Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center
 

December/2014

Vol.14, Issue 12           

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.
CMSC Wins CEDAS Member of the Year Award

CMSC was thrilled to accept CEDAS's 2014 Member of the Year Award
last week during their annual meeting in Middletown. The award honors CMSC's leadership and team, and recognizes CMSC for bringing valuable programming to both CMSC and CEDAS members.

 

Over the past year, CMSC has partnered with CEDAS on networking events including viewing new downtown apartments and enjoying local fare at the CONNfection event in Waterbury in March, and taking a walking tour of Westville Village in New Haven in September, including an entertaining chat with John Cavalier, owner of the beautifully restored Lyric Hall. CMSC also partnered with CEDAS and CCAPA on the New Directions in Tax Increment Financing workshop in November, and will continue to work together to expand this valuable resource in Connecticut. In presenting the award, CEDAS also noted CMSC's Preservation of Place grant program, a technical assistance grant program available to CMSC members (many of whom are also CEDAS members) that helps revitalize historic town centers.

 

The whole team at CMSC thanks CEDAS for this wonderful honor, and we look forward to even greater collaboration in the future!

CMSC's 2015 Awards Gala to be held in New Britain    

 

Trinity-on-Main, the former Trinity United Methodist Church that was preserved and repurposed as space for arts, community and culture in downtown New Britain will provide the location for CMSC's 2015 Awards Gala, CMSC announced recently. 

 

In addition to the dynamic location, CMSC is also mixing up the program of events this year, beginning first with the awards presentation then inviting guests to take advantage of the City's unique offerings with a menu of experiences that showcase many of the downtown's best attributes. Walking tours, performance art, and a selection of food and beverage unique to New Britain will be included in this showcase event.

 

The City is thrilled to have been chosen to host CMSC's annual event that celebrates the best in downtown revitalization from across the state. "We've been working hard to improve our downtown through many forward-thinking initiatives, like our Complete Streets work, and by holding great events in downtown, like Oktoberfest and Main Street USA, which will be making a comeback in 2015. It's wonderful that our efforts are being recognized, and we are excited to show them off at the CT Main Street Awards Gala," said Mayor Erin Stewart in CMSC's announcement of the event.

 

CMSC's 2015 Awards Gala is scheduled for Monday, June 8, 2015. To read the full press release announcing New Britain's selection as the event location, click here.

 

Spotlight on 2014 Awards of Excellence
Events & Programming - Wine on Main St., Downtown Waterbury  
 
 
Participants: Main Street Waterbury, Terry Boyd, Nutmeg Fine Wines & Spirits, Howland Hughes Center, Downtown Restaurants (Braza Churrascaria, Courtyard by Marriott, Diorio's, Shamrock Pub & Grill, Tryst Lounge, Signature's Restaurant, City Hall Café).    
 
The goals of the event were: to attract new audiences in an afternoon of exploration, sampling fine wines from across the globe while savoring the cultural richness that Waterbury has to offer; to introduce a number of quality restaurants in downtown to these audiences; and to serve as a new fundraising resource for Main Street Waterbury. 

 

Downtown Opportunities & Challenges:

  • Each September Brass City Brew Fest draws over 2,000 people to Waterbury's downtown, enhancing business in lodgings and restaurants and garnering a greater respect for the City.
  • Wine on Main St. was intended to provide yet another social and programmatic opportunity to introduce target audiences to Downtown Waterbury as an entertainment and business venue.
Highlights:  
  • Based on a clever travel theme with a passport for each attendee, guests were divided into tour groups with "flight attendants" who described the wines and their locales, while also pointing out historical buildings and points of interest. The personal attention meant guests were able to absorb downtown Waterbury's cultural richness.
  • The historic Howland Hughes Center on Bank Street was set up as an airport terminal. Each group traveled from "country to country", experiencing all seven restaurants and a glimpse of the world at each stop.
  • Seven participating restaurants, Braza Churrascaria (Rio de Janiero); Courtyard by Marriott (Madrid); Diorio's Restaurant (Rome); Shamrock Pub & Grill (Sydney); Tryst Lounge (Paris); Signature's Restaurant (California); and City Hall Café (Seattle), featured regional wines and built tasting menus from destination locales.
  • A local artist, whose studio is located in downtown storefront space, arranged for a number of artists to set up their work at display stations along the tour route, adding color and conversation to the walk.
  • Attendees were provided a list of the wines introduced on the tour. Nutmeg Wine & Spirits, a Waterbury liquor shop, offered each of the featured wines at a discount to attendees - and then donated a portion of receipts back to Main Street Waterbury.
 

Major Accomplishments:  

  • The first Wine on Main St. was an excellent promotional event for Main Street Waterbury, introducing new audiences to downtown, since most of the patrons were from locations outside Waterbury.
  • One hundred people attended the event - meeting the goal of the Promotions committee. The participants ranged in age from 21 to 72.
  • The event engaged local restaurants, bringing their enthusiasm to the fore. They researched and created tasting menus that complemented the wines, and are enthusiastic about participating again next year.
Congratulations to Downtown Waterbury!

  

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 

 

 CNU offers technical assistance to Main Street Organizations, BIDS- The Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) is offering a technical assistance workshop program for organizations (including Main Street organizations and Business Improvement Districts) seeking to activate underperforming commercial districts and public spaces with a focus on tactical urbanism. CNU New England will deploy a customized panel of expert thinkers and doers to facilitate a half-day workshop that identifies opportunities for intervention, document a project report and action plan, and advise and assist with the implementation of recommendations in the plan. Applications are due or before January 23, 2015.  Click here for more information and to apply.         

