Connecticut Main Street Center


Vol.13, Issue 4

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.

Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center

Toni Gold Announced Winner of 2013 CL&P Award

Toni Gold  

CMSC is thrilled to announce Toni Gold has been chosen winner of the 2013 Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) Award. CMSC established the CL&P Award to recognize individuals and organizations who dedicate themselves to promoting an awareness of the necessity of a comprehensive management approach to the revitalization of Connecticut's historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.


Toni's extensive body of work is a shining example of this kind of tireless dedication. An urban planning and development specialist, Toni has expertise in transportation for livable communities, historic preservation, waterfront projects, and commercial revitalization. She is a national expert in Context Sensitive Solutions, which she taught to state departments of transportation. Toni managed a $24 million capital program for Riverfront Recapture in Hartford, which re-connected downtown Hartford to the riverfront.


As an activist and advocate Toni organized her neighbors in the West End and Asylum Hill neighborhoods of Hartford ten years ago on behalf of a strategic plan for the traffic-calming and commercial revitalization of Hartford's Farmington Avenue. Most recently she has organized the Hub of Hartford (I-84) Steering Committee, rallying the City, the Region and ConnDOT behind an effort to re-plan and redesign Interstate 84 in downtown Hartford to reduce its intrusive nature and re-knit the urban fabric. Through Toni's ability to coordinate the many interests represented (residents, business owners, employees, NRZ/community organizations, City staff, ConnDOT & CT Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection), the Steering Committee agreed on an option that would provide an opportunity to develop over 1 million square feet of mixed-use, transit-oriented development in the heart of downtown adjacent to a newly-accessible Bushnell Park, thus reconnecting Hartford's now-bisected neighborhoods. Toni also makes an excellent member of the CMSC Board of Directors, offering her expertise and guidance to the organization.


To read more about Toni and the CL&P Award, click here.


The Connecticut Light and Power Company Award for Outstanding Contributions to Main Street Revitalization will be presented at the 2013 CT Main Street Awards Gala on June 10th at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Downtown Hartford.

Simsbury, Waterbury and Upper Albany Reach National Milestone Achievements


Three of CMSC's Designated Member communities received national accreditation as 2013 National Main Street Programs for meeting performance standards set by the National Trust Main Street Center. Simsbury Main Street Partnership, Upper Albany Main Street (Hartford) and Main Street Waterbury were each recognized for outstanding accomplishments toward the goal of revitalizing their historic main street districts during the National Main Streets conference underway in New Orleans.


National Main Street Program Accreditation is a partnership between CMSC and the National Trust Main Street Center to establish standards of performance for local Main Street programs. These standards measure an individual Main Street program's application of the Four-Point Approach to commercial district revitalization. Evaluation criteria include standards such as development and commitment to mission, fostering strong public-private partnerships, securing a stable operating budget, tracking economic progress, and preserving and bringing back to life historic buildings. The standards provide benchmarks and guidelines on how Main Street organizations should be functioning and serve as incentives for improvement.  

Chef Harry, Revitalized Colt Gateway Dazzle at Member Luncheon


The view from Loft 628

CMSC recently hosted a luncheon for its  member communities at Loft 628 in the Colt Gateway building, catered by Chef Harry of Cafe Colt. Chef Harry addressed the crowd that included CMSC staff and its member communities, as well as CMSC Board members, several employees from the Hartford Mayor's office and officials from the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Chef Harry told the rapt audience how he and his wife Laurie decided to invest in Hartford's resurgence by locating in the Colt building - a place where community thrives through its location, housing and links to the CREC school system. Chef Harry said the City of Hartford welcomed him heartily and he looks forward to working with kids from the area's schools to teach them about food and nutrition.



Chef Harry's prestigious background as cookbook author, TV host, vintner and more prepared him for the challenges he faces as a new business owner in Hartford, but he feels it is the perfect time to take advantage of what the City has to offer. Everyone enjoyed his delicious creations as they chatted and listened to a legislative update from CMSC's government relations consultant Pete Smith, remarking on the fabulous view and what a gem the space - and now Chef Harry - are to the City of Hartford. 

