Vol.14, Issue 1

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.

Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center

It's Easy Being Green    



There's still time to register for CMSC's next workshop, Main Street is the Greenest Street, on January 24 at The Lyceum. Don't miss out on this great opportunity to discuss how greening our downtowns can benefit residents, visitors and the environment. For instance, did you know trees can reduce crime? Let our panel of captivating speakers tell you how they're integrating sustainable design, green regulations and urban agriculture with downtown living. As an added bonus, planners who attend can earn AICP CM credits.


It only takes a few minutes to register and now you can pay online with your credit card! Be sure to register today so you don't miss out on this informative, interesting workshop. 

Our Picture-Perfect Main Streets      

CMSC Exhibit Comes to LOB 


Norwalk The character and charm of our unique downtowns will be on display in the Concourse at the Legislative Office Building January 31 - February 14.

This exhibit never fails to grab the attention of passerby who stop to learn more of the story behind the beautiful Main Street photos, providing us the opportunity to talk about the important work of CMSC and our member communities.

Stop by or invite your state representatives to come and see what makes our downtowns great places to live, work and play.

Sandy Hook Seeking Brand Steward

The Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (S.H.O.P.) is looking for a marketing and communications professional to implement their new branding campaign. Many of you may recall CMSC is assisting Sandy Hook with an economic recovery initiative. As part of that consultancy, CMSC engaged Arnett Muldrow & Associates to design a new branding campaign for Sandy Hook.


The Brand Steward will utilize this new community brand to create marketing pieces for Sandy Hook Village businesses and incorporate the brand identity with the Village and S.H.O.P. events. For more information about this position, visit CMSC's website.
Join the Connecticut At Work Initiative
Connecticut Humanities is looking for partner organizations across the state to create new or share existing public programs that invite Connecticut's residents to explore a wide range of issues related to work-what it is, what it means, who does it and why they do it-not only today, but across time.    


Partner resources and benefits include:

  • Access to book and film discussions, author talks, community conversations and performances created by Connecticut Humanities.
  • Grants of up to $1,500 for projects directly related to the Connecticut at Work initiative.
  • Grants of up to $50,000 for larger work-related projects through the Connecticut Humanities Fund.
  • A chance to establish new partnerships and strengthen existing ones.
  • Increased visibility for your organization as part of a statewide initiative.

Those interested in joining this initiative should contact Scott Wands to find out more about becoming a  Connecticut at Work partner organization: swands@cthumanities.org or 860-685-7579    


Spotlight on 2013 Awards of Excellence - Main Street Volunteers of the Year
Muffy Pendergast, Westville Village Renaissance Alliance
The volunteers of the year with CMSC's John Simone. 
Westville-based artist, teacher and creative spirit Muffy Pendergast (pictured at right) contributed over 75 hours of her time in 2012, most notably transforming an informal Halloween gathering with a few dozen participants into the Giant Puppet & People Making Mayhem Halloween Parade, attracting hundreds of marchers and puppet-bearers into the Village. Preceding the parade Muffy hosted two weeks of free, family-oriented giant puppet-making workshops in a vacant storefront, ensuring a steady stream of participatory fun for the event itself. Additionally, as a member of the ArtWalk Kids Committee, Muffy masterminded the Kid-Powered Spin Art station, a top new attraction for over 500 kids and adults.


Congratulations, Muffy!

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 


The plaque MSW received ten years ago commemorating their status as a CMSC Designated Member.
Main Street Waterbury Reaches Milestone -
On December 22, 2013 Main Street Waterbury reached ten years as a designated Main Street member of the CMSC network. MSW offered its thanks to the countless volunteers, board members and community partners who contributed their valuable time and talents to their efforts. 


MSW CEO Carl Rosa still has the original plaque they received when they became a designated member (pictured at right). The inscription on the plaque reads: "Waterbury is hereby designated a Connecticut Main Street Community in recognition of the commitment made by its residents, businesses, and municipal government to preserve, enhance and revitalize their central business district. The community's united effort to embark on this course reflects deep pride in Waterbury's past and fresh hope for its future. Presented to Waterbury Main Street on the 22nd day of December 2003 by the Connecticut Main Street Center."

CMSC congratulates Main Street Waterbury, their Chief Executive Officer Carl Rosa, the MSW Board and volunteers for their outstanding work revitalizing downtown Waterbury. Their dedication and passion for their City is an inspiration to all Main Streeters.

