HARTFORD, May 1, 2020 – The Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC)is pleased to announce the recipients of its prestigious CT Main Street Founder’s Award and Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service.
CMSC selected The Cities Project, a collaborative journalism effort, to receive the CT Main Street Founder’s Award, while Sara C. Bronin was named the recipient of the Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service.
The award winners join CMSC’s recently named 2020 Awards of Excellence winners, which are presented annually to recognize outstanding projects, individuals and partnerships in community efforts to bring traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts back to life.
CT Main Street Founder’s Award, presented by Eversource
CMSC annually presents the Founder’s Award in recognition of individuals and organizations who dedicate themselves to promoting an awareness of the necessity of a comprehensive management approach to the revitalization of Connecticut’s historic downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts. This year, CMSC selected The Cities Project, journalism that explores the challenges and solutions related to revitalizing Connecticut’s cities.
About The Cities Projects
The Cities Project is a collaboration between seven leading Connecticut journalism organizations who publish periodic articles exploring challenges and solutions related to revitalizing Connecticut’s cities. Members of the collaboration are CT Mirror, Connecticut Public Radio, Hearst Connecticut Media, Hartford Courant, the Waterbury Republican-American, Hartford Business Journal, and Purple States. Together these seven media companies describe the key challenges our cities face, identify solutions that other cities around the country have implemented to address similar challenges, and explore the feasibility of implementing those solutions in Connecticut.
Upon the debut of The Cities Project in March 2019, reporter Tom Condon wrote: “We will look at renewal efforts of the past and present, examining what worked and what didn’t. We will travel to cities in other states that are dealing with the same issues Connecticut cities face, to compare notes and see if there are ideas that might be useful here.” Condon continued: “And we will pay particular attention to the challenge of inclusive recovery – how a city can share downtown prosperity with struggling neighborhoods and build a local economy that provides opportunity for all residents.”
According to The American Press Institute, “Journalism is storytelling with a purpose, and its purpose is to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.” In an era when we are flooded with information, The Cities Project provides us with information necessary to influence policies and practices that positively affect the economic and social vibrancy of our main streets.
“It’s been rewarding to see the work we do with our member communities mirrored in the articles presented by the collaborating journalists from The Cities Project. From identifying obstacles to sharing nationwide best practices, The Cities Project has brought a statewide spotlight to the impact – good and bad – that investment and planning have on our downtowns,” said Patrick McMahon, CMSC CEO. “In doing so, they’ve highlighted why it’s important to keep doing our work, so that all of our downtowns – rural, suburban and city – can enable prosperous economies and citizens.
Eversource, CMSC’s Founding Sponsor, similarly values thriving communities. “Eversource is pleased to present this award to The Cities Project for its formidable reporting and in-depth look at revitalizing Connecticut’s cities. This initiative has served as a critical assessment of what’s working and where we can change, which can help inform local leaders and companies like Eversource who are committed to supporting strong, vibrant communities,” said Theresa Hopkins-Staten, President of the Eversource Foundation.
The Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service
Established in honor of Jack Shannahan, the former director of the Connecticut Historical Commission and State Historic Preservation Officer; and a founder and first Board Chair of CMSC, the Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service recognizes public and private sector individuals and organizations that exemplify a high standard of leadership with a deep commitment to the success of Connecticut’s Main Streets. CMSC is proud to present this award to Sara C. Bronin.
Sara C. Bronin is a Mexican-American author, attorney, and architect who has worked at the local, state, and national levels on policy reforms to improve and enhance our main streets and revitalize communities. As Chair of the City of Hartford’s Planning & Zoning Commission, Sara has led collaborative efforts to draft and adopt the capital city’s Form-Based Zoning Code, its first Climate Action Plan, and its 2035 City Plan, which has a compelling vision to create connections, attract people, improve opportunity, and make the city fun! As the Board Chair of Preservation CT (formerly the CT Trust for Historic Preservation), Sara has advocated for the historic preservation tax credit and worked to align preservationists and environmentalists. Sara also sits on the Board of Latinos in Heritage Conservation and serves as an Advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sustainable Development Code.
In her day job, Sara holds the Thomas F. Gallivan Endowed Chair in Real Property Law at UCONN, and she teaches and writes about property, land use, historic preservation, and renewable energy law. She consults for cities, state agencies, and private firms all over the country. As an architect, she has won several awards for the design and rehabilitation of her downtown Hartford brownstone. She and her husband, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, are the parents of three young children.
“Sara Bronin is a brilliant, articulate and passionate advocate for Main Streets. She understands and promotes the critical connections between historic preservation and economic development, between environmental sustainability and food security, and between public parks, affordable housing, and transit. Ms. Bronin is one of Connecticut’s leading voices in weaving together our physical assets to ensure thriving communities. We are proud to present the Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service to Sara Bronin,” said Michael Andreana, Chair of the Board of Directors of CMSC.
You can learn more about the CT Main Street Founder’s Award, Jack Shannahan Award for Public Service, and the 2020 Awards of Excellence winners on CMSC’s website.
About Connecticut Main Street Center
CMSC’s mission is to be the catalyst that ignites Connecticut’s Main Streets as the cornerstone of thriving communities. CMSC is dedicated to community and economic development within the context of historic preservation, and is committed to bringing Connecticut’s commercial districts back to life socially and economically.