Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center


Vol.14, Issue 9        

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.
CMSC launches new website!

CMSC is thrilled to present its newly redesigned website, launched today.


At CMSC, we're proud to inspire great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street. This new website is another step we're taking to make it easier for people to know who we are, what we do, and why our downtowns are vital to Connecticut's economic success.

CMSC's new website has lots of great features in addition to its beautiful new look.

As most of you know, in January we unveiled our bold new logo, designed to better reflect our dynamic activity and the resurgence of our downtowns. Our new website is a perfect follow-up, offering a captivating new look that showcases our members and a redesigned layout for easier navigation. The result is a user-friendly site that showcases the services and programs we offer. New features include:

  • A downtown Success Story featuring our Awards of Excellence winners and member communities prominently displayed on the homepage.
  • Pictures from our latest networking events, workshops and more in our new Photo Gallery.
  • A calendar of events that links seamlessly with registration and payment options.
  • Information on how people can support Connecticut's Main Streets, including volunteering for their local main street organization and donating to CMSC.
  • A new Members-Only area, with information exclusively for CMSC members.
  • Tons of photos showcasing our beautiful CMSC member communities, and much more!

We think this new website is a great representation of all that we do, and we hope you love it as much as we do. So check us out, and don't forget you can still find us at the same place -

Fire at Delaney's shows what's best about Main Street Members  

As you may have heard, a massive fire destroyed Delaney's Restaurant & Tap Room in Westville Village (New Haven) in late August. The building had a residential component over the restaurant which was also destroyed. Fortunately, residents, pets and employees were evacuated from the building quickly and safely.      


According to Chris Heitmann, Executive Director of the Westville Village Renaissance Alliance (WVRA), "Delaney's [was] a social, physical and economic anchor for Westville Village for over a dozen years now - an authentic place, a supporter of innumerable community events (and until today, still the best draft beer selection in the state) - and this is a tremendous, tremendous loss for our Village, our neighborhood and for the City as a whole."       


First and foremost, our hearts go out to the Westville community as they recover from the loss of this neighborhood institution.  Albeit difficult, an event such as this also serves as a reminder of one of the most important functions of our Main Street organizations - that of convener and manager of community resources. In times like these, our members take the lead in supporting the local businesses, workers, displaced residents and others as they navigate the uncharted waters of disaster recovery. Coordinating fundraising efforts, acting as an intermediary with local officials, coordinating assistance, shelter and temporary housing services and above all, communication, will be at the forefront of the WVRA's activities for the foreseeable future, as they have been for other Main Street organizations who experienced similar devastation, whether from fire, building collapse, storm or man-made tragedy.

We wish Chris and everyone at Delaney's the very best as they work to rebuild
and repair their business and community. 
Spotlight on 2014 Awards of Excellence
Economic & Business Development - The Businesswomen of Grand Street, Waterbury 
Sponsored by Webster Bank
Participants: The Business Women of Grand Street are: The Dutch Flower Lady, Technology Forensics, John Bale Book Company, Fine Craft Jewelers, Dottie's 2, Princess Lingerie, Brass City Market on Field, Fashion Addict. Additional participants include Main Street Waterbury and Waterbury Development Corporation. 
The businesswomen of Grand Street, Waterbury, receive their award from CMSC's John Simone and award sponsor Webster Bank.

Downtown Opportunities & Challenges:

  • Grand Street was designed to be "grand". When travelers visited Waterbury in the early 1900's they exited the train station and stepped out into the entrance to Grand Street. From there they found the beautiful municipal complex designed by architect Cass Gilbert, and the series of buildings that give the street its flavorful architectural flair.
  • The decline of city wealth in the mid-20th century showed on Grand Street, but the recent restoration of historic City Hall has catalyzed increased business development.
  • The City, Waterbury Development Corporation, and Main Street Waterbury have come to recognize that entrepreneurs - micro businesses - are a significant and energetic component, and a major building block for downtown revitalization. 


  • As a group, the Business Women of Grand Street account for 80% of businesses in Grand Street's commercial corridor, and they are all niche entrepreneurs.
  • Recognizing the strong and sizable presence of women-owned businesses in Downtown, Main Street Waterbury coordinates a highly successful series of Downtown Business Women's Teas. Held seasonally, these gatherings provide opportunities for business women to meet, network, share their stories and interests, and enjoy interacting with their peers.  

Major Accomplishments: 

  • In addition to successfully operating their own businesses, the Business Women of Grand Street are involved with Main Street Waterbury's Downtown Business Watch Program; they participate in food and clothing drives to assist downtown residents; and they help plan and coordinate events that bring people and energy to downtown.
  • With their window displays, their strong customer service ethic, and enthusiastic participation in Main Street Waterbury's holiday decorating contests, they have made Grand Street more attractive and welcoming.
  • Downtown Waterbury has experienced a revival of Grand Street, due to the willingness of these business owners to invest in the central business district. Grand Street's vacancy rate has diminished, as nearly all of its storefronts are now occupied. Additionally, the Business Women refer clients to one another and are supportive of one another.

Congratulations to the Businesswomen of Grand Street!


Pictures from the 2014 Awards Gala have been posted to our Facebook page. Learn more about the winning initiatives and individuals here. 

