The downtown is the symbolic heart of Middletown. When people from other communities think of Middletown, they think of the downtown. Therefore, our community’s reputation is tied directly to the health and prosperity of the downtown.
In addition to this, the assessed value of the downtown area is $88,596,290. This represents 5.2% of the grand list for the City of Middletown. The assessed value of Pratt and Whitney is $72,374,530, the assessed value of Aetna is $175,465,500 representing 4.3% and 10.4% of the grand list, respectively. A comparison of the number of jobs would also no doubt reveal that the downtown area employs a number equal to that of Aetna or Pratt and Whitney. Clearly, if the downtown were to be treated as one entity similar to a mall, it is one of our largest taxpayers and employers.
To protect Middletown’s reputation as a healthy and prosperous small city, to preserve the downtown as a major taxpayer and employer, and to grow this segment of the grand list, widespread support of this plan is essential.
Currently, some of the well-intentioned organizations committed to the improvement of downtown Middletown include:
- Armory Group
- Arriwani Hotel Committee
- Arts and Culture Commission
- Central Business Bureau
- Citizens Advisory Board
- Community Health Center
- Downtown Manager Advisory Board
- Downtown Manager, Middletown 2000
- Downtown Planning Sub-Committee
- Economic Development Committe
- Greater Middletown Preservation Trust
- Harbor Improvement Agency
- North End Arts Rising
- Oddfellows Playhouse and Nehemiah Housing
- Park and Recreation Commission
- Parking Authority
- Planning and Zoning Commission
- Police Building Committee
- Police Commission
- Preservation Board
- Public Works Commission
- Rail Exploratory Committee
- Redevelopment Agency
- Rockfall Foundation
- The YMCA
- Urban Forestry Commission
- Urban Trail Committee
- the Water Pollution Control Authority
- Youth Center Committee
These groups include the public and private sector, both for profit and not-for-profit. Their missions range from the arts, to historic preservation, to housing for the homeless. Clearly the community has attempted to address each and every issue in the downtown.
However, each agency has set its own priorities and these priorities have not been evaluated as to their relationship with any overall plan for the downtown. To date, there has been no agency or overall plan which articulates the long-term vision of official policy for the downtown. Through the plan and its statutory mandates, the Planning and Zoning Commission will begin to take on this role.
This section will now identify the recommendations which are considered to be critical to setting the foundation for future growth and prosperity in downtown Middletown. For this reason, these recommendations should be fully implemented one year after adoption of this plan. These recommendations are organized using the national “Main Street” approach with categories for Organization, Promotion, Design and Regulation and Economic Restructuring.
In order to keep the plan alive and continuously referenced, once the first series of recommendations are implemented, a Downtown Planning Sub Committee working with the Special Services District, will develop the next set of recommendations which merit immediate action.