Connecticut Main Street Center


Vol.13, Issue 10

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.

Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center

Storrs Center Event Excites, Inspires 


Town Manager Matthew Hart speaks to CEDAS and CMSC members about the complex yet successful journey to create Storrs Center.

Together with our host, the Mansfield Downtown Partnership (MDP), CMSC and CEDAS network members came together in late September for a behind the scenes look at the new Storrs Center. A panel including MDP Executive Director Cynthia Van Zelm, Town Manager Matthew Hart and LeylandAlliance principal Lou Marquet told the crowd about how they are successfully executing the multi-year, multi-million dollar mixed-use development in the heart of downtown, including information on the recent construction and future development phases. Among the most significant aspect was "the 3P's" as Matt Hart said, the public/private partnership. Barry Schreier and Barry Jessurun, the proprietors of Sweet Emotions Candy and Dog Lane Café, respectively, spoke of their eagerness to open new businesses in such a prime location. Mr. Schreier, Sweet Emotions' "Dr. of Confectionary Medicine" also encouraged the crowd to be empathetic of those who may not always be so enthusiastic about revitalizing our downtowns, noting that while we may think these changes are fantastic and long overdue, for someone else they may represent an end to what they've known, and therefore resistance - an excellent perspective to keep in mind.


Next came a private tour of the new Storrs Center. Guests took to the streets for a firsthand view of all that's been built so far, as well the sites of the future Town Square, residential condos, and the Intermodal Transportation Center. This was followed by a delicious reception at Dog Lane Café and for many a quick trip to Sweet Emotions Candy, where guests got to see (and taste!) the progress firsthand.   

Hartford Business Journal Highlights Expertise of William Crosskey II, Consultant on Come Home to Downtown Program  


The Hartford Business Journal recently featured a story on William W. Crosskey II and his firm, Crosskey Architects LLC.  The HBJ noted Mr. Crosskey is especially adept at taking existing structures that were built decades earlier and reimagining them for a modern purpose.  As a result, he and his firm have been commissioned for at least seven of the 13 proposed downtown Hartford office-to-residence conversions.  Together, the 13 buildings would make another 1,120 apartment homes available.

Mr. Crosskey works with CMSC on the Come Home to Downtown program as part of the consultant team, where his contributions include preparing the model building analyses, re-designing the model building's under-utilized upper floor space into rental apartments.  
Webster Continues to Support CMSC's DRI Workshops
CMSC President & CEO John Simone and CMSC Board Chair Ted DeSantos (Fuss & O'Neill) are thrilled to accept a check from John Baker, Webster Bank senior vice president and Business Banking Regional Manager.
Webster Bank
recently awarded CMSC a $7,000 grant to support its Downtown Revitalization Institute (DRI). These workshops provide advanced training in the Main Street Four Point Approach™ to Downtown Revitalization.  Held quarterly, they provide an excellent opportunity for participants to learn from and network with other proponents of the Main Street way of life. These events are extremely popular, drawing hundreds of participants over the course of the year.


DRI sessions focus on both emerging and long-standing issues related to downtown management. CMSC's next workshop, The Many Faces of Placemaking, is being held Friday, October 25th at The Lyceum. Past workshops focused on: the connection between downtowns and universities; attracting young people to Connecticut's downtowns; implementing Complete Streets legislation; and most recently, the idea of creating neighborhoods with housing, businesses and shops along the stations of CTfastrak, the Hartford to New Britain busway, and the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor. CMSC was able to leverage Webster's support for this last session, receiving co-sponsorship from the CT Department of Transportation, which included remarks and participation by Commissioner Redeker.


CMSC recently announced the dates of its 2013-2014 workshops, all of which will be held at The Lyceum in Hartford. For more information or to register for our Placemaking workshop, click here. And remember, you can always review materials from past DRI workshops by visiting our website.


Thank you Webster Bank for your continued support!
Spotlight on 2013 Award of Excellence - Historic Preservation Awarded to:

Harrison Judd, Thread City Development, Inc., Eastern Connecticut State University, Windham Textile & History Museum, Town of Windham, TBS Properties, Windham Region Chamber of Commerce, and ArtSpace Windham Gallery
for "End of an Era": Past Identity/Future Vision and the Portrait Project 


The End of an Era: Past Identity/Future Vision exhibition brought the Willimantic community together to say good bye to the past and create a dialogue about the future.

End of an Era: Past Identity/Future Vision gave the Windham community a much-needed opportunity to mourn the loss of an important local icon, with large, poetic photographs that told the smokestack's story from its former place of prominence in Willimantic's skyline through the wrecking ball to the last pile of bricks.


In November 2012, this community-centered art exhibition documented the demolition of Willimantic's last American Thread Mills Smokestack in a series of large-scale photographs by Harrison Judd, Connecticut photographer and Willimantic resident. One year after the demolition, the exhibition brought the community together to mourn the loss of this iconic symbol, celebrate an industrial past, and begin a dialog about the future.  


