Welcome to Main Street Waterbury. Now that we’re in the midst of autumn and the leaves have all but fallen, our thoughts are turning to the holiday season and the end of 2004. Although the colder months are vastly approaching, the work of Downtown Waterbury revitalization continues.
In my September column I touched upon two more of Main Street’s eight principles for successful revitalization. They were Focusing on Existing Assets and Self-Help. For this issue I would like to cover the final two of the Eight principles, Incremental and Implementation Orientated.
I guess we all know by now that Downtown Waterbury has faced some serious challenges. Conditions, as serious as they’ve been, did not get that way over night. A series of declines led to a downward spiral over a period of years.
We also know, that good things are starting to happen in Downtown Waterbury. Little by little and slowly, improvements are being made. This process started even before Main Street Waterbury became active as an organization.
Downtown is looking much cleaner, new restaurants have opened, the Palace Theater is now a reality, the Arts Magnet School is full of students, vacant store windows are being decorated, the merchants are meeting more frequently to plan events such as the Mardi Gross Halloween event held on October 29th, and there seems to be a collective buzz around the City about Downtown Waterbury.
The small improvements made thus far are starting to change public attitudes with the intended result of Downtown Waterbury having a more favorable investment climate. Gradually and incrementally, these small improvements will lead to larger ones as the Main Street Waterbury organization gains strength and continues to be the catalyst for mobilizing the resources for our revitalization.
This can only be achieved if we realize the importance of our Main Street program being Implementation Orientated. Thus far, Main Street Waterbury has identified and prioritized the major issues facing our downtown. We’ve developed work plans that break these larger issues down into smaller tasks. These work plans, as I’ve written, are underway. They are yielding results that can be measured and are serving to provide a mapped out strategy that can be built upon as we go forward in the future.
All of what I’ve been writing about these past months regarding the Main Street process won’t work if we don’t follow the Four Points and the Eight Principles that I’ve explained. It is a blueprint and plan with a proven track record of success in 1600 cities and towns across the United States.
As for our Main Street activities to date, you may have noticed several of our vacant store windows have already been decorated on Bank Street, Grand Street, Printers Court, and East Main Street as part of our Adopt-A-Window program. We now have a waiting list of many organizations wanting to adopt windows and the program continues to generate excitement.
Our downtown Waterbury “Clean Team” is now in operation. We have crews downtown every day litter picking and sweeping our sidewalks. They pay particular attention to the troublesome areas around the bus stops. They are making a huge difference in the appearance and cleanliness of our downtown.
The Waterbury Parks Department has been hanging the Holiday lights throughout our downtown in preparation for the planned Holiday events during the Thanksgiving weekend. The Main Street Waterbury Promotions Committee has taken the lead on coordinating the planning, promotion and publicity for “Once Upon A Season”. This will be a weekend long series of holiday programming in our downtown Waterbury district culminating with Seasonal Traditions on November 28 including events such as the Mattatuck Museum Festival Family Party from 3-5PM, The Tree Lighting on the Green from 5-7PM, and a Christmas Carol at the Palace Theater at 7PM. We are anticipating many of our downtown restaurants to be open that Sunday evening and hope to see you all there to enjoy our beautiful downtown Waterbury at such a festive time of year.
If you are interested in volunteering for any of our Main StreetCommittees, please feel free to contact me at 203-757-0701 ext. 302 or email me at crosa@mainstreetwaterbury.com
crosa@mainstreetwaterbury.com In the meantime, keep thinking, “Main Street Waterbury, Culture, Education, Business”!