Tag Archives: Main Street Investment Fund

Granted…

What’s needed to make downtown Westport more attractive?

Politicians and civic leaders think new and improved sidewalks, some curbing, a few tree grates, guardrails here and there, and energy efficient lighting would help.

What will it cost?

Well, $497,595 might cover it.

Voilà!

That’s the amount of a state grant — designed to help towns “develop or improve their commercial districts, help small businesses attract customers and improve pedestrian safety and livability in town centers” — provided by the neatly named Main Street Investment Fund. Westport was 1 of 14 towns in Connecticut to receive the aid.

Main Street was looking a bit bedraggled after the removal of some downtown trees.

Main Street looked a bit bedraggled after the removal of some downtown trees.

But — aesthetically improved sidewalks, curbing and tree grates aside — the grant was not universally praised.

A Westporter — and local business owner, no less — posted the news on Facebook. She added one word: “Speechless.”

Other commenters added their $497,595 2 cents:

  • “That’s like an heiress applying for & getting food stamps. Unbeleiveable.”
  • “The person with the best writing skills get the grants! It is silly for Westport to take grant money, they should be embarrassed!”
  • “Taking it away from what other deserving areas that applied?”
  • “Oh please– Westport should’nt even have been ELIGIBLE.”
  • “Good to know the state has its priorities in order!”
  • “Someone should investigate how that even happened.”

Of course, Facebook is its own ecosystem. Friends tend to reinforce other friends’ views.

Perhaps there’s another person out there whose Facebook page is filled with congratulations for this grant.

Meanwhile, “06880” wants to know: How do you feel about Westport’s half-million-dollar downtown improvement grant? Well deserved? Much needed? Kinda nice, but embarrassing? A boondoggle? Something else?

Click “Comments.” Use your full name, please — and let us know if you’ve got a dog in the downtown hunt.

$500K For Main Street

If you’re not a big fan of government incentives, chances are you won’t like this.

But if you think government can help towns attract small business, promote commercial activity and add jobs by providing grants for infrastructure renovations and improvements to municipal commercial centers, you’ll want to know how Westport can get a piece of the pie.

Under Governor Malloy’s new Main Street Investment Fund, towns with populations less than 30,000 can apply for up to $500,000 for a variety of projects: building renovations, improved street lights, sidewalk construction, signage, recreational space or other renovations “deemed necessary to contribute to the economic success of the municipality.”

The program also provides financial incentives to owners of commercial private properties for expenditures that directly support and enhance a qualified project. 

The Main Street Investment Fund seems perfect for Westport — particularly for our Main Street.

Alert “06880” readers: Click “Comments” to give Westport officials some idea of the project(s) they should seek funding for.

Note to town fathers: The application deadline is September 28.

How can $500,000 in state funding help revitalize downtown Westport?