Three towns through which the Minuteman Bikeway runs are seeking to expand its benefits from recreation to business development.
Under a $140,000 grant, FinePoint Associates, a Westford consultant, aims to help Arlington, Lexington and Bedford find opportunities as the pandemic declines.
The planning grant from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative aims to give every municipality in Massachusetts the opportunity to develop plans tailored to the unique economic challenges and immediate Covid-19 impacts that have affected town businesses.
The three towns have teamed up to see how they can leverage the traffic on the shared asset of the Minuteman Bikeway to drive more customers to their business districts as a recovery strategy. Areas of focus are Arlington Heights, East Lexington and Bedford Center.
“Arlington’s commercial districts are a key part of our community and our identity as a town,” Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine said in a March 8 news release. “Partnering with Lexington and Bedford on this project will leverage an important regional asset in the Minuteman Bikeway, with an average of 3,000 users per day, to our local business’ benefit.”
To begin in mid-March
Sarah Stanton, Bedford’s town manager, said in the release: “Our communities have a long history of working together, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the towns of Lexington and Arlington to leverage the important regional asset of the Minuteman Bikeway to benefit our businesses and community. We hope to encourage both residents and visitors using the Bikeway to bike and shop locally.”
James Malloy, Lexington’s town manager, said:.“This joint effort will allow Lexington, Bedford and Arlington to work toward creating a recovery plan that will help local businesses increase foot-traffic and support a sustainable economic growth strategy post-Covid-19 pandemic leveraging the local asset that’s a common link between the three communities.”
The project aims to begin in mid-March and will include a thorough analysis and exploration of Covid-related challenges and barriers. The technical assistance is focused on developing a marketing and branding plan based on the Minuteman Bikeway for the three communities and the identified business districts.
The plan will identify the businesses and cultural assets in each district. It will generate an action-oriented plan to help the towns develop immediate strategies for short-term recovery and conclude with a set of projects and strategies necessary to address Covid-19 recovery.
Ultimately, this planning process will provide the three communities and their stakeholders with a concise road map for project-related investments that support alignment with existing public resources as well as the potential to leverage additional resources from other partners and funders.
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This news announcement was published Tuesday, March 9, 2021.