Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein, and state and local officials, earlier in the month announced $4,973,865 in Main Street Investment Fund (MSIF) grants to 14 municipalities across Connecticut. The program, administered through the State Department of Housing, provides funding to develop or improve town commercial districts, attract small businesses, and improve pedestrian access and livability in town centers.
“Main Street Investment grants play an important role in strengthening economic development initiatives on the local level,” said Governor Malloy. “This program is unique in that it builds a working partnership between state government and the smaller communities that are striving to strengthen their commercial centers and attract additional business. I applaud the leadership in Berlin, and in the other 13 towns, for their focus on creating accessible and livable downtowns.”
“There is a recognizable link between housing, economic, and community development. All three are interdependent and all are crucial factors in the overall economic strategy that is moving Connecticut forward,” said Commissioner Evonne M. Klein. “The Main Street Investment Fund is a vital tool that is helping communities revive commercial centers and downtown areas and lay the foundation for expanded economic activity and housing opportunities.”
The Governor made the announcement at the Town Hall in Berlin, a community that is receiving $259,270 to revitalize Main Street and Farmington Avenue in the immediate vicinity of the Berlin Train Station. The project will improve pedestrian safety, encourage traffic calming, and add crosswalks and a median. It is part of the town’s ongoing work to revitalize its commercial area.
“The new development funded by this grant will be a significant revitalizing force in downtown Berlin,” said State Senator Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain). “Improving infrastructure around the Berlin Train Station will establish a pedestrian-friendly area that will prove instrumental in attracting new businesses and economic growth to the downtown area.”
“This additional state investment allows us to move forward revitalizing Berlin’s commercial area—promoting economic growth and growing jobs, which is my top priority. I want to thank Governor Malloy for his strong support for this project. I also want to thank Senator Gerratana and Representative Abercrombie who helped me secure this funding,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin & Southington).
“I commend my Majority Leader, our Governor and all the people involved in recognizing the importance of prioritizing the allocation of funding for this project,” said State Representative Cathy Abercrombie (D-Berlin). “I am proud of the work our legislative delegation is doing on behalf of our community. We are all in agreement that updates are needed if we want to revitalize and energize the train station area.”
“This is great news for the Town of Berlin and I thank the Governor for his support,” said Mayor Adam Salina. “Berlin’s Main Street project plays an important role in our ongoing efforts to create a thriving, walkable, and pedestrian-friendly downtown. We are somewhat uniquely positioned with a rail line in our community—so we want to capitalize on that pedestrian traffic and offer commuters a great experience as well.”
The Main Street Investment Fund provides financial incentives to eligible municipalities as well as owners of commercial private properties for expenditures that directly support and enhance a qualified project. Awards are not more than $500,000 and can be used for expenses such as building improvements, signage, lighting, and streetscape improvements.
Other grant recipients announced today are:
· Ansonia will receive $483,000 to make improvements to the West Main Street area between Kingston Drive and Bridge Street. The project includes new granite curbs, brick paver strips, concrete walkway, grass planting strip ornamental rail fencing, street trees, and other street furniture, benches, trash receptacles, new ornamental lights, new parking layout, etc. The parking lot will provide access points to the retail, office, and government services as well as to the multi-modal transportation waiting area.
"Ansonia's West Main Street Improvement Project is consistent with the State of Connecticut's response to small communities' need to strengthen commercial centers and relationships with local merchants," said Mayor James Della Volpe. "This funding will provide the City of Ansonia with a step-up towards enhancing the local economic recovery and revival of our downtown City Center."
· Burlington will receive $377,000 for pedestrian improvements in the Burlington Town Center. These funds will be used to construct sidewalks and make other pedestrian and streetscaping improvements including lighting, landscaping, and lighting.
“Burlington is very appreciative of Governor Malloy's support through Main Street Investment Funding to enhance and revitalize our central business district. This pedestrian walkway streetscaping project in our town center will be the catalyst for sustainable mixed-use development, connectivity and job creation," said First Selectman Ted Shafter.
· Canaan will receive $450,000 to construct an ADA compliant, historically appropriate bluestone sidewalk running from one end of Main Street to the elementary school at the other end of Main Street. Funds will also be used to install curbing and bump-outs with landscaping and street trees to help slow traffic, better define parking areas, and make Main Street more attractive. Funds will also be used for landscaping on the historic town Green.
"This is terrific, transformative news for the Town of Canaan. This funding will encourage visitors and residents to stroll our historic Main Street, support our existing small local businesses and attract new businesses. We thank the Northwest Connecticut Regional Planning Collaborative for their assistance in preparing our application and Governor Malloy for his recognition of our continued efforts to revitalize our village center," said First Selectman Patricia Allyn Mechare.