Spotlight on 2012 CMSC Community Consensus-Building Award Winners Main Street Waterbury and the Waterbury Police Department Downtown Business Watch 
Main Street Waterbury and the Waterbury Police Department accept their award.

In 2011, Main Street Waterbury (MSW) and the Waterbury Police Department's Community Relations Division partnered with downtown merchants to create the Downtown Business Watch program - an opportunity for merchants to gather, communicate and act in concert to improve the downtown business climate, while helping one another maintain a clean, safe and friendly downtown.


The first meetings focused on security and resulted in the creation of a public awareness program: Lock and Secure. The program reminded people to exercise common sense regarding placement of valuables where they won't be seen and invite trouble.


Since that first meeting the Downtown Business Watch has become a conduit for organized training sessions for merchants on issues of business expansion, innovative methods of attracting and serving customers, and expanding the business owners' peer network. Main Street Waterbury continues to arrange appropriate and affordable workshops for future Business Watch sessions. MSW also hosted the high-profile 2011 Mayoral Candidate Forum, a discussion between the three candidates and downtown merchants.


Perhaps the most widely recognized impact came from newly-elected Mayor Neil O'Leary's meeting with downtown businesses - a promise made during the campaign. Over 60 attendees filled El Americano Restaurant to speak with the new Mayor about their hopes and concerns. Follow-up meetings were scheduled to keep the dialogue going.


Each session has been held in donated space with refreshments provided by session sponsors, including TD Bank, Café Europa, El Americano Restaurant, UConn Waterbury, the Regional Chamber and the John Bale Book Company.


The Waterbury Police Department's Community Relations Officers work closely with downtown businesses to provide innovative ways to keep downtown businesses and their patrons safe. Main Street Waterbury has raised its profile among independent business owners as the go-to organization for downtown. And, most importantly, downtown business owners have begun to build relationships with their peers and encourage mutual participation.


NOTE: The winner's photos will be posted to our Facebook page later this week when we return from New Orleans. In the meantime, we invite you to view other pictures from the Awards Gala or learn more about the winning initiatives and individuals here.

Re-Mains of the Day 


National Main Street Announces New President - Patrice Frey has been named the first president and CEO of the National Main Street Center, Inc. Ms. Frey, a national leader in community development at the intersection of preservation and sustainability, currently heads the National Trust's Sustainable Communities priority, and will lead the newly formed subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The National Main Street Center, Inc. is an extension of the 33-year old Main Street program of the National Trust, which uses historic preservation as a tool for economic development in downtown and neighborhood commercial districts. CMSC is a member of the National Main Street Center.


Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (WVRA) is promoting Rock to Rock, an Earth Day celebration where about a thousand people bike from West Rock and East Rock in New Haven. There'll be food and music along the way, in addition to opportunities to take on environmental service projects and explore the City's parks and neighborhoods. This family-friendly event takes place on April 20. For more information and to register, click here.


New London Main Street is inviting residents to take part in The BIG Picture - a community photo that represents New London. New London Main Street won a 2012 Award of Excellence for Image Enhancement from CMSC for this annual event that brings together residents from all walks of life. This year's photo takes place on Tuesday, April 23 from 12:15 to 12:45 at the New London Parade Plaza. Coming on the heels of the official announcement that that the U.S. Coast Guard will build a museum downtown along the waterfront, this year's BIG Picture theme will honor the U.S. Coast Guard and celebrate the building of the new museum.


This newsletter is meant to be avehicle to communicate with our member communities, industry colleagues and generous supporters.  If you have information about events happening in your downtown, captivating pictures of your Main Street or news regarding your organization that you would like to share in our monthly newsletter,
please let us know.

President's Message 

How Anchor Institutions Support a Main Street District


Much as large, well-established stores such as Macy's or Bloomingdale's "anchor" a mall, large, well-established institutions anchor a main street district. Often these are universities, hospitals and major companies with a long-vested interest in the community. In addition to contributing to the overall feel of a place, they have put down enough of their own roots to mitigate the natural ebb and flow of a downtown's vibrancy.


