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MEDC plans major rezoning to spur economic development in Marlborough

Marlborough, MASS. February 4, 2014 – The Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has announced plans to bring forward substantial zoning changes in the City of Marlborough, in order to spur economic growth in the Downtown area.

MEDC Executive Director Tim Cummings says his organization will aim to begin enacting those changes as early as May.

The announcement comes after the release of a detailed report, compiled by a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Boston, which outlines strategies for the redevelopment and revitalization of the Marlborough Downtown area.

Several experts from the nine-member panel presented their report, titled “Coordinating Action in Downtown Marlborough,” in front of the City Council’s Urban Affairs Committee today.

“There is no doubt that Marlborough is a thriving suburban community,” said Cummings. “We just needed to get an expert opinion and some concrete suggestions on how to go about developing the city to its full potential. The TAP report is full of very viable and actionable recommendations, so I am eager to kick off the implementation process and involve the public in the next steps.”

Convened at the request of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), in partnership with MassDevelopment, the ULI TAP members visited the city in September 18, 2013, to explore the downtown area and interview more than a dozen local officials, business owners and area residents.

The panel experts, who represent a range of disciplines associated with urban revitalization, studied Marlborough’s current level of downtown development, parking and zoning regulations, availability of transportation, business incentive programs, and other matters relevant to the city’s long-term goals.

Based on this, they developed a vision plan for the Marlborough Downtown, which includes three primary objectives:

  • Transforming the area from a Main Street strip commercial corridor to a veritable Downtown District;
  • Encouraging new development and businesses to create a vibrant retail, restaurant and arts destination;
  • Improving connections and links to existing citywide assets.

Among the panel’s key recommendations to achieve this vision plan are:

  • Changing zoning and parking regulations in the downtown area to attract new development and encourage commercial growth;
  • Implementing various physical improvements along Main Street, Granger Boulevard and the Assabet River Rail Trail to create a vibrant, convenient and inviting downtown district for residents and visitors;
  • Making use of creative financing to incentivize redevelopment initiatives;
  • Encouraging adaptive reuse projects to revive currently-vacant historic downtown buildings;
  • Creating a local transportation network to ease access to the downtown area for residents and employees living and working outside the downtown core.

“I am very happy to have MEDC working with the City Council to help us turn some of these recommendations into reality,” said Urban Affairs Subcommittee Chair Joe Delano. “The first step is for the MEDC and MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Council) to work with us to begin crafting a city ordinance that the City Council is comfortable with to allow for some additional uses here in the downtown.”

Marlborough is the seventh of a total of eight cities throughout the Commonwealth, where ULI Boston and MassDevelopment have partnered to support TAPs in an effort to encourage sustainable redevelopment.

“I applaud Marlborough for embracing the TAP program and carefully considering the panel’s recommendations,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We’re pleased the expertise this program offers will lead to transforming Main Street and spurring economic development in the City’s downtown.”

The full TAP report is available for viewing or download at www.MarlboroughEDC.com/downloads/.

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About MEDC:
Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is the state chartered economic development corporation for the City of Marlborough, MA and represents a public-private partnership for planning. We work with municipal and private investors to foster economic development, job growth and community revitalization and development. For a complete overview of MEDC visit www.marlboroughedc.com.

For press inquiries, contact:
Lora Markova
Communications Manager