· Canton will receive $387,000 for the construction of historically appropriate improvements that will provide safe pedestrian access, organized parking, and create critical linkages between areas with significant activity to areas of businesses. Funds will be used for sidewalks, way-finding signs, trees, pedestrian lights, crosswalks, and other safety and aesthetic improvements.
· Colchester will receive $285,000 for its Linwood Avenue Streetscape Improvement project. The project is comprised of three major elements: a concrete sidewalk and stamped concrete pathway along the southern side of Linwood Avenue, solar lighting and other street furniture, landscaping, and a wider stamped concrete section along the frontage of the Cragan Library on the northern side of Linwood Avenue. The proposed project would be sixth project completed in the downtown village area over the last decade which is built on the concepts and themes created previously.
· Cornwall will receive $70,000 to install sidewalks which will improve pedestrian access and safety in the busy scenic village center. The installation of a sidewalk between the approved senior housing and Cornwall General Store in Cornwall Bridge will provide access for seniors to village center and also provide handicapped access to the adjacent visitor's center.
“The Town of Cornwall is pleased to be a recipient of funding from the Main Street Investment Fund. This funding will be a great help for the revitalization of the Cornwall villages of West Cornwall and Cornwall Bridge which are popular tourist destinations and recreation areas for hiking, boating, and skiing,” said First Selectman Gordon M. Ridgway
· Essex will receive $435,000 for project activities related to calming of traffic and the creation of a shared "Village Center" intersection at Main Street and Summit Street. Project funds will be used for the addition of stamped and colored concrete from Summit Street to Main Street; installing new cross walks, renovating existing crosswalks, and other improvements.
“The town of Essex is extremely excited about receiving this grant to help in the continued renewal of Ivoryton. It has become a vital economic center and has been revitalized by investment by the state, town, and community including all of the organizations and businesses that have started in Ivoryton. We look forward to implementing the grant,” said First Selectman Norman Needleman.
· Fairfield will receive $250,000 for the installation of new or replacement concrete walks, curbing, pedestrian ramps, driveway aprons, decorative brick pavers, ornamental street lights, pedestrian benches, bicycle racks, and other street furniture. The goal is to create a pedestrian-friendly environment that is safe and harmonious with the existing streetscape character found in the downtown core. The proposed project strengthens the connections between commercial and residential neighborhoods and creates a pedestrian linkage to the train station.
· Griswold will receive $265,000 to fund the cost of poles, light fixtures, and resurfacing the sidewalk for a sidewalk lighting project. A total of 44 poles/lights will be installed.
“As the first selectman of the town of Griswold, I am very pleased to receive, on behalf of our municipality, the second phase of our Main Street Grant program. With receipt of these funds, the revitalization of our main street is fast becoming a reality and a much needed economic stimulus . I sincerely thank Governor Malloy and the OPM selection committee on behalf of Griswold,” said First Selectman Philip E. Anthony.
· Killingly will receive $500,000 for streetscape improvements for the Danielson Main Street Historic District Project. The project has two major components: sidewalk and curbing replacement; and streetscape amenities including decorative lighting, planters, and bike racks. The funds will be used to replace over 27,000 square feet of sidewalk in the Main Street area.
“The Town of Killingly is very pleased to be receiving a grant from the Main Street Investment Fund. The grant will enhance the Town’s current efforts to revitalize and promote business activity in the Danielson Main Street Historic District. The improvements will include new sidewalks and other period streetscape projects intended to be a catalyst to stimulate current business activity and to create new economic opportunities,” said Town Council Chair Dennis Alemian.
· Mansfield will receive $500,000 to enhance the public spaces of Storrs Center. Funds will be used for decorative street lights and street trees on Dog Lane, Royce Circle, and Wilbur Cross Way; sidewalk planters on Dog Lane, tree planters for the Town Square, decorative concrete pavement in the Royce Circle and Wilbur Cross Way bump-outs, and way-finding signage for the Phase 1A and the Town Square. Storrs Center Alliance plans to use funds for facade improvements on the buildings at 1 Dog Lane and 9 Dog Lane.
· New Canaan will receive $215,000 for several infrastructure improvements projects such as construction of the Locust Avenue parking deck and the complete renovation of the Town Hall. The proposed projects will provide attractive amenities for pedestrians while improving pedestrian connections to municipal parking and the downtown which is essential to ensure the town commercial viability. Funds will be used to purchase and install decorative street lighting, construction of a pocket-park, sidewalk connection, and two stamped concrete crosswalks.
· Westport plans to use its $497,595 to improve Westport Town Commercial Center street infrastructure and provide improved pedestrian sidewalk access from residential neighborhoods into the downtown center. Funding will be used for sidewalk refurbishments, the installation of new sidewalks, improved energy efficient lighting, curbing, guardrails, and tree grates.