Selectmen Commit To Main Street Program

Collinsville would be focus of efforts.

This week selectmen committed to the Connecticut Main Street Center program to further efforts to improve downtown Collinsville as well as some other areas of town.

At its weekly meeting, the Board of Selectmen agreed to pay $750 fee to be part of the initiative, which, according to the organization, provides “expertise, resources and support so that local coalitions can revitalize their main street districts.”

Selectmen also said they understood it was a yearly commitment and would also include a one-time $2,000 summary report that involves an assessment of current conditions, business mix, structures and a recommended course of action. The $2,000 was not yet officially approved but selectmen said they understood it would be required. 

Before the vote, Economic Development Agency Chairman Kevin Jackson and member Amy Parchen touted the program.

Both agreed that Collinsville already has much in place, such as the Farmington River Trail, some vibrant businesses and a great mix of historic resources.

Parchen said it’s the kind of atmosphere places like the Shoppes at Farmington Valley have tried to re-create.

“This is the authentic thing,” she said.

Parchen said she has worked with a main street program in Lancaster, Ohio and said it’s well worth the effort and brought results.

“The benefits are tremendous,” she said. “There are people out there that are experts in this.”

Selectmen Lowell Humphrey said the plan made sense and was a good example of what the board had asked of the Economic Development Agency. 

We pointed them in this direction," Humphrey said. "This would probably be the next logical step."

Find out more about the organization at http://ctmainstreet.org/

The town has also applied for a $500,000 Main Street grant. See story here.