Re-Mains of the Day 


Carl Rosa wins Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Award. Executive Director of Main Street Waterbury, Carl Rosa, was chosen as the recipient of the Waterbury Regional Chamber's 2014 Leadership Award. This award honors a person who demonstrates leadership within the Chamber, provides expertise in major innovations, and contributes to the accomplishments of the Chamber mission. The award will be presented at the Malcolm Baldrige Dinner on September 30th. For more information, click here.    


Upper Albany Main Street in the news. There's been a lot of positive press about Albany Avenue in Hartford lately. With continuous support from Upper Albany Main Street, Evay Cosmetics, an Albany Avenue makeup company, was accepted into Sears Holding. The cosmetics will now be available globally through sale on There were also two Hartford Courant articles featuring successful businesses along the Avenue: one on the father-son team at JAK Flooring, and one on the many new businesses taking root.  


A Taste of Simsbury hits all the right notes.  This year's event featuring Simsbury-area restaurants was held on August 28th. Held at The Riverview, participants were treated to samples of delicacies prepared by local restauranteurs and chefs. Click here to read all about the delicious treats, which were as appealing to the eyes as they were to the taste buds.
SNEAPA Conference registration now open. Registration for the annual fall conference of the Southern New England chapters of the American Planning Association (SNEAPA) is now open. This year's SNEAPA conference will be held in downtown Providence, RI, October 23-24 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. In addition to the programs, there will be mobile workshops and an evening reception. Check out the full list of offerings at   

Parade magazine names best U.S. Main Street. Parade magazine recently announced that Collierville, TN was the winner of its "America's Best Main Street" competition. Eight of the 16 semi-finalists, and both of the finalists,were National Main Street Center (NMSC) Accredited Main Street communities. CMSC is a NMSC member, and four of our five designated communities are accredited through the NMSC.  

President's Message 

Change is a good thing   

We all know that everything inevitably changes, whether we want it to or not. Yet, we can often choose the direction of our change by consciously planning and actively working towards our goals. Failure to do so often means we evolve haphazardly, bumping along and reacting to events rather than creating a desired outcome.


The very same logic can be applied to our work at here CMSC and to our downtowns. Just like the redesigned logo we adopted in January, the new website we launched today was created to better reflect our work and the vibrancy of our Main Streets. While keeping our core values, we acknowledged that our work is broadening to more fully encompass working with state agencies and others on creating and implementing truly multi-use and multi-modal neighborhoods.


Similarly, our Main Streets and downtowns must adapt to changing demographics, economic shifts, transit needs and more. This can be difficult, especially for those CAVE-men (Citizens Against Virtually Everything), who want things to stay the same forever, who are afraid that growth will mean an end to their valued community. Still, although a downtown may experience growing pains, it's far better to plan for and create our future than to resist and suffer the consequence of inaction.


At CMSC we feel this ability to look ahead is one of our greatest strengths, remaining nimble and alert to the changing landscape of Connecticut's downtowns. That's why we're always eager to partner with new organizations, to keep abreast of the latest trends in downtowns - like the increasing priority on public transit and the growing demand among Baby Boomers and Millennials for walkable communities. It's why we gladly accept the challenge of programs like Come Home to Downtown, looking for new solutions to old conundrums such as revitalizing underutilized downtown buildings. And it's why we work every day to improve our look, our message and our promise to inspire great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.

Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141



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In This Issue
CMSC launches new website!

Fire at Delaney's shows what's best about Main Street members

Spotlight on 2014 Awards of Excellence: The Businesswomen of Grand Street
Re-Mains of the Day: Carl Rosa wins Waterbury Chamber of Commerce Award; Upper Albany Main Street in the news; A Taste of Simsbury hits all the right notes; SNEAPA conference registration now open; Parade magazine names best U.S. Main Streets.
President's Message:
Change is a good thing.
Upcoming Events


EPA Area-Wide Planning Grant Application Due

September 22

More Info 


CMSC/CEDAS Member Networking Event

Westville Village

New Haven

September 23


CT Housing Coalition 2014 Annual Conference


September 24

Register & More Info 


CMSC Offices Closed for Columbus Day  

October 13


SNEAPA Conference

Providence, RI

October 23-24

Register & More Info   


Hiram Peck,

Director of Community Planning & Development

Town of Simsbury

A professional planner for over 25 years, Hiram Peck has worked with municipalities, the federal government/USDA, regional planning agencies, and private clients. His focus has always been on the land and man's optimal relationship to it.  


As Director of Planning in Simsbury, Hiram, working with Simsbury Main Street Partnership, coordinated an extensive consensus building process involving a community design charrette and adoption of a Form Based Coding effort for Simsbury Town Center. He has been working with several firms and groups in many states on Form Based Codes for several years. In addition, a Planned Area Development regulation was recently adopted in Simsbury. Work on Low Impact Development (LID) storm water regulation and Incentive Housing Development Zones are also well underway. Other current endeavors include significant mixed use development and transit related projects.


Before coming to Simsbury in 2007, Hiram was the Town Planner in New Canaan, CT for seven years. During this time, the Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) and Zoning Regulations were completely revised and many major projects - including construction of a teen center and the preservation of an important downtown theater and town owned historic building - were accomplished.


Prior to his service as a U.S. Army Officer, Hiram attended Cornell University and the University of Connecticut. He has taught science at the secondary level and geology at the college level. An AICP certified planner for over 25 years, he is also a consulting planner and a CT licensed arborist in his spare time. He has served on the Board of Selectmen and Board of Tax Review in his hometown.

We celebrate Hiram for his efforts to support downtown revitalization.  



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