Framingham Downtown Renaissance is a public/private partnership organized to facilitate the development of Downtown Framingham as a vibrant commercial and residential/mixed-use activity center.
The objectives of this charitable, non-profit organization are to encourage investment, generate jobs and income and improve the quality of life at a location that is highly visible and critically important to the MetroWest region. FDR is about to apply to be recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation® as a designated Main Street® Program. This will serve as the model for future business and cultural growth in the Framingham Revitalization District.
A $30,000 federal Community Development Block Grant has been approved by the Framingham Board of Selectmen and the Framingham Town Meeting. This grant provides seed money to begin to understand the expanded revitalization district, which covers 1.5 square miles and is home to more than 18,000 residents, more than 500 businesses and numerous cultural and civic locations as well as places of worship.
Although Downtown Framingham is experiencing many successes, the area still faces the same trends as many traditional downtowns:
• The movement of national retailing to malls and commercials strips.
• The decline of traditional manufacturing employment.
• Disinvestment followed by renewed vitality with the arrival of entrepreneurial immigrants.
In response, FDR members began a strategic planning process to transform Downtown Framingham into the vibrant business center many believe it can and should be. The FDR Strategic Plan, adopted in 2008, focuses on these specific, measurable goals:
• Increase or improve 100,000 square feet of commercial and cultural space in Downtown Framingham.
• Increase housing units by 250.
• Attract $50 million in capital injection for Downtown Framingham.
• Support town efforts on public infrastructure.
• Sustain FDR as a viable 501(c)(3) organization.
My guests are: Elsa Hornfischer (shown, right), a member of the Board of Directors for Framingham Downtown Renaissance; and Mary Winstanley (shown, left), co-owner of Limey’s Pub in Downtown Framingham.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Steve D'Agostino does public-relations work for Framingham Downtown Renaissance.