Tag Archives: Willimantic Renaissance

Life is Rosy in Norwich

story & photo
by Larry Greene

On Monday, June 9, the CT Main Street Center conducted the 2008 Awards of Excellence program in the refurbished Wauregan building on Broadway, Norwich. The statewide organization recognized a number of Norwich groups and individuals, mostly volunteers, for their efforts in revitalizing downtowns into economically vibrant communities.

The Wauregan itself received special recognition. The Adaptive Reuse of a Building award was presented in the building’s recently renovated ballroom. Les King, President of Rose City Renaissance, credits the Wauregan as successful example of the Main Street Program. “This is a cornerstone for development in downtown,” he said. “It gave a lot of people in town hope. We really can take buildings and turn them around.”

Rose City Renaissance (RCR) received recognition as one of the four state recipients of the 2008 National Main Street Program. Gordon Kyle, RCR, was recognized as Main Street Board Member of the Year.

The CT Light & Power Company (CL&P) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Main Street Revitalization went posthumously to Linda Osten. As a professional community planner, Linda was also instrumental in a number of Hartford projects including the redevelopment of Adriaen’s Landing.

“She was a wonderful person to honor and remember,” said John O’Toole, CL&P, “She reminds me of the Bette Midler song about where each spring a rose comes up.”

Willimantic Renaissance received a 2008 Award of Excellence for promoting the highly successful 3rd Thursday Street Fests. During warmer months of the year, Willimantic’s Main Street is closed to traffic between 5-7 pm on the third Thursday of each month. Live bands and vendors mix outdoors with almost 10,000 people.

“It’s like a big party in a small town,” said Willimantic Renaissance member, Maureen Mulroy. “It’s a wonderful place to come and see friends you haven’t seen in a while and a great place for people to learn more about their community.”

“Thursday is a traditional shopping night,” said Thomas McNally, President of Willimantic Renaissance. He thought of creating a Thursday night street fest while visiting San Luis Obispo, California.

Kimberley Whitacker, associate director, CT Main Street Center, said the center started about ten years ago to provide training, advocacy and technical assistance to groups involved in downtown revitalization. “We coordinate resources, bring in consultants, and work with state representatives,” said Kimberly.