Committee to hold public forum on downtown Greenfield recovery plan

  • Pedestrians cross Main Street in downtown Greenfield. Staff File Photo/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 9/14/2021 3:41:59 PM

GREENFIELD — Following a final presentation from the city’s consultants late last month, a public forum has been scheduled to discuss the projects prioritized as part of the Local Rapid Recovery Plan Program.

The forum will be held during the Sustainable Greenfield Implementation Committee’s regular meeting on Sept. 23, starting at 5 p.m. via Zoom. Anyone interested can join at https://bit.ly/3luJIij

“The Finepoint (Associates) presentation and their final report contain a great deal of food for thought as we determine the best way to bring our downtown businesses back from the challenges they faced during the height of the pandemic,” Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said. “This is an excellent opportunity for the citizens of Greenfield to have input into that recovery.”

Greenfield was one of six Franklin County communities to receive one of the state-issued recovery grants. Over the last several months, the state-hired consultants conducted studies of the downtown area, which included a survey of business owners. The result of the effort was 12 recommendations aimed at revitalizing downtown.

Those recommendations include:

■Create a pedestrian plaza at Court Square in front of City Hall.

■Develop a marketing initiative for downtown.

■Implement a request for a proposal process to solicit developer interest in the First National Bank building.

■Explore the use of the Urban Center Housing Tax Increment Financing to encourage residential development in the upper floors of downtown properties.

■Develop a parking benefit district.

■Develop a business director/community information kiosk.

■Complete a 100% Corner Demonstration Project with multiple improvements, including streetscape elements, murals, banners and improved storefronts.

■Create a storefront and sign improvement program.

■Implement a wayfinding system.

■Install additional streetscape elements.

■Revise and implement bylaw regulations to encourage a variety of downtown signs.

Each of the ideas was described in greater depth during a final presentation last month by Peg Beranger, a partner with FinePoint Associates — the consulting firm provided to the city through a $90,000 Local Rapid Recovery Plan Program grant — and Ted Brovitz of Brovitz Community Planning.

Beranger said during the presentation that potential funding sources for the recommendations include the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), from which Greenfield was recently allotted $5.1 million, or the Community Preservation Act.

“We expect there’s going to likely be some additional funding sources and priorities for the RRP projects announced in the coming weeks,” she said.

Community and Economic Development Director MJ Adams previously said the city is gearing up to receive community feedback this month on which ideas are the most crucial, which will require more research and exploration, and which ideas may not work.

Written feedback is invited on the 12 projects, and should be submitted to Adams by Sept. 17 at mj.adams@greenfield-ma.gov.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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