State Rep. John Frey (R-111) thanked Gov. Lamont for signing legislation he proposed to allow municipalities to create designated cultural districts to create awareness and promote economic development. The governor signed the bill, which becomes effective on Oct. 1, on Friday July 12.

“Promoting and encouraging the arts within our communities is great for performers who can showcase their talents locally, but also for the businesses that will benefit from increased tourism that art exhibitions and theater performances bring to the area,” Rep. Frey said. “Like Ridgefield, towns that are rich in history will be able to leverage the strength of their community assets to bring even more people together.”

Originally proposed by Rep. Frey, but brought to the full legislature as a Planning and Development Committee bill, H.B. 6939 — An Act Concerning the Establishment of Municipal Cultural Districts — lets local officials establish specific areas of their town or city as a cultural district to promote art, music and entertainment.

“This legislation, similar to Connecticut’s already established antiques, winery and brewery trails, will encourage municipalities to create specific areas for artists, musicians and other performers to showcase their abilities and talents,” Rep. Frey said. “These districts will help foster a sense of community and bring people together.”

Rep. Frey stressed that the measure does not regulate property use within any cultural district and is merely a recognition of the cultural venues within a certain geographic area. There are no additional costs to residents, businesses or visitors fees of any kind, he said. The concept was presented to Rep Frey last year by a Ridgefield constituent.

“Based on the interest in this bill from local and statewide arts and cultural organizations, as well as economic development commissions, I have high hopes that this can provide an economic boost to our arts, cultural and historically rich communities,” Rep. Frey added.

With passage of this law, Connecticut joins Massachusetts, Virginia and Indiana with similar cultural districts.