The exhibition did not simply revisit an idealized version of Willimantic's past - but honored its present as well, with twenty-four additional photographs of the current urban landscape that called attention to Windham's present beauty as well as its needs. Most important, true to its name, the exhibition offered a vision for Willimantic's future in a simultaneous interactive event, the Willimantic Portrait Project.


During the exhibition, artist Harrison Judd created an impromptu photo studio within the gallery and offered free portraits to all visitors. This innovative approach provided direct interaction, a record of participation, and a living, photographic archive of the diverse individuals who represent the future of downtown. The Portrait Project re-defined traditional exhibition practice and captivated both local and extended communities, including visitors from many Connecticut towns, Boston, New York, former mill workers and visitors from as far away as Hungary and India. Over two hundred portraits were taken, approved and posted online at


Well over 200 people attended the opening reception, which ran an hour and a half longer than planned. In spite of two other important local events planned for that evening, the exhibition had record attendance which included Windham's Mayor, State Representative, the President and Academic Vice President of Eastern Connecticut State University, downtown business owners, students, local and regional artists, young and old residents, former mill workers and out of town visitors.


Throughout the run of the exhibition there was unprecedented foot traffic. Visitors signed the guest book, providing a record of an average of 50 or more visitors per day in a gallery space that typically gets one or two visitors per day.


The positive impact of the Portrait Project will continue in a follow-up event called Everybody's at the Drive-In, when the portraits will be projected on the big screen of the local Drive-in Theater, bringing the community together again, and including an even wider audience in the celebration of Willimantic's identity, diversity and unique individuality.


Using the transformative power of iconic imagery, End of an Era overcame several obstacles. It addressed Willimantic's Town-Gown gap with academically relevant subject matter; united diverse social groups through universally meaningful content; generated record-breaking attendance at the opening reception and enthusiastic participation throughout the exhibition; created lasting connections through the inclusive experience of the Portrait Project; and gave the community a context in which to celebrate its past, honor its present and consciously participate in its future.


Portraits from the Portrait Project are easily accessible on the internet and have already been used as professional photos, as Facebook photos, on holiday cards and in company profiles. Photos of the smokestack are now in public and private collections including: the Town of Windham, Eastern Connecticut State University, the Windham Textile & History Museum, Horizons, Inc. and many private homes. This will preserve the memory of Willimantic's proud industrial history and commemorate this unique celebratory exhibition. End of an Era's memorable images will keep Willimantic's last smokestack alive in minds and hearts, while the portraits connect citizens to one another in the present as they look forward to the future.


Congratulations, Willimantic! 

Pictures from the 2013 Awards Gala have been posted to our Facebook page. We invite you to view the camaraderie and communal inspiration that was evident in the many smiling, proud faces of the awards winners and their supporters. Learn more about the winning initiatives and individuals here.

Re-Mains of the Day 


▪ Northwest CT Regional Planning Collaborative has good reason to grin over Google Ads - CMSC awarded the Collaborative a $10,000 2013 Preservation of Place grant to boost tourism marketing efforts for their region, including creating and distributing brochures and driving people to their new website, and Facebook. As a result of their efforts, they now have over 1,000 "likes" on Facebook; 10,000 Secret Corner brochures have been distributed, they saw a 131% increase in DiscoverNWCT website hits over a three-month trial period thanks to a Google AdWords display campaign; and 63 Secret Corner stickers have been posted in local storefront windows.    

CMSC Now Accepting POP Grant Pre-applications - CMSC members in good standing who wish to apply for Preservation of Place grant funding must submit their pre-application by November 5th. Pre-applications must be approved before moving to the full application, due November 19, 2013. Members are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 in grant funds to plan for the preservation and revitalization of their historic Main Street districts. These grants are made possible by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) through Community Investment Act funds. Please submit any questions and pre-applications to



Sample a world of wines without leaving Waterbury. Join Main Street Waterbury (MSW) on Saturday, October 19th, for an afternoon of exploration as they sample fine wines and food from across the globe and savor the rich culture Waterbury has to offer. Based on a travel theme, groups will visit a series of international destinations featuring regional wines of the destination city. Contact MSW for ticket information and details.  203-757-0701 ext 302


Simsbury pays moving tribute to late Board member's extraordinary achievements. A memorial was held recently for longtime Simsbury Main Street Board member, Jewel Gutman, who passed away in late July. Click here to watch a touching video tribute of her life and many achievements as an active Board member, volunteer and engaged citizen.

