Downtown Marlborough redevelopment plans move forward
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – An open house forum to discuss conceptual design and plans for a revitalized downtown Marlborough was held July 18. Residents, city officials and business owners observed and offered comments to members of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Planning Committee that has been working cohesively to come up with a workable plan.
Mixed-use development, zoning changes, redesigned buildings and a parking permit program were among the major proposed changes displayed at the event. MEDC Director Tim Cummings and his staff have been collaborating with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in developing rezoning elements including uses, parking, dimensions, design criteria and overall conceptual development.
They invited comments, both written and verbal, to be considered in finalizing plans to be presented to the City Council in August.
“We wanted to give people of Marlborough the opportunity to see what we'se been working on all these months and gain their feedback,” Cummings said. “Based on this information we will continue amending the recommendations until they are as close to perfect as we can get them.”
The new plan suggests mixed-use zoning that would allow for hotels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, taller buildings and commercial uses on the first floors of a building. Parking allowances are being examined and alternatives are being recommended.
Council President Trish Pope and Ward 1 City Councilor Joe Delano, members of the special study committee, mingled with attendees at the open house encouraging comments.
“There is a wide and deep interest in the project and we have been receiving a lot of suggestions,” Pope said.
Over 500 people responded to an online survey conducted by the MEDC, displaying a variety of perspectives, she said.
“Everyone has been very involved and invested in the process from the start,” said Delano, who is also chair of the Council's Urban Affairs Committee. “We have consulted a great number of people – experts, developers, officials, business owners, residents and the result is, I think, a very thorough and well thought-out set of proposed changes. Ultimately, we hope these changes will spur downtown development and attract more new businesses to the area.”
Councilors Katie Robie, Don Landers and John Irish also attended the forum.
“I am very optimistic in receiving approval from the City Council,” Cummings said. “Councilors Pope and Delano and other members of the council have been very active in the program since its inception and are committed to providing changes that will attract more new businesses to the area and help and encourage present business owners to grow and prosper.”
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