Marlborough, MASS. September 22, 2017 – The Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) hopes to brand the City of Marlborough as a destination and prioritize the development of its downtown area over the coming years.
These are among an extensive list of the organization’s long-term strategic goals, which were formulated during a brainstorming session with city leaders back in May.
For the first time, last night, MEDC executive director, Meredith Harris, shared the list with a record crowd of about 90 local business and community leaders, who had gathered for the organization’s 7th annual Founders Reception at the Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) headquarters in Marlborough.
Harris outlined the MEDC’s ambitious goals for the downtown area, which include:
- Attracting modern amenities like brewpubs, wine bars, and coffee houses;
- Hosting more family-friendly events and festivals;
- Encouraging a variety of unique uses for existing buildings;
- Incentivizing façade improvements and beautification;
- Engaging and working closely with local landlords.
To improve Marlborough’s brand and make the city more attractive to visitors, potential residents, and people who work at local companies, the MEDC also hopes to put its future efforts towards:
- Promoting Marlborough’s redevelopment opportunities, including the Walker Building and the city’s airport;
- Revitalizing Marlborough’s French Hill area and Lincoln Street;
- Attracting trendy retail and restaurants for the city’s growing young population;
- Improving the city’s overall connectivity and walkability.
- Harris stressed that, while the MEDC will work to modernize and develop Marlborough as a great destination for visitors and a preferred location for residents to live, work and play, the goal is to ultimately preserve and build on the city’s heritage.
“We like to call our development approach ‘tradition meets innovation,’” Harris said. “We know that the Marlborough community is very proud of the city’s history, and we definitely want to maintain that. At the same time, Marlborough is evolving— more and more innovative and technologically-advanced companies are moving to the city and the number of young people who live and work here is quickly growing. So, we are looking for the best ways to make this city a one-stop-shop for this next generation, without compromising the things that make Marlborough this uniquely big-city place with a small-town feel.”
In 2014, the MEDC led the downtown area rezoning efforts, which, among other things, allowed for brewpubs, music recording studios and other new building uses by-right. This year, the MEDC led a successful campaign to attract Marlborough’s first microbrewery, Walden Woods Brewing, to the city’s downtown area. In July, the MEDC also launched an amenities funding program, as part of its existing suite of financial incentives, to help attract more amenity-type businesses to service the community. In August, the MEDC launched, in conjunction with Zagster, Inc., Marlborough’s first bike-share program, offering residents and visitors an alternative way to get around and enjoy the city’s trails and parks.
“Marlborough prides itself on being both a business and a family friendly city, and the MEDC is the secret ingredient to keeping this balance,” said Mayor Arthur Vigeant. “The existence of the MEDC, which is the only economic development organization of its kind in Massachusetts, tells our business community that we are ready to support them and help them succeed in our city. And on the other hand, these same employers support and advance our residents by creating jobs, making infrastructure improvements, increasing property values and contributing to the advancement of our education system and the expansion of our other city services.”
Last night’s Founders Reception was held at the SOMA headquarters, in an effort to introduce local leaders to the sports organization’s facility and ongoing work. Last year, SOMA moved one of its largest state events, the Tournament of Champions, to Marlborough. This year, close to 1,000 athletes and 400 volunteers took part in the weekend-long tournament, which according SOMA Vice President of Advancement and Marketing, Nick Savarese, resulted in more than 500 hotel rooms and 1,000 local dinners.
“We believe that our athletes deserve the best, in terms of venues they compete in, and the tournament’s move to Marlborough has allowed us to provide our athletes with top world-class athletic facilities,” Savarese said.
Special Olympics athlete Beth Donahue, who was a guest speaker at last night’s event, shared an important message with the audience.
“Support your local athlete,” Donahue said. “It’s our goal at Special Olympics to build awareness together. Support from people like you helps athletes to find their voice and sends the message that we should all focus on our abilities, not our disabilities.”
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For high resolution images of the MEDC Founders Reception, go to: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/c8v7niq0a3uljlr/AADkW6t5S9oRf-EtnYNcNeCXa?dl=0
The 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. MEDC works with municipal and private investors to foster economic development, job growth and community revitalization.
For a complete overview of MEDC, visit MarlboroughEDC.com.
About Special Olympics Massachusetts:
Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA) provides year-round sports training, athletic competition and other health-related programming for athletes with intellectual disabilities throughout the state. For more information about SOMA, visit www.specialolympicsma.org.
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