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We’re vocal champions of policies & regulations that support thriving downtowns and prosperous local economies.

We understand the economic, social and historic value of our downtowns and we strive continuously to help legislators, state agencies, municipal officials and others understand how critical they are to our shared success. To this end, we engage with state & local leaders, private sector partners, and downtown professionals to bring awareness of the needs and benefits of Connecticut’s commercial corridors and historic Main Streets.

2023 Legislative Session

CMSC regularly advocates on behalf of its members for policies and regulations that benefit our downtowns.

Connecticut’s downtowns and Main Streets are fortunate for the support of the Main Street Working Group, led by Representative Jennifer Leeper (Fairfield and Southport) and Representative Anthony Nolan (New London).  The Main Street Working Group hosts a Lunch and Learn series throughout the session to share information about Main Street and issues that affect the vibrancy of our downtowns to their legislative colleagues.

  • April’s Lunch & Learn introduced CMSC and our work to legislators. 
  • In March, CMSC participated in the Lunch & Learn on Arts, Culture & Tourism, including proposed HB 6692, which will increase funding for this critical sector.

CMSC offered written testimony in support of the following legislation:

  • Knowing how the arts add vibrancy to our downtowns, CMSC submitted  written testimony for HB 6692An Act Authorizing Certain Arts, Culture and Tourism Grants
  • CMSC is part of the coalition supporting the Work Live Ride initiative and provided written testimony in support of  HB 6890, An Act Concerning Qualifying Transit-Oriented Communities.
  • CMSC also offered written testimony for HB 6892An Act Concerning Municipal Blight Ordinances, which will remove the municipal population threshold for the Receivership Act, allowing smaller towns under 35,000 in population to utilize this tool to address blighted properties. 


We asked our members to help develop our legislative priorities by taking our 2023 Advocacy Survey. They responded, letting us know what’s important to them.

Four issues were identified as critically important:

  • Direct support for main street businesses
  • Increased tax incentives & regulatory changes for downtown development
  • Support for downtown food retailers
  • Support for increased transit options

CMSC members also prioritized three additional areas as important:

  • Support for mixed-income residential on main street
  • Support for green infrastructure
  • Coordinated marketing & promotion for Main Streets


CMSC regularly engages with state and local leaders to bring awareness to the needs and benefits of Connecticut’s commercial corridors and historic Main Streets, in addition to communicating the critical work our members do on the ground.

To this end, we actively participate in the legislative Main Street Working Group chaired by Representatives Jennifer Leeper and Anthony Nolan. The Working Group was created in 2020 to study existing policies and identify opportunities to support local Downtown Main Streets across the state. CMSC provides information on issues facing downtowns and connects the Working Group with downtown professionals and industry experts who can speak to issues such as managing a downtown and transit oriented development.

Watch our webinar with founding chairs of the Main Street Working Group, Representatives Quentin Williams, Jane Garibay, and Jennifer Leeper, to learn tips for contacting legislators.

Champion Policies & Regulations

CMSC believes there are six core components vital to a healthy downtown: Place, Economic Vitality, Stewardship, Inclusiveness, Sustainability and Connectivity. Each year we monitor legislation that will impact our downtowns and Main Streets around these key issues and often provide oral or written testimony in support or opposition of a bill.

To date CMSC’s efforts, coupled with our many partners and allies, have led to several changes that give our downtowns new economic development tools, increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists and advance equity in zoning laws.

Engage Statewide Partners

CMSC often partners with other organizations to effectuate change on a larger scale. By approaching issues in a collaborative way, we’re able to make incremental, impactful change. We strive to build relationships, convene relevant parties, and work together with a broad spectrum of public and private entities, including:

  • CT Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD)
  • State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO)
  • CT Office of the Arts (COA)
  • Desegregate CT
  • Eversource Energy
  • Avangrid
  • CT Chapter of the American Planning Association (CCAPA)
  • CT Economic Development Association (CEDAS)

We also have strong working relationships with developers, planners, bankers, engineers, academics and many others with whom we partner on programs and specific projects. Many of these people and their respective organizations also share their knowledge with CMSC and our members through our network of Professional Affiliates.

© Connecticut Main Street Center 
P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337