was funded through a CDC grant funneled through the Capitol Region COG.
      • The Lower Summer Street sidewalk expansion project is funded through the CT Department of Transportation Community Connectivity Program as well as City capital funds.
      • The Bedford Street public plaza is funded through the Communities Challenge Grant through CT Department of Economic and Community Development as well as City capital funds.


      • Launching the StrEATeries program was an “all hands on deck” initiative including the Operations Department, Health Department, and Public Safety. The Transportation, Traffic, and Parking team (under Operations Department) lead the project.
    • Parklet Design Guide Considerations – FHI Studio

      Creating a design guide is essential for standardizing outdoor dining and ensuring the safety of pedestrians and diners. We highly encourage you to watch the webinar starting at marker 12:00 for a more in-depth overview of the design considerations FHI Studio put together for their design guide for Stamford.

      Design Guide Best Practices

      • Consider the target audience of the design guide and make it easy for them to understand (e.g. restaurant owners, property owners, etc.)
      • Provide good technical information with easy-to-understand graphics
      • Provide easy to follow construction/materials guide
      • Straight forward public-friendly permitting process
      • Guidance should be flexible including a custom design opinion and a standard design option
      • Keep it short and simple

      Design Guide Contents

      The design guide should include:

      • Site selection requirements
        • Prohibited locations include crosswalks, bus stops, bus lanes, bike lanes and bike facilities, commercial vehicle loading zones, fire lanes, and handicap parking spaces
      • Parklet layouts and design requirements
        • Design requirements for all types of parklet typologies: Parking lot, street closure, on-street parking (angled and parallel), sidewalk – curb side, and sidewalk – building side
      • Permitting process including applicable fees and requirements
      • Operations and maintenance
    • Parklet Programming Examples

      Examples of parklet programming from other cities:

    View the Recording

    About the Speakers

    • Luke Buttenwieser

      Luke Buttenwieser has been with Stamford’s Transportation, Traffic, and Parking Department for four years. In his role, Luke works on a variety of projects ranging from addressing citizen service requests; zoning, building, and construction permit review and management; grant writing; roadway and neighborhood transportation planning studies; oversight of roadway design and construction projects; and pavement markings and signage design and installation. Luke spearheads the City’s Outdoor dining program, and is the project manager for the City’s Vision Zero Initiative. Luke focuses his work on improving safety for all roadway users with an emphasis on pedestrian and bicyclist safety and mobility.  He is also a full time student at New York University on a dual Bachelors/Masters track from the Tandon School of Engineering where he is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Urban Environments and a Masters in Urban Planning from the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

    • Parker Sorenson, PE

      Parker Sorenson, PE, is a transportation engineer with FHI Studio, a Hartford-based planning and engineering firm. During his 8-year tenue with FHI Studio, Parker has been a leader in projects related to transportation planning, traffic engineering, and community engagement. He has particular interest in bicycle and pedestrian planning and conceptual design and has led projects with such focus at the local, regional, and statewide levels for communities across the northeast. Currently, Parker is a key member on several projects such as trails routing studies, traffic calming design projects, road safety audits, complete street guidelines, corridor studies, safety analysis studies and transportation master plans. In all his projects Parker strives to combine big-picture thinking with big-data technical analysis and graphical representation so that clients and the public may make informed decisions as to the future of their communities.


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    CMSC Webinar: Building Your Volunteer Program

    CMSC Webinar

    Building Your Volunteer Program:
    Feeding the HUMAN Machine & Building the HUMAN Capacity

    Webinar Summary

    In order to drive a community forward, each organization must foster, maintain, and perfect the available human capacity within each community. In this webinar, we dive into strategies for creating a comprehensive volunteer matrix, how to maximize efforts for volunteers, and how appropriate positive (or sometimes negative) feedback should be delivered. Topics include how to create a comprehensive volunteer list, how to partner volunteers together, and where and how to utilize critical volunteers. This webinar is also applicable to those who have volunteer boards and commissions.

