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Our mission is to be the catalyst that ignites Connecticut's Main Streets as the cornerstone of thriving communities.
Happy Holidays! 
As we reflect on the year that's past and the promise of the year ahead, we want to take a moment to wish everyone a joyous holiday season. Working with communities across the state, we never fail to be inspired by our members, invigorated by our Professional Affiliates and humbled by our generous sponsors. We take tremendous pride in working with you to enable inviting and festive Main Streets all across Connecticut. May your holidays be like our downtowns - merry and bright!
Eversource Named Most JUST Company
Eversource is being nationally recognized as one of America's most JUST Companies for 2020, ranking number one among utilities and 26th overall in the annual Top-100 list from Forbes and JUST Capital.
To make the list, JUST Capital Rankings evaluates the largest 1,000 publicly traded U.S. companies on a range of factors determined through a comprehensive survey process on public attitudes toward corporate behavior. The JUST 100 corporations are considered leaders in corporate citizenship and are celebrated for their positive impact and leadership on priorities such as fair pay, ethical leadership, good benefits and work-life balance, equal opportunity, customer treatment and privacy, community support, environmental impact, and delivering shareholder return.
As you know, Eversource is CMSC's founding sponsor, having originated the program in the mid-1990's, and continues to support CMSC by providing office space and financial support, so we know firsthand what a terrific company they are. 
We hope you'll join us in congratulating them for this distinguished recognition of their commitment to our communities, their customers and employees .
Laura Brown Wins UCONN Provost's Award
Please join us in congratulating Laura Brown, UCONN Department of Extension, who was recently named a recipient of the 2019  Provost's Awards for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship. In addition to being one of CMSC's Professional Affiliates, CMSC also partnered with Laura on the popular First Impressions program, where several Main Street members were able to participate in a "secret-shopper" type evaluation of other downtowns.

The Provost's Awards for  Community Engaged Scholarship recognize the involvement of members of the university community in the academically relevant work of discovery, creativity, integration, teaching, application, and engagement in a context of collaboration and reciprocity with the community (local, regional/state, national, or global) to create conditions for the public good, culminating in sustainable change and dissemination of these activities.  Learn more about this distinguished award.
Op-Ed Highlights Need for Modern Take on Preservation
Sara Bronin, chair of the Board of the CT Trust for Historic Preservation, recently penned an op-ed for The Hill urging preservationists to more closely align themselves with environmental efforts, allowing for green accommodations to historic buildings when feasible. She writes, "
Historic places will exist only if we have a planet left."
Ms. Bronin notes that h istoric preservation is an exercise in sustainability, as older buildings are often energy-efficient, made with renewable materials (such as wood or brick), are longer-lasting, and avoid the environmental costs of replacing existing buildings with new construction. Yet our historic buildings face constant threats from climate change to needless demolition. Ms. Bronin argues preservationists must recognize that not everything can be preserved while simultaneously building consensus with environmentalists for changes to law and policy that protect historic places in service of environmental goals.
Read the full article on the CT Trust's website.  
Fairfield Theater Company Achieves Lofty Goal
The Fairfield Theater Company is unveiling a new space on their campus. The Loft, set above and behind the FTC structures on Sanford Street, has been described as a "hidden gem".  It was built in 1900 and housed a machine shop, recreation center, and small library before sitting unused for decades. Now The Loft's rejuvenated 3,000 square feet will provide much needed space for administrative offices, two new greenrooms and four dressing rooms dedicated to each venue.
Director of Development Joe Rog hopes the FTC - recognized by CMSC with a 2016 CT Main Street Business of the Year award - will be seen as a hub for the arts in Fairfield County, attracting more artists and a bigger crowd. Read the full article. 

Re-Mains of the Day
Hurry! Registration ends soon for Mainvest webinar- Mainvest, a CMSC Professional Affiliate and sponsor of our recent Retail Summit, works with Main Street businesses that
have historically had the hardest time accessing capital and empowers them to raise funds directly from their supporters, peers, and customers. In this webinar, they'll discuss how they partner with economic development centers, incubators, and other small business groups, and how they help small businesses at all stages. Topics to be covered include: the types of businesses that are a good fit for Mainvest, Mainvest as part of the capital stack, Diversity within community investment and the Revenue Sharing Note. They'll also provide success stories from businesses they've helped. 
Register now for the webinar, Wednesday, December 18 from 10:00-11:00 AM. 
New blog offers tips on attracting top tier chefs 
Streetsense has published a new blog with lots of practical advice for attracting chefs that will help ensure a restaurant's success. This article is a great follow-up to our Retail Summit, where our panelists and speakers, including Streetsense's Larisa Ortiz, talked about what communities can do to create environments that support a healthy mix of retail, including restaurants. Read the blog

