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Group debates Marlborough's future

June 9, 2011 – Perhaps Marlborough needs to improve its options for the 20-something crowd. Maybe the city should have public transportation.

A few dozen residents, employees and officials weighed these ideas and more during last night’s public forum to prepare the city’s economic development master plan.

To keep the tax rate stable for homeowners, the city needs a lot of growth, officials said. But the framers of the master plan, which is scheduled for completion in September, want to know how comfortable the public would be with certain kinds of development.

The city, especially downtown, needs more activities geared toward young adults, said Betsy McIntyre, whose two children moved away from Marlborough to be closer to Boston.

“This planning process is a great opportunity for us to recapture the 20-somethings and have them stay in Marlborough,” McIntyre said at the Massachusetts International Academy on Locke Drive last night.

Councilor Edward Clancy threw out the idea of a transit system.

Better access to downtown could help businesses there, said Ken Buckland of The Cecil Group, which moderated public forum.

Other areas considered for improvement included Rte. 85 near the Southborough line and Mechanic Street by the Assabet River Rail Trail.

The forum is part of the process to create an economic development master plan. The plan, being prepared through the Marlborough Economic Development Corp., aims to determine the community’s vision for the city’s future and identify what actions the city needs to take to achieve its goals.

The framers of the master plan have reached out for help in other ways, including focus groups and interviews.

An online Visual Preference Survey allows participants to choose images of developments they would like to see in the city, from homes to offices to parking lots.

Mayor Nancy Stevens asked the crowd to talk to friends, relatives and colleagues about participating in the survey.

“We’re investing a lot of time, energy and money into this economic development master plan,” she said. “It’s important every voice is heard.”

For more information and to take the survey, visit marlboroughedc.com.

This story originally appeared here