“It appears that people wish to renew old friendships and make new ones. I hear that over and over again.”
Fay Russo, facilities coordinator for Town Center and Old Town Hall since “We Are the World,” Pete Rose, and Windows 1.0, said last week that rental business is on the upswing, as customers navigate the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Demand, she said, “is pretty much back to normal.” However, she added, some of the locations are not.
Since September, the number of rentals has increased during the weekdays,” Russo said. And a lot of the clients are dance groups.
“The Council on Aging and Recreation Department hold dance and exercise classes in the Union Room on the second floor of Town Center,” Russo said. “In the evenings there are other groups that have dance classes, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays. I sometimes think that Bedford is the dance capital of America.”
One of the dance groups recently performed at the Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston after rehearsing at Town Center. Another danced at an Indian cultural festival. Russo added, “I have a church group coming in from 10 to 12 for singing. I did check with the Board of Health – they will be masked.”
Russo noted that the ground-floor Shawsheen Room is now the headquarters for the town food bank. That room has a large kitchen, and since “there’s no place at Town Center to have a dinner, many people who used to come here are now going to Old Town Hall,” albeit the kitchen on the top floor is smaller.
Minuteman Senior Services has moved its luncheons from the Shawsheen Room to a second-floor conference room, with the food delivered to the site by elevator, she said.
One long-time tenant that is “being very, very cautious” is the regional school and cultural center Iskwelahang Pilipino. “They have postponed until after the first of the year,” Russo said.
On the top floor of Old Town Hall, “the Great Room is rented frequently – there are reservations throughout the year, to November 2022,” Russo reported. “Wedding receptions, bridal and baby showers, church groups, other meetings.”
For the foreseeable future, she stressed, “Every group has to have masks. And they’re being very good — I don’t have to make a big to-do about it.”
Russo is also the go-to person for rentals of the former Budd railroad car at Depot Park. She said that when things began reopening last summer, “that was the first two rentals I got.”
There were two families – one with five people, the other 10 or 12 – and both “really wanted to be in the train.” She added, “I haven’t received any inquiries since.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com, or 781-983-1763