NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — The YMCA building in Norwich has been vacant for several years and is in pretty bad shape, but that is about to change.
The corner of Main Street and Broadway is the crux of the city’s revitalization effort. At lower Broadway, they want to make the road one way and one lane, plus extend the sidewalk so there is more of a pedestrian walkway and a gathering place. That goes all the way up to City Hall.
This effort got a real boost this week when the governor announced the city would be getting $2 million to renovate and revitalize the long vacant YMCA building.
Norwich does have a partner, Mattern Construction, and that helped it get this funding. The city is also doing its own match program which uses public and private funds to revitalize some of the empty storefronts and get new tenants in them.
Those wanting to move into an empty storefront will get a 50/50 match while developers wanting to bring market rate apartments to these Main Street buildings and the Reid & Hughes building further down Main Street could get a 10 to one match for development.
“You draw that thread of continuity. You drop that nice roundabout in the middle of it all and we’re really starting to turn the corner here in Norwich. It’s pretty exciting,” said Kevin Brown, president of the Norwich Community Development Corporation.
“I can imagine that it would be very, very cool to sort of fill in the blanks that we have in between some amazing businesses,” said Matthew Dutremble, owner of Craftsman Cliff Roasters.
Juiceman’s Cloud City Vape Shop just opened downtown, where the city hopes people can live, work and play.
“I think that’s great what they’re doing down here,” said Ina Goss, who owns Juiceman’s Cloud City Vape Shop.
The $2 million being used to rehab this building, which the city says sits right here at the eastern gateway to the downtown area, comes from the Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant Program in which the state provided $45 million to 12 cities and towns.