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Tag: Placemaking

D.5.1 Placemaking & Wayfinding Signage

D.5.1 Placemaking & Wayfinding Signage

Action

Improve district and wayfinding signage.

Why

A successful downtown main street layout will include highly visible, easy-to-read, and decorative way-finding signage.  The goal is to have a positive experience for both the pedestrian and motorist who are navigating through the district.

How

There are numerous wayfinding and district signage plans available.  Once signage locations have been determined, it’s important to list all points of interest, municipal service locations, transit options, and other significant destinations.

CMSC Professional Affiliates

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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.


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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 grants@cthumanities.org to discuss your project. This is a required step.

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PIRIE Associates Architects LLC

PIRIE Associates Architects LLC

Architecture to embody your aspirations

We specialize in working with clients who are ready to take their business, organization, or community to the next level by purposefully engaging their built environment. Our work is not driven by project type or style, but by a clients’ willingness to see their environment as an active collaborator in their day to day life, organization or community. Within this focus, we have developed expertise with residential, commercial, institutional, historical and urban design work, and have particular depth in using broad, integrated strategies for business/organization development and community engagement. To work at this level, our tool kit often expands beyond that of a traditional architect as we use our skills in related fields and modes of investigation.

Services

Services include: Architectural, Interior Design, Landscape, Urban Planning & Branding Services

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Contact

Laura Pirie, Principal
33 Whitney Avenue – Suite 2a
New Haven, CT 06510
203.821.2087
laura@pirieassociates.com

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Ironwood Community Partners Inc.

Ironwood Community Partners Inc.

To preserve our cultural heritage for the enrichment of communities.

Established in 2014 by a small group of professionals dedicated to helping communities preserve cultural and historic heritage to create a rich and sustainable future.

Services

Services include: Placemaking, Downtown Revitalization, Mixed-use Development, Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings

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Contact

Dale Bertoldi
52 Duncaster Road
Bloomfield, CT 06002
Daleb52@comcast.net

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Crosskey Architects LLC

Crosskey Architects LLC

Through sensitive renovation, creative adaptive reuse, and conscious design of new buildings, we preserve our cultural heritage by giving new life to our forgotten history.

At Crosskey Architects, we distinguish ourselves by our client focused approach, characterized by listening to our clients, then developing thoughtful, imaginative, and inspired results to solve their project requirements. Our enthusiastic pursuit of creative solutions is aided by our profound knowledge and 39+ years of extensive experience.

We are preservationists.  We are creators of communities.

Services

Services include: Placemaking, Downtown Revitalization, Mixed-use Development, Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings

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Contact

William Crosskey
 President & CEO
750 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
860.724.3000
wc@crosskey.com

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BL Companies

BL Companies

At BL Companies, our mission is to provide creative solutions that enhance the built and natural environment through the leadership and dedication of our employee owners working in partnership with our clients.

At BL Companies, we understand that every client has different needs and that every project will involve different considerations and present different challenges. That is why we have assembled a diverse team of talented professionals, each bringing unique skills to the table. Our comprehensive capabilities enable us to custom tailor our service offerings to fit the requirements of each client we serve and each project we take on. This adaptability also gives us the agility necessary to stay relevant in a constantly-changing business environment.

Services

Services include: Placemaking, Mixed-use Development, Public Infrastructure and Landscape Architecture

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Contact

Heather Halotek
355 Research Parkway
Meriden, CT 06450
203.608.2436
Hhalotek@blcompanies.com

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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.

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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: 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

    History

    • 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

    Parking

    • 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.

    Funding

    • 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.

    Stakeholders

    • 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:


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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.

Contact

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CMSC Webinar: How to Start a Cultural District in Your Town

CMSC Webinar

How to Start a Cultural District in Your Town

Webinar Summary

Join Connecticut Main Street Center, in partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, and the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council, as we discuss how to start a cultural district with people who’ve already done it!

In this virtual roundtable, we discuss the value of establishing a cultural district, the basics of the program, as well as common challenges and how to overcome them.

Presentation Highlights


  • What’s a Cultural District?

    A Cultural District is a specific area of a city or town identified by the municipality that has a number of cultural facilities, activities and/or assets–both for profit and nonprofit. It is a walkable, compact area that is easy for visitors to recognize. It is a center of cultural activities –artistic and economic. It is a place in your city/town where community members congregate, and visitors may enjoy those places that make a community special. 

  • Discussion Overview

    • In this webinar, we interview three communities – Ridgefield, New London and Torrington – that started a Cultural District.
    • The discussion is led by the leaders of three of Connecticut’s Designated Regional Service Organizations (DRSO’s), who are available to help communities learn how to form their own cultural districts. 
    • Joined by Liz Shapiro, Director of the Office of the Arts, this discussion highlights the lived experience of these communities in going through the process, the things they’d do differently, and the ways the Cultural District has energized community collaboration.

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