Town seeking “crucial” input from entire community to revitalize Downtown Business Village

by beth on August 9, 2017

Post image for Town seeking “crucial” input from entire community to revitalize Downtown Business Village

Above: What changes would you like to see in the “Downtown Business Village” on Main Street? (images cropped from Town website)

The Town is asking residents, workers, and business owners in Southborough to participate in a survey. EDC is asking everyone to weigh in on what we want the downtown Main Street area to be. The purpose is to help efforts to improve the area.

An introduction by the Economic Development Committee explains that the Town is applying for assistance from the Urban Land Institute. ULI offers low cost consulting through its Technical Assistance Panel program. Experts work with communities, making recommendations for revitalization and land use projects.

The EDC and selectmen are looking for TAP advice to improve the Downtown Business Village. Their request for that advice will be “shaped” by the community’s wants and needs. They hope to learn more about what those are through this survey.

The survey asks for feedback on such issues such as:

  • What type of businesses would you like to see more of in that area?
  • Would you support small scale mixed-use buildings (street level retail/restaurants with 2nd level condos or appartments)?
  • What are your priorities for open space/common areas and for beautification efforts?
  • What are business owners’ advantages/disadvantages for doing business there?

To participate in the survey, click here.

[Note: As always, you are free to share your ideas with other readers on the blog through comments. But if you want it to count in the Town’s efforts – you really should fill out the survey!]

1 Kelly Roney August 9, 2017 at 12:29 PM

Questions 5 and 6 in the survey are ambiguous about ordering and should be fixed.

Question 5 says, “(5 stars highest rating; 1 star lowest rating)”. There are only four choices, and yet the survey tool behaves differently. If you use drag and drop to order your choices, the number of the item you drag to the top is 1.

The way SurveyMonkey works, the best rank is 1. (Seems natural.) I suggest removing the stuff about stars, since it seems to be backward – and sure to generate bad data.

2 Pam D August 11, 2017 at 10:32 AM

Thanks, Kelly for your comments. I took steps to clarify the ratings and numbers. We appreciate your participation.

3 Kelly Roney August 12, 2017 at 7:42 AM

Thank you, Pam. I submitted my survey this time. Question 18 is still messed up, but I did what I could.

4 Kelly Roney August 9, 2017 at 12:40 PM

Question 16 has options extremely dissatisified, very dissatisfied, satisfied, very satisfied, extremely satisfied. What about slightly dissatisfied and slightly satisfied.

Question 17 should use checkboxes instead of radio buttons, so you can pick more than one without picking “all of the above” – because we know there’s not a high enough volume of customers.

Question 18 is incorrectly done. There are 8 sub-items with three possible answers each, but you can only pick each answer once.

Can I help improve this survey?

5 beth August 9, 2017 at 1:28 PM

The survey ends with an email address if you are interested in helping EDC with their efforts. The email is for the Coordinator who I just learned is leaving. But, I’m sure that even if she is already gone, someone will be checking that email –

6 Kelly Roney August 9, 2017 at 12:55 PM

By the way, I really applaud the improvements Mauro’s Market is making. Ripping down the old boards and putting in windows really makes it more attractive, and the floor and layout are tremendously improved, too.

7 Southboro92 August 14, 2017 at 5:56 PM

Agreed. Makes it more inviting – especially to those new to town.

8 David parry August 10, 2017 at 12:47 AM

Glad you like it. I am the architect, for owner Vinny Patel. There is more to come.

1. The name is changing to Vinny’s Downtown Liquor and Market.

2. The wood paneling over the right front, will be replaced by two large windows, and inside these windows will be one large photo mural, super realism . it will be a shot of Vinny and his wife, smartly dressed, choosing a bottle of white wine, standing in front of the cooler doors.

It is, in fact a TrompeD’Oeil, because Vinny will look as if he is actually real, standing there. The mural is lit by adjustable LED lights. But, in reality, just 6 inches behind that glass window is actually the end of the giant cooler …. providing just enough space to slide in the mural.

3. Finally, there will be two tables with.chairs, and there, nearby will be loaves of freshly baked French bread …. The first of many new food selections, upgrading the quality.

9 Kelly Roney August 10, 2017 at 11:09 AM

I’ve been going to the market, consciously in support of the improvements.

Not sure I’ll find the mural an improvement. It sounds like gilding the lily to me. But I guess we’ll see.

10 Southboro92 August 14, 2017 at 5:59 PM

hmmm…..not to sure about the mural. How about a mural of Main Street (maybe from olden times?) There are some pix at the Spa to choose from.

11 Nancy Kolk August 15, 2017 at 10:20 AM

A mural showing Main Street from way back when would be wonderful!

12 Cathy September 21, 2017 at 10:07 AM

Sounds lovely.

13 Mike fuce August 10, 2017 at 9:48 AM

I just have one thing to add with MainStreet, EDC and the government getting involved in any of this. Let free enterprise and people take care of it and all theGovernment entities stay out. If traffic slow, too bad, slow down, or avoid it. If any business on main street wants to revitalize their shop, let them pay for. If the town needs to resurface the road or the sidewalks that’s their job, but stay out of the rest of it. If ever source and Verizon what to bury their poles and wires then have at it and pay for.

14 Kelly Roney August 10, 2017 at 11:07 AM

Yeah, that’s worked so well so far.

I have no interest in the town government building stores. That’s not their job, not in an affluent town like Southborough.

But the government has a partnership role, particularly in flexible zoning. The small town center was a great way to develop business and residential together, and it’s largely illegal (or grandfathered only) in much of the country. Hudson’s town planner brought back mixed use (buried in this article) in the town center, so employees and customers can live nearby. What could we do to make our zoning code more attractive?

Of course, Hudson has twice the population of Southborough, and it has a downtown with charming, good buildings, where the quality of buildings here is mixed. There’s no guarantee we could reach the critical mass where there’s foot traffic and frequent patrons.

There’s a lot more to making a good environment for business than laissez-faire. That’s what I’m looking for: a good environment for local businesses. Government needs to do its part.

15 JohnB September 2, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Could not agree with you more Mike.

16 Donna McDaniel August 25, 2017 at 9:35 PM

The Historical Society has a very full collection of photos of the “downtown” area over the years…including the much-missed by many–the inn, locale for weddings, etc., and gathering place in Southborough Arms (where prof. center now)…the collection has recently been organized by an archivist and the results are being entered onto the computer files. Check the SHS website and arrange a visit. P.S. You’ll be surprised at how many of the Main Street buildings are the same.

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