    Presentation Highlights

    • The Human Machine

      • A community functions like a watch – all the cogs need to work together in the right sequence. The downtown is run by people.
      • People need the ability to help, as well as the drive and desire to do it. This human capacity is the driving force behind any volunteer organization, whether it’s a Masonic Lodge, city council or downtown organization.
      • It also helps set the expectations for volunteers, what they can give, and what they can expect to get back from their service. Everyone needs to know their role, which will also help you leverage their talents and skills and avoid burnout.
    • 6 Types of Human Capacity

      • As a Main Street manager, it’s not your job to do every project. It’s your job to empower people to help you implement the projects. You’re here to guide and provide resources, not do every job that comes up. The process isn’t linear, its cyclical and ongoing and has 6 components:
        1. Community Assessment
        2. Identifying Abilities
        3. Planning Roles
        4. Building a strong “house”
        5. Empowerment through partnership
        6. Implementing projects
    • Working with your Community as a Machine

      • Outlining a 2-way relationship is critical. What is the volunteer getting out of it?
      • When you do the Community Assessment, it’s like an audit where you can identify skills gaps. This is a great task for someone joining your Organization board or committee. It helps them understand how you work, while offering a fresh pair of eyes on the data.
      • When identifying abilities, you may need to have tough discussions with people because you may not need the skills they’re offering. Also look at when your volunteers are available. Do they have kids in school and so are not available at night? Do they work during the day and are only available on the weekend?
      • Many people want to do something different than their day job. You need to help them figure out their role, as well as who to hand off things to. You’re aiming to have seamless transitions between them.
      • Build a matrix of skills, availability, etc. Then you can pair people up, creating little “families” of volunteers.

      Working With Your Community As A Machine

      • Main Street needs to empower through leadership, not by doing everything on their own. Build capacity through responsibility and let people know where they fit into the overall process.
      • When you implement the project, this is the time to give positive and constructive criticism. It’s also a time to re-evaluate your volunteer to see if anything’s changed.
    • Strategies for Improving the Machine

      • Create a social network map – Take your 20 core volunteers and map all the different groups in your community – everything from the PTA to the local bank.
      • What demographics are represented? Which are missing? What do they love to do and what are they good at? What’s motivating them to volunteer and to be part of the community? Remember, sometimes what people are good at is not what they’re looking to do when they’re volunteering.
      • Do an assessment to determine your volunteers’ strengths and weaknesses. Are they introverts or extroverts?
        • Can categorize people by Seer, Feeler, Thinker & Doers
          • Seer – learn or share by showing
          • Feelers – Likes to do something over and over
          • Thinkers – Likes data and putting things on paper
          • Doers – Do whatever needs to be done
        • Create a comprehensive volunteer list. Can be as short as 10 questions asking:
          • What they prefer
          • When they’re available (day, evening)
          • How they would like to volunteer
          • Where they’re comfortable
          • Can then sort the list and use it to ask for targeted help.
        • 2 Way benefit – to the volunteer and to the Main Street organization
          • Benefits to the Volunteer
            • Personal connections
            • Strengthened and vibrant downtown
            • Sense of accomplishment and belonging
            • Vested in the overall community’s health
          • Benefits to the Main Street program
            • Improved amounts of volunteers and participants
            • Vested residents or business owners
            • Increased networking and economic draw
          • These relationships don’t just start on day 1, they need to be cultivated. The Main Street director or manager usually needs to be the first to take the initial step.
          • You need to give continuous and personalized feedback and praise.
          • Conduct anonymous assessments to get feedback from the public.

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    About Ben Levenger, AICP

    Ben Levenger is an AICP planner, registered landscape architect, and Certified Economic Developer. He is the president of Downtown Redevelopment Services, LLC, a planning firm specializing in assisting communities through comprehensive downtown planning. He has worked in over 30 states and consults for federal agencies on economic development best practices.


    Ben Levenger, AICP


    Cell: 330-212-2260 

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