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Group Hopes to Revitalize Downtown

November 12, 2010 – Despite a recession and social lives devolving into online communication, a group of concerned business owners and residents are developing a plan to revitalize downtown Marlborough.  

Owners of the Main Street Café, Mary and Randy Scott have been involved in the revitalization of Marlborough’s downtown since the beginning and are charter members of the Marlborough Downtown Village Association.  She said, “It kind of started with a meeting with the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation last spring.” 

The committee is somewhat guided by a study completed by Tufts University students entitled Business Action Plan: Downtown in Focus.  The study cited the importance of communication in downtown communities and provided ideas for making short-term, low-cost initiatives to revitalize the downtown.  These initiatives could include better signage, a public art program or better use or current constructs. 

A core group currently meets twice a month and are often joined by local politicians or other enthused citizens.  The group includes Rick Bennett and Jim Hickey from Marlborough Village Savings Bank, Jim Ash from the Main Street Journal Paper, Steve Hitner of Metro West printing, Chamber of Commerce president Susanne Morreales Leeber, the Scotts and Jim Golden, attorney at law

While the group is still envisioning a grand plan, they have created a mission statement that aims, “To create an environment that attracts visitors, shoppers and tenants, and also develops a communication network to keep stakeholders abreast of issues and events that would affect them.”  To execute the plan, they have begun to reach out to city hall, ethnic communities and business owners for funding and collaboration while hosting events. 

Their first event, beginning in early December is tentatively titled ‘Holiday Window Painting’ and will team the arts department at Marlborough high school with local business owners who will all paint their window fronts.  Visitors will be able to stroll down the main street and vote for their favorite window. 

Mary Scott wants to see a more vibrant downtown, “We have a lot of wonderful services and restaurants, but in this economy, it’s going to take time.”  She also cited community events such as the Labor Day parade, Heritage Festival and the Taste of Downtown as vital to the process. 

“We’re looking to see some visual improvements in town to make it more welcoming,” she said, “but we also want it to be a place that people come for events.” 

The Marlborough Downtown Village meets on Tuesdays from 5 to 6 p.m  “We want people to become involved and eventually we will have public meetings,” Scott said. 

The Scotts and all of her partners are confident and steadfast in their desire to better their surroundings and revitalize downtown Marlborough.  “If you keep a vision and it’s changing and you don’t give up on it, it’s so important,” she said,  “It’s always a work in progress.”

Those interested in joining the effort should call the Main Street Café at 508-485-7664

This story originally appeared here