(April 2020) This month, the Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC) announced that the Global City Norwich Program is a recipient of this year’s Awards of Excellence. Global City Norwich, being recognized for its excellence in Events & Programming, is one of eight initiatives from communities across Connecticut set to receive the award. 

According to the CMSC, the annual Awards of Excellence was established in 2003 to “recognize outstanding projects, individuals and partnerships in community efforts to bring traditional downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts back to life, socially and economically.”

Global City Norwich is a multi-year project supporting the revitalization of Downtown Norwich and is funded by the Chelsea Groton Foundation, whose mission is to support the ongoing commitment in partnership for the long-term growth of the community. 

“I can think of fewer programs more deserving of this award than Global City Norwich,” comments Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank. “Stimulating economic activity in our historic Downtown while engaging with broader cultural communities who call Norwich home is exactly what Chelsea Groton Foundation is proud to support.” Over the last two years, the program has hosted more than a dozen cultural experiences in Downtown Norwich, including festivals celebrating Peruvian, Polish, Dominican, and Cape Verdean cultures. 

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from the Connecticut Main Street Center,” says Global City Norwich Liaison Suki Lagrito, who has led the charge for the Norwich initiative since its inception in 2018. “But this recognition isn’t about our efforts,” Lagrito remarks, ”It’s really a testament to the cultures and communities that have embraced Global City and have supported us in enriching Norwich’s economic activity and have leaned into celebrating its overall vibrancy.”   

In addition to celebrating Norwich’s diverse community, the initiative has also partnered with the Norwich Community Development Corporation (NCDC) in an effort to increase the occupancy of storefronts downtown. Through various educational programming and outreach efforts, Global City Norwich is attributed to about 30% of new businesses in Downtown Norwich since 2018, leveraging over $300,000 in economic investment and spending. 

As for the program’s next steps, Lagrito and NCDC will continue to support cultural groups and provide business education programs, with a renewed focus on cultivating spaces in Downtown Norwich. According to NCDC President Robert Mills, programs such as Vanilla Boxing will help to activate vacant spaces by removing the barriers preventing entrepreneurs from moving in. “We’re also in the process of sourcing entrepreneurial curiosity through working labs with local high school and college students,” Mills shares. 

Joining Norwich among the communities with organizations and initiatives receiving recognition are Bridgeport, New Britain, Manchester, Rockville, Simsbury, Waterbury, and Windsor Locks.

CMSC will present each award locally in the community in which the project is located later this year.   

To learn more about Global City Norwich, please contact Suki Lagrito at suki@globalcitynorwich.com or 860.304.8505.

To learn more about the CMSC Awards of Excellence, please contact Marketing & Development Director Christine Schilke at christine@ctmainstreet.org or 860.280.2356.