 

Boston Globe says New Britain makes for a great visit - The Boston Globe feature, "A Tank Away" recently visited New Britain and determined, 'It's just right for a tasty, cold-weather getaway." The article noted the many cultural events that abound in downtown New Britain, including the New Britain Museum of American Art, a museum dedicated to the local industrial history of the city, many wonderful dining and theatre opportunities, and the distinctive Little Poland district. Read the full article here.  

 

▪ Boomers & Millennials event on civic engagement - Baby Boomers and Millennials are two powerful demographics on either side of a prominent generation gap. So what do their differing approaches to civic engagement mean for our communities? A free upcoming Town Hall Meeting on December 18, moderated by CT-N's Diane Smith, will talk about how both groups can move forward together using experience, technology and a variety strategies to effectuate change. For more information, click here.

CTfastrak holding Open Houses
- The state's first rapid bus transit, CTfastrak, is on schedule to open on March 28, 2015. Get a preview of the experience by attending one of CTfastrak's open houses where you can learn about planning your trip, buying tickets, exploring new routes and connecting to other bus routes. There will also be hands-on demonstrations available of with a new CTfastrak bus, ticket vending machine and online trip planner available at each open house. Click here for times and locations.

Simsbury chef named CT Chef of the Year - Tyler Anderson, chef and owner of Millwright's Restaurant in Simsbury, has been chosen Chef of the Year by the Connecticut Restaurant Association. This isn't the first time the chef has made a name for himself, appearing on and winning Food Network's popular cooking competition show Chopped. Chef Anderson also appeared on the network's Beat Bobby Flay, making it to the second round of the competition. Click here to read the full story. 

President's Message 

Many hands make great work (and work great).  
 

Last week we were honored to receive the CT Economic Development Association's Member of the Year award. One of the reasons we were chosen was in recognition of the growing partnership between CMSC and CEDAS, a relationship that provides many benefits to both our memberships.

 

With only four people on staff at CMSC we know that although we may be mighty and determined, realistically there is only so much we alone can do. That's why partnering with other like-minded organizations is so important to us, while also powerfully reflecting our role as a convener.

 

With our organizational values in creating great downtowns that embrace a diversity of residents, businesses, housing and transportation in mind, we made a deliberate decision to increase our partnerships with others who could assist us in making those values a realty. Over the last two years or so, we've worked especially hard to create and strengthen our strategic partnerships, working with the likes of CEDAS and CCAPA to better meets the needs of our members and Connecticut's municipalities, partnering on workshops and networking events. We're supporting public and private investment in mixed-use development and public transit through our role on the Corridor Advisory Committee, which assembles the leaders of the towns along the CTfastrak and New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line (now branded as the Hartford Line). We're reaching new audiences and relaying the importance of communities that attract and are accessible to a range of users through our new and growing partnerships with Young Energetic Solutions (YES), the Partnership for Strong Communities and the Commission on Aging.

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the organizations we work with to promote the many facets of a robust downtown. It merely reflects our willingness to cooperatively seek the best solutions for our downtowns, to not only bring the right people to the table, but to be active participants ourselves. Knowing we have wonderful collaborators to learn from and share with our members helps us do our job better - and have a great time doing it.

 

All of us at here at CMSC want to wish all of you the very merriest of holidays and a Happy New Year!  See you in 2015! 

Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141

860/280.2337

www.ctmainstreet.org

 

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In This Issue
CMSC Wins CEDAS Member of the Year Award

CMSC Announces 2015 Awards Gala to be held in New Britain

Spotlight on 2014 Awards of Excellence: Wine on Main St., Downtown Waterbury
 
Re-Mains of the Day: CNU offers technical assistance to Main Street orgs & BIDS; Boston Globe says New Britain makes a great visit; Boomers & Millennials event on civic engagement; CTfastrak holding Open Houses; Simsbury chef named CT Chef of the Year
 
President's Message:
Many hands make great work (and work great).
Upcoming Events

 

Rules of Engagement: Boomers vs. Millennials

Hartford 

December 18

More Info 

 

CMSC Offices closed for Christmas 

December 25

 

CMSC Offices Closed for New Year's Day

January 1 

 

CMSC Awards of Excellence entries due

March 10

 

CTfastrak Opens

March 28 

 

2015 Awards Gala

New Britain

June 8 

  

 

Fred Messore,
Director of Economic Development -
Town of Seymour
 

Fred has had numerous accomplishments during his time in Seymour.  Here are just a few.

   

Upon his arrival in Seymour, coordinated a consultancy and community conversation about the future of the downtown.   

  

- Engaged Plantimetrics to develop an action strategy that can guide Fred, the economic development commission, and community partners in improving the quality of life and economic vitality of Seymour's historic downtown.

  

- During his tenure, Seymour was awarded the 2014 CT Main Street Award for Renewed Commitment to Main Street for their Seymour Downtown Action Strategy and Greenway Trail.

  

- The town was recognized for their commitment to re-invest in the downtown with their adoption of the 2011 Downtown Action Strategy and 2013 Master Plan of the Seymour Greenway and Upland Trail. The Greenway and Trail connects to the $4.25 million Tingue Dam Fish Bypass Channel which was completed in October 2014.

 

- Instituted the Adopt-a-Spot program that empowers citizens, local associations and businesses to beautify their community. 

  

More about Fred:

  

- Previously served as the Executive Director for the West Haven Economic Development Corporation.  

 

- He is also a licensed Commercial Realtor and Senior Vice President of a Commercial Real Estate Brokerage and Investment Firm.   

  

- Specialties include: Leasing, Sales and Acquisition of Commercial and Development Properties.

Extensive Municipal Redevelopment experience.

 

We celebrate Fred for his efforts to support downtown revitalization.  

 

WAY TO GO FRED!! 


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