Westport received $497,595 from the state Department of Housing on Thursday to improve the downtown street infrastructure, including new sidewalks, curbing, tree grates and guardrails.

The town was among 14 state municipalities to receive money from the Main Street Investment Fund, which granted $4,973,865 in total.

The Downtown 2020 Committee led Westport's efforts to receive the money.

"For many years, Westport has been exploring downtown improvements," said Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-136. "This grant will facilitate the pursuit of an ambitious program to enhance our downtown while preserving its historic and aesthetic character. I was glad to assist Westport's Downtown 2020 Committee in securing this grant."

The Main Street Investment Fund was created as part of the bipartisan 2011 Jobs Bill, which provides financial incentives to towns and commercial private owners. Awards must be used to pay for such projects as building improvements, signage, lighting and streetscape enhancements. The awards can range up to $500,000.

"Main Street Investment grants play an important role in strengthening economic development initiatives on the local level," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement announcing the grants. "This program is unique in that it builds a working partnership between state government and the smaller communities that are striving to strengthen their commercial centers and attract additional business. I applaud the leadership in Westport for their focus on creating accessible and livable downtowns."