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Our mission is to be the catalyst that ignites Connecticut's Main Streets as the cornerstone of thriving communities.
The Good News lssue
Like us, you're probably bombarded with bad news on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this can lead to the perception that there's nothing positive happening anywhere, and certainly not here in Connecticut, where being a perpetually cranky Yankee seems like a state habit. We're happy to tell you this simply isn't true, and in fact, there's tons of positive things happening all across the state - often in our downtowns and on our main streets. So, if you want to feel good for a change, read on for nothing but good news! 

Come Home to Downtown Buildings Continue to Progress
CMSC's Come Home to Downtown program brings vacant and underutilized small downtown properties back to life with housing above commercial space. Begun in 2012 in partnership with the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, CMSC has since convened expert teams of consultants to work with several property owners to provide redevelopment options to the owners. The program culminated in the opening of the first 16 Come Home to Downtown apartments in New Britain in August 2017. We're pleased to announce another two buildings are progressing toward redevelopment.
Reid & Hughes Renovation Coming to Fruition
CMSC worked with municipal officials and the Norwich Community Development Corporation to develop viable redevelopment options for this historic yet dilapidated structure in Year 3 of the program . The building is being transferred to the developer Women's Institute of Housing and Economic Development, who plans to convert the building into 20 housing units above first-floor retail. CMSC is working with and supporting the Women's Institute on their redevelopment plans. Stabilization of the building is underway, and the City is poised to transfer the property in the next few weeks, with financing from the CT Trust and LISC to close thereafter. Stabilization construction is expected to be complete at the end of August/ beginning of September.   Read more about the Reid & Hughes building's resurrection.

Hartford Apartments Moving Forward
The CMSC Come Home to Downtown Team of CMSC, Crosskey Architects and developer CIL, worked with building owner Constantinos Constantinou to provide redevelopment options for the building at 28 High Street in Hartford. The owner is seeking financing from the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), United Bank, State Historic Tax Credits and CMSC's Come Home to Downtown loan fund to redevelop the formerly vacant units into 28 residential units, 20% of which will be affordable, over commercial space. The new residents will be within walking distance of Union Station and the new Hartford Line train, Bushnell Park and downtown offices.
50 Towns Sign Up for SustainableCT
SustainableCT, is a voluntary certification program
to recognize thriving and resilient Connecticut municipalities. Under the program, municipalities implement items from a menu of coordinated, voluntary actions to continually become more sustainable, earning points toward certification. To date, 50 towns and cities across the state have signed up for the program, which was launched in November 2017.  See if your town is on the list (many CMSC members are!).
As proponents of healthy downtowns and main streets, CMSC strongly values sustainability, using our resources efficiently and preserving our natural and cultural assets. We were proud to serve on the Sustainable CT Advisory Committee and its Working Groups, providing input and feedback on the program's development
Non-Car Transit Proving Popular, Safe
Connecticut residents longing for transit options other than cars are demonstrating that demand with their feet, showing up in droves to take the new train and ride city bikes. In response, cities are working to protect bikers and walkers by making streets safer for everyone.
Hartford Line Opening a Success
Thousands came out for the inaugural weekend of Connecticut's new train, the Hartford Line. The first weekend saw a total of 21,850 riders over the course of its two-day opening weekend. CT DOT lined up ambassadors in red shirts to greet and assist riders at the various stations between New Haven and Springfield. Speaking of the train's popularity, Governor Malloy said, "This weekend showed that the potential is there. What we must remember is that this is not just about transit - it's about building vibrant communities and continuing to make Connecticut a more attractive place to live, visit, and do business."

Lime Bike Bringing More Bikes to Hartford
The arrival of Lime Bike in downtown Hartford is proving so popular that not only is the company adding more bikes, but the City is accelerating safety plans for bikers and walkers. Lime Bike is adding another 100 bicycles to the 300 already here, and the company reports 10,000 rides have already been logged in Hartford. Meanwhile, the City's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, Sandy Fry, says the city is prioritizing road safety for bikers and walkers, developing an implementation plan for short-, mid- and long-term changes to meet their needs.

New Haven Named One of the Safest Cities for Cycling; 5 Other CT Cities in the Top 100
New Haven was named one of the nation's ten safest cities for cyclists, according to a new analysis. In a ranking dominated by California communities, New Haven was the lone Connecticut city in the top ten, as well as the only Northeast city. Five other CT cities made the Top 100, all of which are CT Main Street member communities: Hartford (55), Norwalk (82), Bridgeport (85), New Britain (91) and Waterbury (92). Congratulations to all!

Meriden Event Matching Entrepreneurs with Downtown Space a Success
About fifty entrepreneurs and innovators showed up to Making Meriden's recent event highlighting opportunities in downtown Meriden. The casual, interview style featured local officials and social entrepreneurs in the urban planning industry, followed by a walking tour of nearby commercial spaces, a business match-up session, cocktails and networking.

16 Municipalities Receive Small Cities Grants to Combat Blight & Improve Neighborhoods
Governor Malloy and CT Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein recently announced $10.5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awards to 16 municipalities to provide infrastructure upgrades and improvements to help combat blight, improve neighborhoods, and increase economic development. Several of those receiving grants are CT Main Street member communities including Windham and Suffield.  The CDBG Small Cities grants are given to small towns that have a population below 50,000 residents.
Re-Mains of the Day
CMSC is thrilled to introduce our newest Board members, a group of highly accomplished individuals who will help guide our organization into the future. Please join us in welcoming them.

