Making the Case for Why Downtowns Matter
In Connecticut, downtowns and main streets have historically and continue to be a key element for the state’s economic well-being. Not only do they contain its history and identity, but they are unique living organisms that affect how people engage. Downtowns are necessary for competing in the future economy and are critical to any healthy economic ecosystem.
Focused, well-defined strategies and investment into Connecticut’s downtowns could take the state to a future of economic prosperity. In that spirit, Camoin Associates was retained by the Connecticut Main Street Center make the case for Connecticut downtowns by answering several core questions:
- Why do downtowns matter?
- How do downtowns drive economic growth?
- Why do Connecticut downtowns matter?
- How does Connecticut unlock the potential of its downtowns?
The report, Connecticut Downtowns Matter. Here’s Why., presents the results of national research as well as the case studies for three Connecticut communities all making the case for why investment in downtowns is vital for Connecticut’s economic resiliency today and into the future.
Connecticut Main Street Center is currently using this body of work to make the case to State, regional, and local officials for continued investment in the state’s main streets and urban centers. As part of this work, Camoin Associates developed a Downtown Development Economic Impact Model and a Downtown Financial Resource Navigator. Once launched, these tools will be used by CMSC and its members to better understand economic impacts associated with downtown development and quickly identify available funding to support critical downtown projects.
The potential for a billion-dollar future is locked in Connecticut's downtowns.
From large urban centers like those in Waterbury and New Haven, to small villages like Mystic and Kent, the downtowns and main streets found throughout Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns are poised to pay big dividends—if the policies, programs and monies to unlock their potential are prioritized as vital investments.
Just how big are these potential dividends? The answer is stunning: if all of Connecticut’s downtowns were built out over time and occupied to full capacity, it would result in more than 187 million square feet of new and renovated commercial and residential space, $40 billion in construction spending, and 200,000 construction jobs, translating to more than $800 million in state income tax revenue.
And those are just the construction impacts. The newly occupied space would enable new businesses and housing while contributing permanent jobs to the state economy. State coffers would gain collected sales and income tax revenue, and local governments would benefit from additional property tax revenue.
These numbers are impressive, and more importantly, they are attainable.