Ridgefield is a strong candidate to be one of the state of Connecticut’s first towns with an official arts and culture district.

“Town and cities have to apply for designation as an arts and culture district,” said John Devine of the town’s Economic and Community Development Commission (ECDC).

“It basically requires that the venues are within walking distance,” he said.

“We’ll get approved because we pretty much personify what the bill looks like,” Devine said. “We see no obstacles to getting approval, we just have to go through the process.”

Having an officially recognized arts and culture district should be useful in the town’s marketing efforts, and is also expected to mean the town will benefit from some state marketing of Connecticut as an arts and culture destination.

“There will be marketing efforts by the state to drive visitors to towns with the arts and culture designation,” Devine said.

“Culturally designated Towns will be listed on a State Website, and Towns can market themselves as culturally significant,” says the Economic and Community Development Commission’s Dec. 2 meeting minutes. “The state vetting process is slow, approximately nine months, and includes State employees coming to the Towns, seeing the sites, walking the district.”

Devine is confident Ridgefield will meet the qualifications for the designation, in part, because the bill creating the cultural districts was originally put forward by Ridgefield’s 111th District State Rep. John Frey — and it’s not a surprise that the town fits well into the criteria.

“But the process is now that towns and cities will have to apply for the designation, and that state grants approval,” Devine said.