Sandy Hook Economic Recovery Update - CMSC recently announced it would be assisting Sandy Hook with an economic recovery initiative. CMSC organized a team of consultants including Arnett Muldrow & Associates and Netmark Associates to work with town officials, Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) and other stakeholders to assist with economic recovery and ensure a vibrant social center reflective of the community. The CMSC team has already begun working on the first phase. After a three-day marketing and brand development visit, representatives from Arnett Muldrow unveiled a first look at the new brand last Friday. After review by the local merchants and town officials, the CMSC team will present the final branding and marketing campaign in late November. 


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 

The Power of 3P's 

While at our networking event with CEDAS in Storrs Center in September, we listened to a wonderful panel of speakers put together by our host, the Mansfield Downtown Partnership (MDP). As mentioned in the article above, one key point that MDP Executive Director Cynthia Van Zelm, Town Manager Matthew Hart, and LeylandAlliance principal Lou Marquet all stressed in various ways was the importance of the "3P's" - the public/private partnership.



The public/private partnership has long been a critical component of any development deal. The willingness of a government body, whether at the local, state or even federal level, to fully embrace and support an initiative can be the deciding factor in whether a deal gets done or not. Doing so opens the way for much-needed resources including grant funding and additional monies, streamlined permitting, approval of necessary regulations, not to mention a public endorsement. Likewise, the private side provides expertise and innovative, modern ideas and workers. Often they have their own sources of private financing that can be used to augment or leverage public funds.


When synchronized, this partnership creates something greater than either could produce alone. Storrs Center is a great example of that. It's our hope that this kind of partnership will also flourish in the near future with regard to mixed-use development. Currently, obtaining financing for this type of development - which is the hardest to accomplish because of its complexity - is scarce. However, it's of the utmost importance to create a financing mechanism for mixed-use development because it is the type most in demand by Millennials and Baby Boomers. Additionally, with the State's $1.5 billion investment in transit, there will be an even greater demand for communities with a range of shops, businesses, entertainment and housing options located close by the transit stations.


CMSC has been working with the owners of small properties, municipalities and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority on this issue through our Come Home To Downtown program. We're beginning our second year and look forward to focusing on this issue even more, working with others from the public and private sector to find creative new solutions that benefit all our downtowns.  


Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141



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In This Issue
Storrs Center Event Excites, Inspires

Hartford Business Journal Highlights Expertise of William Crosskey, II, Consultant on Come Home to Downtown Program 


Webster Continues to Support CMSC's DRI Workshops 


Spotlight on 2013 Award of Excellence: Williamantic's Harrison Judd for "End of an Era: Past Identity/Future Vision"
Re-Mains of the Day - NWCT Regional Planning Collaborative has reason to grin; CMSC accepting POP Pre-Apps; Main Street Waterbury explores world of wines; Simsbury Main Street Partnership honors late Board Member; Update on Sandy Hook Economic Recovery Initiative
President's Message:
The Power of 3P's
We love our supporters!
 NewAlliance Foundation

We're thrilled the NewAlliance Foundation has supported us for several years now, and we look forward to many more.
  NewAlliance Foundation generously sponsors our Downtown Revitalization Institute (DRI) workshop series. These workshops provide advanced training in the Main Street Four Point Approach™ to Downtown Revitalization and are a successful component in a main street's revitalization efforts.


Here's how the NewAlliance Foundations' sponsorship helps:


- Enables our DRI workshops which have educated hundreds of participants each year on how to build better streets and create healthy, vibrant neighborhoods.


- Provides local officials with the opportunity to network with their peers, learning from each other how to improve and revitalize their downtowns.


- Introduces attendees to industry best practices that they can replicate in their own communities.


- Expands CMSC's resource network as we engage and work with experts from around the state and country. 


- Raises CMSC's public profile and reputation as an industry expert as we compose these events.  



NewAlliance Foundation!!!
Upcoming Events

Fall Food Stroll

New London

October 16

Tickets & Info 


CT Housing Coalition Conference

October 17

Hartford, CT

Register & More Info  


SNEAPA Conference

CMSC Presenting

October 17-18

Worcester, MA

Register & More Info 


Wine on Main Street

October 19 


Tickets & Info 


CMSC DRI Workshop on Placemaking

The Lyceum 


October 25

Register & More Info 


CMSC Offices Closed for Veteran's Day

November 11


2014 POP Grant Applications Due to CMSC

November 19  


CMSC Offices Closed for Thanksgiving 

November 28-29

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Odds & Ends

Preview the Sandy Hook Community Branding Campaign on YouTube.

Click here to watch
CMSC Presenting at SNEAPA's Fall Conference.    Come listen to us on Thursday, October 17 at 1:45 pm as we speak about Meeting the Growing Demand for Downtown Living.
Arts Catalyze Placemaking (ACP) Guidelines are now available.
The program was created to invest in the state's arts-based cultural activities and infrastructure in ways that will advance the attractiveness and competitiveness of Connecticut cities, towns, and villages as meaningful communities in which to live, work, learn and play
Click here for more information on the program and its guidelines.
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