Joel December 01, 2012 at 01:17 PM
The economic development Council continues to ignore small businesses, struggling plazas, and small and large vacant spaces along Rt. 44. Collinsville is an amazing and special place. We all know that. . The Economic Development Council seems to see no value in aiding, developing, supporting existing or finding potential business that could relocate along Route 44, instead of leaving it to large developers to "work" the Rt. 44 corridor. I do hope Collinsville gets the Grant. I'm not sure large economic development will be "great" for the residents in town. It may be good for the towns tax coffers.
Mike December 01, 2012 at 02:58 PM
As far as foot traffic goes, far more attention is needed by Canton Police along 179 in the village. Speeding and not stopping for pedestrians in cross walks is a serious issue. Incidentally, Collinsville is more than one area. Lack of true sidewalks and having cars parked on them doesn't create a favorable impression..
John Fitts (Editor) December 01, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Hi Joel. The EDA did state at the meeting that they don't want to exclude other areas of town. Just wanted to clarify that the point was made.
al coffee December 01, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Joel's and Mike's concerns are valid and should be addressed before Town Planner Pade and the Board of Selectman apply for more pork barrel money that will be paid for by the now current school children of Canton. Furthermore, Mr. Fitts you should do an investigative article on why Planner Pade and the Board of Selectman have done NOTHING with the 2007 pedestrian and vehicular study that was commissioned by the Board!
al coffee December 01, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Joel December 02, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Hi John. I am sure they recognize "the other areas of the town", those other areas being the majority of the town. Rt.44 corridor is our main commercial area. We are not Simsbury or Avon with side streets and other pockets for possible development. Collinsville with its fantastic charm and small business feel is lovely I of couse want it to have the best plan for growth possible... however, to beat-a-dead-horse, Rt. 44 needs its own help for our local business people
Betty December 02, 2012 at 07:00 PM
A quick look at the map shows that RT 44 East Gateway District was not included. There is a great deal of foot and bike traffic that should have been addressed a long time ago. It was a mistake to discontinue Old Albany Turnpike, it should have been turned in to a trail.
Betty December 02, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I am very happy to see a Main Street Partnership for Collinsville, I have been encouraging the BOS for many year to become a member. However, this is not Sophie's Choice we need to support all commercial districts in town. If Canton ever needed the revenue it is now.
Betty December 02, 2012 at 08:20 PM
Joel is right RT. 44 is our financial future, and if Canton ever needed a financial future it is now. Residential taxes was 85%. The goal was to make it 80%. We know our taxes will be going up to pay for the things we need and want.
Mike December 03, 2012 at 11:33 AM
There is only a limited amount of space along Rt44 available for further development unless one plans on removing a good portion of what exists. If 44 is our "financial future" we are in for a shock. If one wants another Queen Street or Berlin Turnpike we have a good start on it.
Wyatt December 03, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Maybe because they don't want to spend more pork barrel money? Odd comment - you complain about spending in your first paragraph and then complain about not enough spending in your second.
Wyatt December 03, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Do you have any support for your rant? Seems a bit childish. Simply because the Town supports Collinsville doesn't mean it is ignoring the Berlin Turnpike, ahem, Rt 44.
Betty December 03, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Mike, You are absolutely right we have very little available commercial space in Canton. I believe there is more available space or redevelopable space on RT 44 than in Collinsville. I think some of what will be developed in Collinsville will be residential. How do you think we should create revenue? What would you like to see in Collinsville and what would you like to see on RT 44?
Betty December 03, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Wyatt, What is your vision for RT 44? For Collinsville?
Betty December 03, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Mike, Do you think there is room in Canton to become Queen Street or Berlin Turnpike?
Wyatt December 03, 2012 at 09:59 PM
@Betty. For Collinsville, something akin to Northhampton or Brattelboro, VT - independent shops and restaurants, community events, music/art/theater, focus on recreational opportunities. A place to spend time and participate in events and a place to draw in visitors. For Route 44, I don't see much of a need for any wholesale changes. I'd like to see more development in an aesthetically pleasing manner - trees, sidewalks, and buildings in a style that fits in with the town's character - like the new CVS.
Mike December 04, 2012 at 02:23 AM
First off, space in Collinsville is limited to what currently exists. Whether or not the Collins factory is ever developed is another story as the expense will be astronomical. Parking is at a premium throughout the village and increased parking takes away from the atmosphere. As for the new CVS fitting in with the town's character - that is a matter of opinion. 44 in Canton is now just an extension of Avon and Simsbury As far as the economy, we are in the beginning of a new era. The 50's through the 80's are over. There is no longer any free lunch and we should be preparing for it.
Joel December 04, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Mr. Wyatt.. (town committee member?) You call it a rant. You call Rt.44 the Berlin Turnpike. Both incorrect. Your comparison shows little understanding of the physical possibilities of Rt.44. RT. 44 does have the width nor depth (nor do we as residents and/or commercial property owners) have the desire for it "become" the Berlin Turnpike. As for the EDC... it does what it does... actions taken can be reviewed... results can be tabulated... so it goes...
Wyatt December 04, 2012 at 05:57 PM
@Joel. No, I'm not a town committee member. Just an old fart who likes to spout off about things. You shouldn't give me so much credit.
Hrico December 05, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Joel says Economic Development Commisiion... From what I hear it is just one guy bouncing around chirping for whatever his neighbors want to see the town spend money on. He doesn't care. Maybe he won't be here in five years... Maybe he doesn't pay his taxes... What will we do with all these people we draw to Collinsville? Where will they park? Where will they sleep? What has the EDC done that has any money coming in any way. The EDC should have had the town buy that dumpy gas station lot on the corner and built an Inn.
Betty December 05, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Mike, Are you saying the answer for revenue is to increase residential property tax?
Kevin Jackson December 06, 2012 at 02:22 AM
@ Hrico: How completely uninformed can you be? Better to be thought of as a fool than to open ones mouth and remove all doubt. My name is Kevin Jackson, and I'm the one you have chosen to wrongfully accuse of being a chirping, transient, non tax paying Chairman of the Economic Development Agency. (Not EDC) I don't feel the need to hide behind a pseudonym and toss nonsense around on the internet. if you would like to become informed, attend one of the EDA meetings, review our published agendas, or read our published Meeting Minutes. Hey, if you really feel like it, give me a call and we can meet for a cup of coffee. I'll be happy to try and educate you. Kevin Jackson Chairman Economic Development Agency Canton, CT 860-543-3435
Kevin Jackson December 06, 2012 at 02:30 AM
@Joel- the EDA is equally concerned with all business- big AND small. If there is something specific you would like to bring to our attention, please notify me at your convenience. Kevin Jackson Chairman Economic Development Agency Canton, CT 860-543-3435
Hrico December 06, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Mr Jackson, I decline your invitation. As pleasant as you make it sound. I have better things to do than to have coffee with a Public Official who feels it is appropriate to call a resident tax payer an uninformed, uneducated, fool. I was simply replying to others' comments with information I hear from many that I talk to at the library or elsewhere around town. Please though, tell us what revenue source has the EDC created that will lower my taxes. You have been very vocal for many things that will in fact raised my taxes. Maybe I just don't understand what the EDC is supposed to be doing.
Wyatt December 06, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Please take that man's advice and get informed. PLEASE!! You will be doing yourself a big favor. "Maybe I just don't understand" - finally some reality!!
Wyatt December 06, 2012 at 03:46 PM
@Kevin. Don't waste you time responding to such people. These comment sections are nothing but a bunch of cranks and certainly do not represent the views of a majority of townspeople, who have better things to do than sit around all day and post anonymous comments (I know this from personal experience, obviously).
Hrico December 06, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I am waiting for Mr. Jackson to inform me. What has he done that has brought in revenue. So far the things he has promoted are going to have a direct effect of raising our taxes. Some reply from Jackson would be helpful. Aside of the insults, private meeting or phone call is a nice gesture but I'm sure all readers are interested in the answer.


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