I was so pleased to see this recent piece on Middletown, CT where I first cut my teeth in downtown revitalization in the late 1990’s. At the time, plans for a downtown police station with ground floor retail were on the drawing board, and William Warner, Middletown’s Director of Planning, was working hard turning that vision into a reality. Many years later the station is being heralded as a “catalyst for our growth” by Quentin Phipps, Executive Director of the Middletown Downtown Business Improvement District. [“Downtown police stations seen as catalyst in 2 cities”, NorwichBulletin.com, 10/13]. Other cities in Connecticut are now looking to replicate this success. Norwich, CT is now asking taxpayers to finance a bond of $33.4 million to construct a similar police station.
|Middletown, CT downtown Police Station
Source: Google Streetview
But the police station was not the only investment made in downtown. At the time, the City successfully applied to become one of Connecticut’s first state Main Street programs. Lots of additional small investments have also made a difference. Since then the City has formed a Business Improvement District, welcomed a 12-screen movie theater and a 100-room inn to town. These investments – a mixture of public and private partnerships – are now being considered a model for other towns. I couldn’t agree more!