By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – An opportunity to attract cultural enterprises, business and new jobs growth, enhance property values, and expand tourism – all without taxing residents – is one step closer after the City Council endorsed a Massachusetts Cultural Council District ?application at its June 4 meeting.
The designation is offered through the state's Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and was first brought to the attention of the City Council by Ward 6 City Councilor Edward Clancy.
The council unanimously approved the request after several residents spoke in favor of the measure at a public hearing held during the meeting.
Mary Scott is the chair of the Marlborough Downtown Village group.
“We have been reaching out to the city's cultural organizations and receiving great response, and working with and keeping a good line of communication open with the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and we are making much progress in developing our downtown area,” Scott told the council.
“We hope that you will endorse this application so we can apply to the MCC for grants and other benefits derived from having this wonderful designation,” she added.
A cultural district is a compact, walkable area of a community with a concentration of cultural facilities, activities and assets. Districts attract visitors to enjoy and experience a range of cultural and commercial activities. Possibilities in Marlborough could include the annual “Taste of Marlborough,” and the city's annual Labor Day parade, Scott noted.
The organization of residents, business and property owners, as well as the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce, have been working for the past two years to attract artists and other cultural enterprises to the Main Street area. The group has also been focused on preserving and finding new uses for some of the area's historic buildings.
To enhance the initiative, local artists will be displaying their work in the windows of businesses in the downtown area, which is bounded by Broad Street, East Main Street, Granger Boulevard and Lincoln Street. Signage on Interstate 495 will alert travelers of the district, and the city will receive marketing and promotion assistance from the state's Office of Travel and Tourism.
Also speaking in favor of the state-designated district were Susanne Morreale-Leeber, president and CEO of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce; Tim Cummings, the MEDC's director of operations; Bob Kane, executive director of Old Marlborough; and Randy Scott, owner of the Main Street Café, (commonly known as “Bumpy's”).