A great example of this is Yale University in New Haven. With a rich history and legacy of its own, Yale has become an institution in its own right, standing for over three hundred years. Its prestige remained intact even as the City of New Haven struggled around it, dealing with the issues of crime, poverty, poor design choices and neglect. Yet, instead of acting as two entities on parallel tracks, the school and City began working together, influencing development and acting as a draw for the newly revitalized downtown areas. As a result of this more symbiotic relationship, downtown New Haven is experiencing a resurgence, attracting young professionals and dynamic, mature adults seeking culture and innovation. All of this is of course in addition to the employment and economic opportunities Yale presents to local residents. This type of relationship is being replicated by other large institutions in New Haven as well - just look at Gateway College's impressive re-use of a key downtown building that takes up almost a full city block. Tell me that type of development doesn't help both the school and the City attract visitors and residents alike!


The University of Hartford and Upper Albany Main Street engaged in a partnership over 10 years ago to create the Micro Business Incubator (MBI), which brings training, development, resources and support to businesses throughout the Upper Albany neighborhood of Hartford. Barney School of Business students bring assistance to the business at their location. Using a "train the trainers" approach, students help develop Upper Albany entrepreneurs' business acumen by applying concepts from the intellectual capital developed at the University of Hartford and a series of seminars devoted to specific areas of need identified by a needs assessment.  The MBI is a unique, innovative public-private partnership that has helped illuminate that the Upper Albany gateway is critical to the success of revitalization efforts throughout Hartford.


Anchor institutions like these make it possible for entrepreneurs and small businesses to take root by supplying the constant demand needed for new economic growth to emerge. And in so doing, they benefit from a thriving city that embraces rather than isolates them. Whether it's Yale and Gateway in New Haven or Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Traveler's Insurance and Aetna in Hartford or the Groton sub bases, our anchor institutions provide a vital role in the health and vitality of our main street districts.

Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141



In This Issue
Toni Gold Announced Winner of 2013 CL&P Award
Simsbury, Waterbury and Upper Albany Reach National Milestone Achievements



Chef Harry, Revitalized Colt Gateway Dazzle at Member Luncheon

Spotlight on 2012 CMSC Community Consensus-Building Award Winner - Main Street Waterbury & Waterbury Police Department Downtown Business Watch



Re-Mains of the Day -National Main Street Announces New President; WVRA Promotes for Rock and Rock; New London Invites Residents to the BIG Picture



President's Message


Upcoming Events


CMSC Staff Out of the Office Attending the National Main Streets Conference

New Orleans

April 12-17

More Info


CPA Seminar: Mills and their Villages

April 19

More Info


2013 Bike Walk Summit

April 27

More Info 


CMSC Offices Closed for Memorial Day

May 27


2013 CMSC Awards Gala

Wadsworth Atheneum 

June 10

New London Parade Plaza Voted One of America's Most Beautiful Town Squares by Travel+Leisure

Photo by Tony Bacewicz/New London Patch
New London's Parade Plaza (winner of  the CMSC 2012 Historic Preservation Award of Excellence) was just named one of America's Most Beautiful Town Squares by Travel + Leisure's online magazine.


One of the Facebook clues regarding the 2013 Awards Gala location.
The Stegosaurus by Alexander Calder on Burr Mall between the Wadsworth Atheneum and City Hall.
How well do you know Hartford?
This year we're holding the Awards Gala at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Sure, we've all heard of the Wadsworth, but how well do you know the rest of Hartford? 
Did you know on-street parking is free after 6pm and all day on weekends?
Or that Knox Parks Foundation is using horticulture as a catalyst, working in partnership with residents, businesses and government to build stronger, greener and more beautiful communities in Greater Hartford, with a special emphasis on the Capital City itself?
Come to the Awards Gala and see for yourself - Hartford Has It.
Like us on Facebook!

See pictures of Main Street Waterbury and other award winners
on Facebook!