▪ Small Business grants available - American Express is teaming up with Main Street America to give 10 small business owners $10,000 each to help their businesses thrive.  The American Express Future of Shopping Small Grant Program is intended to support small businesses that are looking to implement new technology and strategies, ultimately helping them navigate the current challenges facing the retail and servicing industries and strengthen older and historic commercial districts.

Grant applicants will be asked to demonstrate their commitment to supporting their local community and should be interested in implementing principles described in American Express's Future of Shopping Small Guide. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2020 or whenever the first 3,000 applications have been submitted, whichever is sooner. Learn more about the program or
apply here

▪  NMSC Conference Registration Open -   Join fellow commercial district revitalization leaders from across the country in Dallas, Texas from May 18-20 for three days of education sessions, special events, field sessions, and opportunities to explore Dallas and surrounding Main Street communities. Whether you come from an urban business district, small rural downtown, or somewhere in between, you'll find solutions to common problems and discover new techniques to help your community thrive. Get early bird rates now through February 3rd. See the Schedule at a Glance or Register Now.

▪ Nominate Your Arts Hero -  The Connecticut Arts Hero Awards honor and celebrate Connecticut residents who are doing extraordinary things in the arts, for the arts, and through the arts in Connecticut, some publicly and some behind the scenes. If you know a special someone who has contributed significantly to the arts in Connecticut, please take a moment to nominate this individual. The deadline to submit a nomination is February 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. The Arts Hero Awards will be presented at an open-to-all, free evening event on Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at Infinity Hall in Hartford. 

 ▪ National Parks Service program helps local conservation efforts -  The National Parks Service - Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program (RTCA) supports
community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the nation. This partnership assists local communities in revitalizing their conservation and outdoor recreation vision and goals by providing a broad range of services and skills. For small technical assistance questions in the greater Hartford area, contact Stephan Bastrzycki, NPS, RTCA at or 860-309-1135. For larger-scale projects, communities must complete the formal application process with a deadline of June 30th

CMSC's fall event in Naugatuck inspires Christmas gingerbread house.
You may recall our fall Spotlight on Main Street event - generously sponsored by Liberty Bank - took place in Downtown Naugatuck and featured two different tours of the downtown. CMSC Administrative Assistant Judith Stahl was pleased to learn a historic house belonging to her great-grandfather was part of the tour route. Serving as both home and doctor's office for his physician
practice, Judith was inspired to recreate the house out of gingerbread this year. 

As you can see from the incredible detail, Judith is a gingerbread artisan who has honed her skills over many years of tasty construction!

Spotlight on  2019 Award of Excellence Winner. . .
Norfolk Foundation, Inc. 
Revitalization of Norfolk's Town Center through Acquisition & Redevelopment and creation of a Collaborative, Co-working Office and Community Hub

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Mary Mead

Formed by a group of concerned citizens and guided by its active Board of Directors, the Norfolk Foundation's mission is dedicated to contributing to the vitality and sustainability of the Town of Norfolk, particularly in relationship to the Town's natural setting and multiple artistic and cultural attractions.
Partnering with Norfolk's Economic Development and Planning & Zoning Commissions and the Board of Selectmen, the Norfolk Foundation acquired two vacant, unattractive buildings in the heart of the town center and redevelopment of one of those buildings into the Norfolk Hub. This beautifully renovated space is a professionally supported, highly flexible central co-working space. The Foundation's partnership with the EDC also led to them successfully finding an anchor tenant for the second vacant building that the Foundation acquired. The successful Berkshire Country Store offers the community what it was looking for: a place to grab a coffee, sandwich and the New York Times, and meet some neighbors and friends.

Connecticut Main Street Center


The Sponsors of our  
Main Street Forums for the 21st Century

And our Partner Organizations:

CT Chapter, American Planning Association
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County
CT Economic Development  Association
Institute for Sustainable Energy
CT Economic Resource Center
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
CT Housing Finance Authority
Main Street America
CT Preservation Action
Partnership for Strong Communities
CT Urban Legal Initiative
Pro Bono Partnership