Downtown Link

The Newsletter for CMSC's Member Network

Celebrating 20 Years of inspiring great Connecticut downtowns, Main Street by Main Street.
What's New at CMSC?
CMSC Engaged in Strategic Planning Process
As noted previously, CMSC is undergoing a strategic planning process to help us re-focus our long-term goals given the current increasing demand for our services and projected trends affecting downtown revitalization. CMSC engaged a consultant to facilitate this process and has reached out to many of our constituents via survey, phone interviews and through participation in strategic planning sessions. The first day-long session, comprised of CMSC staff, our board and stakeholders (including members and industry partners), was held in October and covered a variety of topics like how our work will be impacted by changing demographics and new technologies. Another session will be held in mid-November and will focus on our long term vision and goals. CMSC will then work with the consultant and our board to refine these goals into a viable action plan for the next three to five years.
BRIDGE Series Kicks Off
On November 6th, CMSC will host its first official BRIDGE Series event featuring Chris Ortwein from the New Haven Town Green District. Chris will share her experience using market data to create a series of events that took advantage of local assets and transformed a neglected district into a neighborhood draw. With the BRIDGE Series, members can expect these quarterly educational sessions to feature an expert in a Main Street-related topic who will provide targeted, relevant information while offering the chance for Main Street members to network and interact with their peers.
DOT Strategic Highway Safety Plan Panel
CMSC has been asked to participate on the "Non-Motorized" Emphasis Area Team as the DOT undertakes a significant review of the state's Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP). The SHSP is a statewide plan that establishes strategies, projects and programs, coordinating them among multiple agencies to reduce highway fatalities and serious injuries for all users on public roads. CMSC's role on the emphasis team is to provide input regarding safety measures for non-motorized users (walkers and cyclists). We're thrilled for the opportunity to participate and give voice to the importance of these groups in our communities. 
Professional Memberships
In January, CMSC will begin accepting Professional Memberships.This is in response to several inquiries from Main Street related-organizations interested in becoming members. Professional members will be able to attend workshops at a discounted rate, and will receive invitations to member networking events. More information will be made public shortly, but we wanted you to be the first to know. We hope you will join us in welcoming these new members, which we feel will help extend CMSC's reach and visibility throughout the state.
How are we helping our members?  

First Impressions Program
CMSC is working with Laura Brown from UCONN Extention on a new program called the First Impressions Program. Under this program, representatives from two towns visit each other's community in an unannounced assessment, in the hope of affirming positive aspects and providing valuable feedback for improvement. Laura was previously the director of the program in Wisconsin, and it has been used successfully in several states and Canada. CMSC is utilizing its member network to serve as the participating communities for this program. Please contact Susan Westa if your community is interested in participating.
Congratulations to Upper Albany Main Street
Celebrating 15 years of improving the economy and quality of life on The Avenue
CMSC extends its congratulations to designated member Upper Albany Main Street, who recently celebrated their fifteenth anniversary. In 2000, when the Upper Albany community applied to become part of the Connecticut Main Street program, the neighborhood's leaders were motivated by their determination to "take back the neighborhood" and stop its downward spiral toward social and economic decline. Guided by clear operational and behavioral norms, and a commitment to be solution-oriented and politically savvy, Upper Albany Main Street has developed a culture of achievement and excellence. Today the organization is respected and intensely engaged in all that contributes to the economic success and quality of life of its community. Upper Albany Main Street is guided by a strong strategic planning culture and deep relationships with a host of community anchors.
Kim's Wins

Resources and information on downtown revitalization from CMSC's Associate Director, Kimberley Parsons-Whitaker.
Small Business Saturday Info
Small Business Saturday is right around the corner. Help facilitate efforts in your community by signing up to be a Neighborhood Champion. After entering some information about yourself, your local businesses and your plans for the day, you will receive a Small Business Saturday Event Kit with Shop Small merchandise to support the event you plan for your community. You must sign up by November 9 to participate. Click here for more info.

Gov. Malloy announces available support to towns and cities for Brownfield Redevelopment
Governor Dannel P. Malloy recently announced DECD is accepting applications for $7.5 million in grants that will be awarded to help clean up former industrial sites in communities throughout the state, revitalizing these properties to put them back into productive use. Made available through the Connecticut Brownfield Remediation program, a total of $6.5 million will be earmarked for remediation projects and $1 million will be used for assessment projects. Applications must be submitted to DECD electronically to no later than 4:00 p.m. on November 16, 2015. For information about the application process click on this link.

CT Preservation Action Conference
CPA is hosting CT Preservation Now: Changes & Opportunities in Funding on November 13. This full-day event will talk about how preservation is moving forward as local and national organizations focus on community and neighborhood sustainability and the importance of placemaking.  Learn about current opportunities from several speakers including representatives from the State Historic Preservation Office and Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of Culture, Office of the Arts & Historic Preservation. Click here for more information.

Essential Shifts for a Thriving Nonprofit Sector
"The ongoing, against-the-odds resiliency of the nonprofit sector in New England and across the country is remarkable to see. But as this study shows, it is a very fragile resiliency."
Third Sector New England has published a report on the state of nonprofits in New England. While nonprofits have proven to be resilient in the face of an economic downturn, many rely on operating models that are not sustainable, according to the report. The report proposes shifting the framework for discussion away from succession planning, which focuses on an individual, and toward creating a sustainability plan that examines the vulnerabilities of the organization and its choices for the future.
The report was rolled out in New Haven in September. The New Haven Independent reported on the presentation, while the entire report can be viewed here 

If you have questions, comments or just want to say hi, email  Christine Schilke, Communications Manager, or call at the number below.


Connecticut Main Street Center

c/o CL&P

PO Box 270 

Hartford, CT 06141





Volume 3
Fall Issue

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Upcoming Events
BRIDGE Series with Chris Orwein
November 6

Small Business Saturday Neighborhood Champion Registration Deadline
November 9

CMSC Closed for Veteran's Day 
November 11

CPA Conference
November 13

Brownfields Applications due to DECD
November 16

CMSC Closed for Thanksgiving 
November 26

CMSC Offices Closed
November 27

CMSC Closed for Christmas Holiday
December 25

CMSC Closed for New Year's Day
January 1