Aya Beckles Swanson, Vice President, Essex Savings Bank
- Aya has spent more than ten years working in the field of Economic & Community Development. She was born and raised in Barbados, but came to the United States to attend the University of Hartford's Hartt School of Music. She worked in the fields of music publishing, event planning, and financial aid until years later, when while working for the New Haven Jazz Festival and reaching out to area businesses to encourage their involvement in the festival, she recognized her interest in economic and business development. From there it was on to several municipal economic development roles, which give her the opportunity to do her favorite thing: work hands-on with small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Ryan Bingham,
Senior Government Affairs Manager/Lobbyist, Sullivan & LeShane - In 2005, Ryan made history as the youngest elected mayor in Connecticut when he was elected by the people of Torrington, going on to serve three highly successful terms. Following his tenure as Mayor, he worked in corporate and government relations at a leading Connecticut environmental management company. In his current role at S&L, Ryan focuses on lobbying state and municipal leaders on behalf of clients in the energy, environment and government administration sectors, as well as expanding opportunities for client growth within Connecticut's borders.
Glen Davis, Vice President Community Development, Liberty Bank - Motivated to help small businesses achieve their goals, Glen works with a variety of clients, as more than $40 million worth of transactions flows through his office, including investments in nonprofits, lending to homebuyers, neighborhood revitalization projects and small businesses. In addition to his VP duties, Glen is also the bank's Community Reinvestment Act officer, making sure loans and mortgages are made available to underserved communities. He is particularly proud of Liberty's Small Business Academy, launched in 2016, that educates fledgling entrepreneurs on the fundamentals of business. So far, about 100 entrepreneurs have graduated from the program. A native of Philadelphia, Glen's career in finance, banking and economic development spans 40 years, and includes time working in Louisville, Ky.; Shreveport, La.; and Houston, Texas.
Sean M. Fitzpatrick, Professor, Trinity College
- Sean is Professor of the Practice in Public Policy, teaching courses in the Public Policy graduate program and supporting the Office of the President in the College's neighborhood revitalization efforts. Prior to joining the Trinity faculty, Sean was Director of Development Services for the City of Hartford under Mayor Luke Bronin, where he oversaw the successful completion of Dunkin' Donuts Park. He previously served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and spent two decades in the insurance industry, helping to establish one of Metro Hartford's most successful insurance start-ups, Executive Risk, in the 1990s, and later holding senior executive positions with Chubb and The Hartford. He also spent several years as a Lecturer at the University of Connecticut School of Law.
Kenneth M. Livingston, AICP,
Vice President Projects and Client Services, Fitzgerald & Halliday, Inc.  - Ken's expertise is focused in the area of community master planning, bicycle and pedestrian planning, and public involvement. Ken specializes in incorporating innovative technological applications to the planning profession. At FHI, he directs business development and information technology and also serves as service line leader for the community planning practice. His professional experience includes a wide variety of projects such as: statewide and regional pedestrian and bicycle plans, safe routes to school efforts, intermodal transportation centers, transit studies, comprehensive land use and master plans, and large-scale corridor studies.

Laura Pirie, AIA, Principal, Pirie Associates Architects
- F or over 28 years Laura has designed and implemented thoughtful and integrated built environments. Her work across the country includes extensive, award-winning experience with museum, performing art, institutional, commercial/retail, and residential structures, as well as community visioning and urban design. Laura founded Pirie Associates in 2002. Prior to that she was a Senior Associate at Cesar Pelli & Associates (now  Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects ). She is on the faculty of  Yale University School of Architecture  where she teaches at the graduate level, and was the co-editor of Perspecta 28, the Yale Architectural Journal. She is the author of the book  Stepping-Up , and wrote two monthly columns, "InVisioningOut" and "Green Living," in Aspire Magazine. She also founded and leads  Conscious Pioneer , empowering people to live a full and meaningful life.
David W. Woods, PhD, AICP, PP,
Deputy Director of Planning, City of Stamford - David has an extensive background in land use planning, community and economic development, and project management. Working for the City of Stamford he directs long-range planning, transit-oriented development and neighborhood studies. Striving to incorporate best practices, he focuses on improving sustainability, land use and capital improvement planning. Prior to Stamford, David spent several years at GreenWoods Associates in New York, working with public, private and nonprofit organizations throughout New York and Connecticut as a planning consultant.
2018 VIBRANT MAIN STREETS  Presentation Available Online
Whether you missed our 2018 VIBRANT MAIN STREETS awards celebration in Danbury or just want to see it again, now's your chance!

Our 2018 Awards of Excellence winners were celebrated during our VIBRANT MAIN STREETS event in Downtown Danbury last month. Listen to their incredible achievements in this webinar recording of our awards presentation. And don't forget to share the link with friends and colleagues!

Connecticut Main Street Center

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And our Partner Organizations:
CT Chapter, American Planning Association
Institute for Sustainable Energy
CT Economic Development  Association
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
CT Economic Resource Center
Main Street America
CT Preservation Action
Partnership for Strong Communities
CT Urban Legal Initiative 
Pro Bono Partnership
Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County 
Young Energetic Solutions