Deep Roots, Bright Future
Building community and fostering econonmic vitality since 1987
The central business district has developed over the past 300 years, with growth spurts during the turn of the last century and in the 1950’s. Architecturally, it is a mixture of styles, reflecting its slow but steady growth. Luckily, the district escaped any large scale remodeling and reconstruction efforts, except for the post office, the former town hall and a couple of other misguided modernization projects. By and large, the building facades have remained frozen in time and this is now seen as part of the charm of the district. We call it “authentic and historic”. One can trace the historic and economic growth of the district in the styles of the buildings.
In 1985, members of the Beautification Committee and Don Roe, the Town’s Economic Development Coordinator, began to look at the program called “National Main Street” which is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (based in Washington, DC).
In 1987, Wallingford Center, Inc. was incorporated as a private not for profit corporation and was reorganized under the National Main Street guidelines for such revitalization efforts. The Main Street program advocates preserving the historic facades and other unique features of the downtown area while also addressing other revitalization strategies such as promotion, business recruitment and retention, image enhancement, and a restoration of pride in the downtown as the heart of the community. It uses a 4-point approach: (1) Organization, (2) Economic Restructuring, (3) Promotion, and (4) Design.
Wallingford Center, Inc. and the Economic Development Commission convened a focus group made up of a cross-section of interested downtown leaders. The group is discussing the issues facing the downtown, developing a vision for the future and working on practical goals and strategies.
The town’s center is charming, the streetscape is lovely, and the businesses are all owner-operated, offering excellent personal service. There is a good cluster of antique shops and restaurants. Choate School (with the Paul Mellon Arts Center) is within walking distance, as are The Historic Society’s Parsons House and the future American Silver Museum. The first phase of a linear trail along the Quinnipiac River has been completed and there could be a future linkage to a walking tour of the historic downtown. In the center of the district is a 6-acre historic town cemetery. Residential neighborhoods surround the town’s center, and there are many apartment rental units in the downtown buildings and surrounding areas. There is foot traffic in the downtown.
The downtown business district defined as Curtis Street to Prince Street and Pomeroy Avenue to Washington Street.