The Bristol Council next week will vote on a resolution regarding approval to file a grant application with Connecticut Main Street Center’s “Come Home to Downtown” program.
Come Home to Downtown is a pilot program aimed at facilitating viable, interesting housing opportunities while revitalizing downtown neighborhoods by providing customized technical assistance to communities and owners of small, under-utilized downtown properties.
CMSC recently completed the first year of this program and issued a report on its findings that frames the challenges to mixed-use development.
This program is the result of a successful collaboration between Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), directly addressing a need plaguing many of Connecticut’s Main Street districts.
Over the course of the first year, CMSC chose three communities – Middletown, Torrington and Waterbury – as well as three property owners and their buildings as the focus of the program. Engaging an expert team of consultants, CMSC worked with municipal officials and the building owners to develop viable redevelopment options including:
- Determining what financing would likely be needed for redevelopment;
- Performing an assessment of zoning and regulatory requirements;
- Reviewing the downtown management function; and
- Measuring the downtown’s walkability.
Specific recommendations for improving the buildings, including a recommended floor plan designed to attract new residents and bring market rate housing downtown, was also provided to each property owner.
Each of the buildings was chosen in part because they are representative of the types of buildings found in downtowns all across Connecticut. They will serve as models for the redevelopment process, signaling what changes need to be made in order to facilitate this type of redevelopment in other downtowns.