Updated: Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 6:52 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 22 Oct 2012, 5:59 PM EDT
STORRS, CONN. (WTNH) -- The University of Michigan has Ann Arbor, the University of Vermont has Burlington, now UConn has Storrs Center in downtown Mansfield, a town square many have said was missing from the Connecticut campus.
Mayor Betsy Paterson has been hearing about it since she moved to town in 1967.
"We're trying to make this an appealing college town not only to college students, but to the people who live here," Mayor Paterson of Mansfield said.
Froyo World is among the first eleven stores to open their doors. Husky Pizza, Subway, and Insomnia Cookies are also here allowing many to sleep easier with the completion of this first phase of construction.
"I'm a senior here and it's been needing this for a while. UConn has been missing out, we needed a downtown area. This is the best thing that happened in a long time at this school," Senior Mark Viola said.
Viola says it's a safe, happening place for students day or night. Retail, rental units, even electric car hook ups in the parking garage.
Congressman Joe Courtney helped secure some of the federal funding.
"It really does show that small business and local government and support from outside that helps with infrastructure projects that all can work together to really create a good environment for growth and jobs," Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney said.
Rep. Courtney spoke with Mary Cox, a former UConn employee who is happy to see the town square replace the strip malls which lined the Storrs campus.
"Oh my gosh. It's grown leaps and bounds. I'm hoping my younger one will come to UConn. I want her to come to UConn," Cox of Canterbury said.
The center aims to impress those here and those thinking about coming to UConn.