CMSC Presents Willimantic Whitewater Partnership With Check For New Guardrail
Delivering on a Promise: CMSC & Eversource Present Checks to Willimantic Whitewater Partnership
It was a blue-sky day as the Connecticut Main Street Center visited the Willimantic Riverfront to deliver on its promise to donate 10% of its 2019 VIBRANT MAIN STREETS event sponsorships to the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership.
CMSC’s Marketing & Development Director, Christine Schilke, was thrilled to hand over a check for $2,900 to the organization dedicated to recapturing the Willimantic River waterfront. The funds will be used for a new guardrail at the WWP site adjacent to downtown Willimantic. “At CMSC, we’re always advocating for our communities to capitalize on their assets – the things that make them unique. Willimantic is lucky to have such a beautiful, rugged gem right next to its downtown,” said Christine. “It’s rewarding to know that thanks to our many awards sponsors, our contribution will help reconnect the community to the Willimantic River and enhance the downtown’s offerings.”
The new guardrail is expected to cost $7,500. In addition to CMSC’s contribution, Eversource Energy also awarded WWP a community grant for $2,500 to be used towards the guardrail. “It’s so important to us to give back to the neighborhoods where we work and live,” said Eversource Community Relations Specialist Patricia Bandzes. “That’s why we’re excited to be part of this project so the public can take advantage of the beautiful outdoors and safely view the picturesque Willimantic River.”
WWP has set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise the remainder of the funds. “The guardrail is an important step in implementing our plans for the Whitewater Park. Safety is the highest priority and the guardrail will allow everyone to enjoy the wild beauty and power of the Willimantic River up close,” said Jana Roberson, WWP President. “With the guardrail in place, we can focus our efforts on developing the riverside park and trail head, along with future plans to create sustainable energy-generating public art and a whitewater kayaking destination.”
In addition to individual contributions, local establishments are also rallying to support the initiative. Willibrew, the popular local brewhouse and restaurant, is donating a portion of the sales from its Kettle Sour Series #7 specialty brew, and Papa Gino’s recently donated a portion of its pizza sales.
It’s no wonder WWP has the community’s support, since the site’s location adjacent to the downtown will create a win-win for visitors and businesses alike. “While economic developers often focus on business retention and recruitment, we must remember that quality of life is also a critical component for achieving successful community growth,” said Windham Economic Development Director Jim Bellano. “The Willimantic Whitewater Park’s goals are consistent with Windham’s Plan of Conservation and Development; in concert with our efforts for promoting recreation and tourism; and will contribute to the revitalization of our Main Street.”
CMSC’s $2,900 donation was announced during its 2019 VIBRANT MAIN STREETS awards celebration in downtown Willimantic on June 3rd. The annual event, hosted by a different downtown each year, celebrates CMSC’s Awards of Excellence winners who demonstrate outstanding efforts to bring traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts back to life, socially and economically. This year, downtown Willimantic was chosen to host the event for the nearly 200 business and civic leaders, state and local leaders, downtown professionals and volunteers, and economic and community development specialists in attendance.
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