September 13, 2010 – Imagine what Marlborough’s downtown could become with a concerted effort to capitalize on its many resources and its strategic geographical position in the region? That is the mindset of a core group of downtown business owners and professionals who believe that Marlborough’s greater Main Street area is poised for significant growth in the coming decade.
Led by restaurant owners Mary and Randy Scott, Marlborough Savings Bank President Rick Bennett, Chamber of Commerce President Susanne Morreales Leeber and Attorney James Golden, planning meetings have already been held for a new association named “Marlborough Downtown Village.” An official kickoff meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 21st, at 5:00 PM at the Main Street Café, 182 Main Street. All interested parties, including residents, workers, professionals, landlords and business owners are encouraged to attend.
The aim is to engage residents, landlords, merchants and professionals to work together to enhance downtown in physical appearance, and with respect to the mix of retail offerings, with community events that would increase traffic in the Main Street district. Already, there has been significant progress in two of these areas.
The new headquarters for Marlborough Savings Bank, to officially open this month, has already transformed a major downtown intersection. Combined with other improvements made on adjacent corners, the intersection of Route 85 and Granger Boulevard now serves as an attractive gateway to the downtown district.
A little bit further north, the old Fire Station at the corner of Route 85 and Main Street has been nicely renovated and its new owners have been working hard to turn the once deteriorating building into at a downtown showpiece.
Additionally, Main Street now hosts several major annual events along with numerous smaller attractions that are drawing people downtown. The big event is the annual Labor Day parade, followed a month later by the Heritage Festival, each of which gathers big crowds to the Main Street district. More recently, the Taste of Downtown and More has been well received, while surprising even longtime city residents who had been unaware of the quality and variety of dining options along Main Street.
Addressing a group of downtown stakeholders at a meeting earlier this summer, Mary Scott said she hoped to create a cohesive downtown with an association comprised of doers committed to change, to create a positive business climate, and a make downtown place people want to do business and also enjoy fine dining.
Serving as a guide for those aspiring to develop a strong downtown group is a study that was completed earlier this year. Commissioned by Marlborough Economic Development Corporation, formerly Marlborough 2010, the study titled, Business Action Plan: Downtown in Focus, was drafted by Tufts University students. The report examines downtown’s assets and liabilities and reviewed thriving downtown districts elsewhere and includes thirty-plus pages of analysis and recommendations.
Organizers will soon engage in outreach to those working and living in the downtown area, extending an invitation to a general meeting scheduled for the 21st. Among other things, Scott is hoping for a group that becomes effective at both lobbying City Hall for downtown improvements and developing an improved sense of community among greater Main Street workers and residents alike.
Those interested in learning more are invited to visit or call Mary or Randy Scott at the Main Street Café, 182 Main Street, 508-485-7664.