NL Main Street wins awards for Parade, other efforts

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New London - A redesign of the Parade Plaza downtown, a revamped visitor information center and a city image-enhancement project won statewide awards Tuesday from the Hartford-based Connecticut Main Street Center.

New London Main Street, a booster of downtown businesses, was involved in two Awards of Excellence, including an image-enhancement honor for "The Big Picture" annual community-photo project. The group picture, which occurred April 5 in the Parade area, is open to anyone involved in revitalizing the waterfront district, including residents, shoppers, workers or volunteers.

New London Main Street also received a historic preservation award, along with New London Landmarks, City Center District, the City of New London, Greg Wies & Gardner Architects and Wilbur Smith Associates, for redesigning the city's Parade area. The project has made the Parade more accessible for community events and activities, including the seasonal skating rink that was erected over the winter.

The Rotary Club of New London won the city's third Award of Excellence in the competition for downtown beautification, a nomination submitted by New London Main Street. The club sponsored site improvements at the Trolley Visitor Information Center that were implemented by Kent + Frost and Richard Gipstein.

Other Main Street awards went to programs in Hartford, Middletown, Suffield, Waterbury and Willimantic. Patrick Schooley, owner of 560 on Main in downtown Willimantic, won for best adaptive reuse of a building, while David Wollner of Willimantic Brewing Co. took home the business owner lifetime achievement award and Andrew Gutt of Cafemantic in downtown Willimantic won as Main Street business owner of the year.

l.howard@theday.com

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