Downtown Update

Newsletter of the Connecticut Main Street Center
 

June/2015

Vol.15, Issue 6              

Inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.
Success and partial success at the state legislature

Tax Increment Financing

Connecticut's municipalities

Above is the map outline of a TIF district in Fairfield, Maine. Maine has hundreds of TIF districts. Recently passed legislation allows for the formation of TIF districts in Connecticut, while increasing the number of activities that can be financed with TIFs.

have a new tool for investing in their downtowns and social centers, thanks to the passage of legislation expanding tax-increment financing, or TIF for short. Municipalities can now create a defined district and plan, then use tax revenues generated within the district for investment within the area. The municipality is able to use these funds for a broad range of initiatives including to improve and maintain properties or pay for staff to manage the district.

 

A coalition made up of CMSC, Pullman & Comley, CCAPA, CEDAS and others worked for months to ensure the bill's passage, crafting language, meeting with key legislators to explain the changes and enlisting champions to move it through the legislative process. Many of you answered our call and supported us in our efforts, contacting your representatives and even submitting testimony in support of the bill. We are grateful to you for supporting us, and to the coalition for their tireless dedication.

 

While pausing to celebrate this monumental achievement, we're looking ahead to the fall, when we plan to roll out a series of educational and technical assistance workshops to further explain the legislation, its potential uses, and how municipalities can implement TIF improvements in their town.

 

Community Investment Act

With regard to Community Investment Act funds, the success was no doubt muted. While the funds were not swept entirely, they were cut in half. In addition, because of the way the funds are dispersed, the portion that goes to historic preservation and funds initiatives like our Preservation of Place (POP) grant program will be reduced by roughly 70%. So while it wasn't a total loss, there will be a considerable impact on CMSC and many of the other organizations that benefit from these monies. On a happier note, CMSC had already secured two years of POP grant funding last year (this grant is sourced by CIA financing through the State Historic Preservation office), meaning the full amount will be available for the 2016 round.

Many thanks for a terrific 2015 Awards Gala

 
The view from the stage during the 2015 Awards Gala

Roughly two-hundred supporters, municipal officials, state and local leaders, and downtown management professionals gathered last Monday evening to celebrate the best in downtown revitalization at our annual Awards Gala. Guests gathered at the beautiful Trinity-on-Main for a welcome reception and to cheer on their friends and colleagues during the awards presentation before heading out on three unique tours of the downtown area.

 

CMSC would like to thank everyone who came out to support our award winners. However, the Gala would not have been the terrific event it was without the help of our many volunteers. CMSC would especially like to thank the following:

  • Planning Committee members: Zeena Tawfik, Melanie Carr Eveleth, Stephen Hard, Mark Moriarty, Ted DeSantos, Gerry Amodio, and Tamara Dimitri
  • Pat Lozinski (Fuss & O'Neill), Nicole Licata Grant (UIL Holdings), and Pat McLaughlin (CERC)
  • Mark Giulietti
  • Ann Crowell, Ann Anderson, and Josephine Moreno
  • Daley Whitaker, Sarah Kampe and Peter Natowich (CDM Smith)
  • Richard Coffey and Reverend George Harris (South Church), Matthew Pechous (Hole in the Wall Theater), Craig Frederick (Bike NB), No'a Roach (New Britain Artists CO-OP), and Michele Malinowski (New Britain Historic Preservation Commission)
  • Annamaria Perge, Vivian Perge and Donna Veach from the Greater New Britain Arts Alliance
  • The CT Dept. of Transportation, especially Randal Davis, Lisa Rivers, Maureen Lawrence, Mike Sanders, Dave Elder and Cassey Weed (Michael Baker)
  • Chas Lavoie from the City of New Britain, Dept. of Public Works
  • The staff of Trinity-on-Main, especially Gary Robinson and Joe Marturano
  • The CMSC Board of Directors

Thank you also to our generous sponsors for helping us create an unforgettable evening to celebrate our downtowns:

 

Taste of New Britain Reception Sponsor: UIL Holdings

 

Downtown New Britain Tour Sponsors: Baywater Properties, CWPM, Downes Construction Company, Fuss & O'Neill, and McPhee Electric LTD

 

Award Sponsors: Webster Bank, Colliers International, Farmington Bank, Liberty Bank, and Richter & Cegan

 

Main Street Sponsors: CDM Smith, CEDAS, Corporation for Independent Living, Express Strategies, Pirie Associates Architects, LLC, STV Incorporated, and Svigals + Partners

 

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

President's Message 

We knew it all along      

 

By all accounts our Awards Gala was a resounding success. People enjoyed the presentation and loved the tours. It gave them an insider's look at the downtown buildings, parks, cultural treasures and amenities downtown New Britain has to offer. Before the event, many of them weren't aware of the multitude of attractions and positive changes taking place, leading one tour-taker to quip, "You should call this the 'Who Knew?' tour."

 

 
Participants of the Downtown Arts, Culture & Heritage Tour learn about the origins of New Britain and South Church from Reverend George Harris. South Church is also home to the Music Series at South Church, CONCORA, and the Main Street Singers. It also has one of the largest pipe organs in the State. 

 

A response like that perfectly encapsulates why we do the work that we do. At CMSC, we're privileged to work closely with dozens of members across the state, each with its own unique character, charm, and yes, challenges. It's our job to help the managers of the downtown to learn how to capitalize on their strengths while changing and adapting to meet current and future needs. We started our Awards Gala program to showcase both our members' success in that regard, as well as that of the town or city hosting the event. Giving our members the opportunity to shine, to share with others how their Complete Streets plan is being implemented, how they're linking the downtown with the state's massive investment in transit, or how they're reviving historic buildings with new residents and uses is just one of the ways we introduce people to all our towns centers have to offer.

 

From the feedback we received, this year's event deeply resonated with attendees, enlightening and entertaining them, while - best of all - leaving them wanting to come back for more. We knew all along just how great New Britain and our others members are, and we're thrilled that now so many new people do too.

Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o Eversource

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141

860/280.2337

www.ctmainstreet.org

info@ctmainstreet.org

 

Join Our Mailing List
Like us on FacebookFind us on Google+View our profile on LinkedInFollow us on Twitter
Upcoming Events

 

Seminar: CT Brownfields: Taking it to the Next Level
CT Convention Center
June 25 

 

iForum on Healthcare and Housing Stability  

The Lyceum, Hartford 

June 25

Register & More Info

 

CMSC Closed for Independence Day

July 3

 

SNEAPA Conference

Hartford

September 24-25

Register & More Info