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New London Main Street Anticipates Challenges In Coming Year

Downtown business organization highlights successes and foresees difficulties at annual meeting

Officials with were optimistic for the future at the organization’s annual meeting on Thursday, but also expected that some activities may have to be scrapped for the coming year.

Penny Parsekian, the chief executive officer of New London Main Street, said the organization will continue its most successful programs in the coming year. She said funding difficulties, including cuts from to funds from the city in the 2013 fiscal year, may make it necessary to forego others. 

“It’s very difficult to pin this down,” said Parsekian.

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Parsekian said the organization will continue its downtown ambassadors program, which has people greet and guide visitors at downtown theater performances and other events. It also plans to keep holding two food strolls per year as well as the waterfront family event Fish Tales, Tugs, & Sails. However, she said it is possible that the holiday event will not take place. This event includes a parade, music and dance performances, and Christmas tree lighting.

“We love this event,” said Parsekian. “But it may be too much given our budget constraints this year.”

Parsekian also said it might not be possible to print a New London downtown map and guide. This was cited as one of the top 10 accomplishments for the 2011-2012 year, with 65,000 copies distributed throughout southeastern Connecticut to highlight the city’s attractions. Parsekian said she hopes the guide can be retained as well.

“You see people walking around downtown New London, this is what they’re carrying,” she said.

The organization named the establishment of a seasonal skating rink on as its top accomplishment in the past year. The rink counted 11,000 skaters during the winter, and downtown businesses rated the attraction favorably. Katie Wick, a member of the board of directors who presented the annual program review, said the rink was successful in bringing traffic downtown during a traditionally slow time for the business district.

“That was what we were trying to do,” said Wick. “We were trying to bring people to our fairly dead downtown in the winter.”

Parsekian said the rink also presented a long-term draw to downtown as opposed to the shorter-term attraction of individual events. Bill Craig, treasurer and chairman of the organization's finance committee, said the rink was a positive development but that it also represented a hefty investment of time and money. He said rink revenues were slightly below projections, but that New London Main Street will have a better understanding of operating the rink this coming winter.

The organization will also put up new business district flags on downtown light posts and seek greater visitor traffic from Fishers Island. New London Main Street has taken out a full-page advertisement in the island’s phone directory, and several other local businesses have also done promotions there.

“It’s really making a statement, of we’re here to do business and it’s good business,” said Parsekian.

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lion king June 01, 2012 at 03:02 PM
so the rink lost money ,just say it ,fish tails and tugs ,never saw many people at that event ,lets see a list of salarys that are drawn and perhaps that will answer a few questions,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
formerlyford June 03, 2012 at 10:36 PM
go read David Collins' old column in The Day. Salaries at NLMS are modest, to say the least

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