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ʽDucks in a row’ for revitalization of Millbury’s downtown

By Rod Lee

There may not yet be strong visible evidence that the heart of the town of Millbury’s business district is going to be the thriving destination proponents envision—but wait. More change to augment what has already occurred by way of banners, flags and potted plants is in the offing, Laurie Connors, director of planning and development, told the BV Xpress on September 18th.

This past spring, Ms. Connors said, the town paid for a portion of the design it wants to see implemented for the “Four Corners Revitalization Project” (at Main, Elm, N. Main and S. Main streets—home to such enterprises as Reliant Medical, Millbury Savings Bank, Millbury Towne Florist, Millbury National Bank, Fidelity Bank and Calabria Ristorante). “We executed a contract with Weston & Sampson Engineering in May and expanded the scope of it to include the upper Common,” Ms. Connors said. (In Woburn-based Weston & Sampson, the town of Millbury is partnering with a company that was recently named a Top 500 design firm by ENR—“the bible of the construction industry”).

Commenting further on the dollars that Sen. Michael Moore told the BV Xpress must still be obtained for the revitalization project to be completed, Ms. Connors said “in two weeks I will submit a proposal for a municipal ADA grant.” The $250,000 obtained through the Americans with Disabilities Act Improvement Grant Program will pay for sidewalks, ADA ramps, curbing and traffic-signalization work, she said.

“We also successfully applied for another grant—a Green Communities competitive grant—to replace aluminum streetlights with black decorative streetlights, at a cost of $25,000.”

Reflecting on the enormity of a multi-year initiative that carries a total price tag of approximately $900,000, Ms. Connors said “we are putting all our ducks in a row. But there are a lot of ducks!”

The junction of Main, Elm, N. Main and S. Main streets in Millbury Center, looking north toward Millbury National Bank. MNB officials have plans for installation of new signage just south of the building in doing its part toward the beautification of downtown.

If all goes well, she said, construction in the downtown area will commence in the spring of 2019. Much still hinges on “additional funding,” she said. The ADA monies have to be expended by June of 2019 in order to be utilized, she pointed out.

With the town of Millbury also in the midst of “a Master Plan process,” the mood is one of anticipation for betterments to come. “I think a lot of people are excited about this” component of that effort, Ms. Connors said. “A survey that went out to all of the households in town generated a 19% response rate”—and enthusiasm from many of those who took part in support of a new look for the inner core.

As one of the town’s most venerated institutions, Millbury National Bank, 18 N. Main St., is pleased to contribute to beautification of the Four Corners area, John T. Latino Jr., vice president of MNB, said.

“We were just approved for a sign on our property, on the corner (of Main and N. Main)” in a spot that has been vacant for a while, Mr. Latino said. “It will be stone-faced with flagpoles and it will be lit.”

The town is trying to perpetuate an historical look, which Millbury National, with roots in the community dating to 1825, appreciates, Mr. Latino said.

Ms. Connors said nothing substantial has yet materialized in terms of a collaboration with the town of Sutton involving 563 acres of prime real estate designated for industrial, commercial and high-density residential development “on the Millbury side.”

Meanwhile, however, the push to enhance the attractiveness of downtown is proceeding at a fairy frenetic pace.

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.