Waterbury Arts Festival Drives Downtown Revitalization
This weekend's annual Waterbury Arts Festival is a big deal in town, it's a family-friendly event as well as a major fundraiser for the community development organization Revitalizing Waterbury.
Vendor tents lined both sides of two closed-to-traffic roads in Waterbury on Saturday and a stage was set up in the middle of Stowe Street.
"The money will go to the work we do in town," said Revitalizing Waterbury Executive Director Karen Nevin. "For example, we will buy the flowers to plant in the barrels. We buy holiday lights and Christmas trees at the Christmas tree season. We have an economic development director. We run programs to do shopping promotions. We also market the town."
In addition, Revitalizing Waterbury is working on a couple of long-term projects that Nevin said will have a major impact on the downtown. One is a train sculpture that will be installed on the railroad bridge at the gateway to the town later this summer.
The other is a Main Street rebuilding project that will include replacing the roadway and water and sewer infrastructure, as well as extensive streetscaping. Nevin said it will complete the work Waterbury started after Tropical Storm Irene.
"That’s going to be the final transformational piece for this town," she said. "2011 was the flood. We did a lot of work from the flood. They restored the state complex, we did some restoration work – buildings restored. We’re bringing in this gorgeous sculpture. And the last thing is going to be this gorgeous street – historic lampposts, potted hanging plants, sidewalks, everything you want."
The Main Street Project is scheduled to start next spring, and take two years to complete.