CMSC Now Accepts Credit Card Payments! - You asked and we answered - CMSC has teamed up with PayPal to provide a convenient new way to collect payments for DRI workshops, member dues, donations and more. This service is fast, convenient and offers the security PayPal is known for.

Something Wintry This Way ComesSave the date for some chilly fun in Storrs Center this February. Join our friends from the Mansfield Downtown Partnership for Winter Fun Week taking place February 1-9. For more information, visit their website.


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 

Economic Gardening  

One aspect of downtown management that's frequently a topic of discussion at CMSC is how to grow leadership within a community. This can be multi-faceted, of course - leaders come in many forms. Some towns have strong elected leaders while others have active citizens that doggedly pursue a particular project or cause. Regardless of who they are, cultivating this leadership - growing that passion to be engaged into a role where one is empowered to create change - is critical to the ongoing success of a downtown.


One way this can be particularly effective is by using local entrepreneurs and smart, engaged business people. Often it's these proactive types who see an opportunity where others may not that are the catalyst in a struggling downtown. I'm sure each of us can think of an example where a new business moved into an otherwise non-descript or downtrodden area, breathing new life into the surroundings. Suddenly, the place is transformed as other businesses move in to capitalize on the success.


Building on this strength from within the community and the charisma thrown off by these bold business leaders leads to a kind of economic gardening as entrepreneurs and smart business leaders begin making changes that attract other entrepreneurs, growing success from the street up.


It's this thrum of activity that helps create the indefinable "it" factor of a vibrant downtown. Supporting and encouraging these and other leaders is work that our member communities do every day. Often our role is to simply give local leaders "permission" to take action and to make a difference.  Folks sometimes need reminding that a proactive private sector is a critical half of the public/private partnership necessary for a sustainable downtown revitalization initiative. Recognizing and growing this talent can be hard, but we know nurturing these groups leads to long term success for the businesses, residents and future leaders our downtowns need.

Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141




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In This Issue
It's Easy Being Green

Our Picture-Perfect Main Streets  


Sandy Hook Seeking Brand Steward 


Join the Connecticut At Work Initiative   


Spotlight on 2013 Award of Excellence: Muffy Pendergast
Re-Mains of the Day - Something Wintry This Way Comes; Main Street Waterbury Reaches Milestone; CMSC Now Accepts Credit Card Payments
President's Message:
Economic Gardening
We love downtown supporters!  

We're celebrating Delpha Very for her efforts to support downtown revitalization 


Delpha M. Very is the Economic and Community Development Director for the Town of Putnam. Her work led to the creation of the Riverview Marketplace, the Putnam fašade program, and the establishment of the Putnam Arts Council.


As a former First Selectman of Woodstock and a successful business owner, she has gained a unique perspective into the practical aspect of business operations and the policies that can support or prohibit successful development. She is a champion of Responsible Growth initiatives, open space and farmland preservation, and community development that supports healthy living and active lifestyles.


Her true motive for developing vibrant, healthy, thriving communities has a clear focus - her grandchildren - and others of their generation who will reap the benefits of our shared vision.


Delpha is a visionary who has also facilitated incremental progress in bringing Downtown Putnam back to life. Thanks to her efforts, Putnam has received four Preservation of Place Grants.



Upcoming Events

CitySeed Indoor Winters Farmers' Market

New Haven 


January 11-April 26

More Info 


CMSC Offices Closed for Martin Luther King Day   

January 20 


CMSC DRI Workshop: Main Street is the Greenest Street

The Lyceum 

January 24  

Register & More Info  


Winter Fun Week

Downtown Storrs Center 

February 1-9  


Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival

February 15

More Info 


CMSC 2014 Awards of Excellence Submissions Due

March 14


CMSC Member Networking Event



CMSC 2014 Awards of Excellence Presentation 

June 9 


Odds & Ends 
Microsoft Free Clipart
  CT Driving Less; Using More Public Transportation

A new report from the CT Public Interest Research Group (ConnPIRG) says CT
commuters are driving less and using public transportation more, especially in the State's urban areas

Stamford-Bridgeport saw a 5.5 percent decrease in vehicle-miles traveled between 2006 and 2011 while miles driven in in
New Haven and Hartford declined by 2.6 and 1.9 percent, respectively

public transit use is up in New Haven and Stamford-Bridgeport, and
bicycle travel increased in Hartford and New Haven. 
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