Downtown Update
June 2021
CMSC Welcomes New Professional Affiliate Resonance
Resonance, LLC, is a management consulting firm focused on giving nonprofit organizations the tools they need to operate as successful businesses through planning, assessments and program development. Resonance’s Founder, Jennifer Goldman, understands the needs of Main Street organizations having served for five years as Executive Director of a Virginia Main Street community organization. 
Downtown Bridgeport Unveils New Public Mural Celebrating Legacy of Local Heroes
The Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District (DSSD) was thrilled to celebrate the success of its collaboration with The Mary & Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community and local artist Aisha Nailah to produce a public mural commemorating the legacy of Bridgeport heroes Mary and Eliza Freeman.
Born in Derby, CT, Eliza (1805-1862) and Mary (1815-1883) Freeman were sisters, free women of African American and Paugussett ancestry, who proudly made Bridgeport's "Little Liberia" their home. After leaving Derby in 1843, they lived in New York City where Mary worked as a hotel chef. In 1848, the same year Connecticut ended slavery, the sisters purchased adjoining lots on Main Street and built two modest, wood-frame houses. By 1855 both sisters occupied their homes (initially rented). Mary continued to work in Manhattan as a chef, taking advantage of rail service inaugurated in 1848. Eliza worked in the home of a local widow. They invested their earnings in real estate. 

Little Liberia (c.1821) was a seafaring community of free people of color and an Underground Railroad Destination Community. It boasted Bridgeport’s first free lending library, a school for colored children, businesses, fraternal organizations, and churches. Its development boom owes much to Mary and Eliza Freeman. The eastern block of Main Street was largely undeveloped until they arrived - followed by the Duncan House Hotel which attracted a cosmopolitan array of patrons from throughout the Black Atlantic world (mentioned in a letter to Frederick Douglass). 

Both sisters developed, bought, and sold real estate; managed property; and financed home purchases before women had the right to vote. When Mary Freeman died the only Bridgeporter of greater wealth was P.T. Barnum. The homes of the sisters, under restoration, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places for their significance to African Americans and Women. Their story highlights Little Liberia's legacies of freedom, entrepreneurship, and social innovation.

4 Towns Latest to Receive SustainableCT Certification

Congratulations to Cheshire, Durham, Litchfield and Milford, the latest towns to meet the high standards needed to qualify for bronze-level Sustainable CT certification. The highest level of certification currently offered is silver.

Certified communities demonstrate significant achievements in at least 11 sustainability impact areas, ranging from community building, thriving local economies and vibrant arts and culture to clean transportation and diverse housing. In addition, certified municipalities address issues of belonging, equity, diversity and inclusion when implementing sustainability actions. 

Recognizing the importance of sustainability in creating thriving downtowns and Main Streets, CMSC has long been a supporter of Sustainable CT and its goals. Several CMSC staff and board members also serve as action reviewers for select actions as part of the certification process.
Main Street Waterbury Reflects
on Pandemic Efforts During Annual Meeting

Last year, our Main Streets undertook Herculean efforts to maintain the small businesses and sense of community inherent in their downtowns. Main Street Waterbury (MSW) took time to acknowledge its many achievements during their recent annual meeting. Here are a few highlights of their accomplishments:
  • Regular Wellness Visits to downtown businesses, checking in with them and providing PPE.
  • As the 15th Annual Brass City Brew & ‘Que could not be held in-person in 2020, Main Street Waterbury created the Brass City Brew & ‘Que Tour Book, on sale here.
  • MSW put up bright and attractive pole banners in downtown – with more coming soon.
  • MSW created the Heart of Waterbury video series, which features business owners and individuals that are the heart of downtown.

Eversource To Charter First U.S. Approved Offshore Wind Turbine Installation Vessel Out of New London
New vessel will supply renewable energy to
Eversource and Ørsted have announced an agreement to charter Dominion Energy’s Charybdis, the first Jones Act-qualified offshore wind turbine installation vessel built in the United States.
The vessel, which is expected to be sea-ready by late 2023, will be deployed out of New London harbor to support the construction of Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind, both under joint development by Eversource and Ørsted, to serve nearly 1 million homes in Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York with clean, renewable energy.
Sponsorship is key to CMSC's ability to provide services to our members, and education & technical assistance to CT's downtowns. We proudly thank our many generous sponsors below.
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