In February, the Connecticut Humanities Council will be moving its offices from South Main Street to the building next to Broad Street Books, a change that will promote business, provide jobs, and clean up a vacant building.

Last November, when construction on the building started, many rumors started about what would be occupying the empty space. The building formerly housed Color Mart, an art supply store, but has been vacant for a few years.

There were suggestions that the University was going to use the building to house more classrooms or expand the bookstore, but the University does not own the property.

The CHC is Connecticut’s branch of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The council gives grants to museums and historical societies, and provides various community outreach programs, particularly ones that promote reading.

The CHC has been using Wesleyan’s resources for about 30 years, and is looking to strengthen its relationship with the University. One of the ways it hopes to do this is by providing students with more work-study opportunities.

“We want to utilize [Wesleyan’s] resources, and we want Wesleyan to utilize our resources,” said Lisa Comstock, a CHC staff member for 17 years and the program director of Motheread/Fatheread Connecticut, a program within CHC that works to promote family reading.

With an in-house staff that has grown to about 20 employees, the CHC is moving to a larger space as its programs continue to expand. At the same time, it wishes to be closer to the University.

“It will be good for business,” said Ed Thorndike ’89 and co-owner of Red and Black Café.

Comstock is looking forward to being close to the University cafe, noting that catering services would be greatly appreciated by the office.

“We are looking to develop a relationship with Red and Black,” she said.

The owners of Red and Black, along with many others, are excited about the change that the renovations will make to the building. Windows have been installed all around the building’s façade, and new offices are being built inside.

“They are cleaning up the eyesore that that building was,” said Red and Black co-owner Karen Kaffen. “It just makes a nicer statement for prospective students and current students.”

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