Arlington, Bedford, and Lexington have been awarded a $120,000 grant-to be split among the three communities-to develop plans that will “tailored to the unique economic challenges and immediate Covid-19 impact that have affected downtowns, town centers, and commercial areas” throughout the state. Titled the “Local Rapid Recovery Planning Grant”, the grant has been awarded by the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative.
Bedford’s Director of Economic Development Alyssa Sandoval said that Bedford teamed up with Lexington and Arlington on how to leverage traffic on the Minuteman Bikeway to drive more customers to the towns’ business districts. In the case of Bedford, the business district will include roughly the area from the Town Common east to the Marketplace, along with the businesses at Depot Park.
Sandoval pointed out that as more people have used the Bikeway and as usage will likely increase even after pandemic restrictions are eased, this is an opportunity to survey businesses to determine their most pressing needs. The consulting firm FinePoint Associates, which conducted the Great Road business market study several years ago, has been hired to do the survey. One advantage is their familiarity with Bedford from their previous work. The consultants will assess the Covid-related challenges and will develop a marketing and branding plan based on the Minuteman Bikeway for the three communities. The results will help the towns develop strategies for short-term recovery from the effects of Covid-19 on local businesses.
Town Manager Sarah Stanton commented, “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.”
Lexington’s Town Manager James Malloy said, “This joint effort will allow Lexington, Bedford, and Arlington to work towards creating a recovery plan that will help local businesses increase foot-traffic and support a sustainable economic growth strategy post-COVID-19 leveraging the local assets that are the common links between the three communities.”
The plan 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.
For the press release, click here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/home/news/arlington-bedford-and-lexington-awarded-local-rapid-response-planning-grant