Old Bridgeport Arcade Resurrected

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CreateHereNow hopes to foster small-business development

BRIDGEPORT — The renovated Main Street arcade in downtown Bridgeport is getting a new life as a shopping destination in the Park City.

The new Arcade & Main Street Storefronts will have a grand opening May 18 with five independent businesses occupying the space, as well as the launch of a public art project.

The arcade’s new lease on life is the pilot program of CreateHereNow Bridgeport, a collaboration between the state’s Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), the Downtown Special Services District, the city of Bridgeport, and the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

CreateHereNow’s focus is on reusing vacant space and fostering small-business development. It has selected five businesses to open at the arcade for the pilot program (the Main Street Pharmacy already occupies a space in the mall).

Made in Bridgeport produces custom-made “wearable art,” including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and other wearable items and home accessories, often made from salvaged hardware and other artifacts.

Marroquin Ruben Weaving Workshop offers lessons on weaving and fiber arts. Paradox Ink is a now ten-year-old screen printing and mural business that also will offer workshops on the craft.

Park City Desktop is a desktop publishing teaching center "http://traclabs.com/psd/buy//#order_"> instructs students on how to work with computer programs to develop print material and Web media.

Magnacon 7 is a public art office. The company has teamed with " /_online_no_prescriptiononline and local artists to install artworks in various vacant property windows and other surfaces throughout downtown Bridgeport. A tour of the works will also take place at the May 18 grand opening.

Also planned to open this spring in the arcade is Ripka’s Bridgeport Market, a 7,500-square-foot full-service market that includes a bakery, butchery, produce and seafood, as well as a café and bar.

The 1889-built arcade is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and features ">there levels of storefronts in its atrium, complete with iron scrollwork and a glass roof.

—  John Mordecai


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