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Saturday, November 12, 2011

...because, sometimes, I ask questions...

...and, sometimes, they get answered.




Somerville — What is your vision for Magoun Square? Courtney O’Keefe, Vinal Street

Courtney,
My administration’s strategy in Magoun Square is shaped by the same commitment we’ve made in key business districts across the city: to create a site-specific development vision that’s driven by neighborhood residents, business owners and property owners.

Magoun has the advantage of relatively inexpensive business lease rates and is home to a cluster of ethnic businesses that draw traffic from beyond the immediate neighborhood but the flipside to those positive factors is that:
  • The low lease costs lead to more frequent turnover; and
  • There is a mismatch between the demographics of the surrounding residential neighborhood and the ethnic focus of some of the Square’s businesses (i.e., the appeal of those businesses is regional and sometimes doesn’t apply directly to adjacent residents).
Also, Magoun doesn’t have a large population of daytime office workers, which cuts down on walk-in, walk-through traffic.

Like so much of Somerville, the Magoun Square business district will derive major benefits from the coming of the Green Line Extension, especially if we use federal dollars to strengthen the physical connections between the Square and the Lowell Street and Ball Square stations.

In the meantime, we’ve been able to use Federal Recovery Act dollars to make $3 million in recent street and infrastructure improvements to the square, and we’ve worked closely with Alderman O’Donovan, Greg Coughlin of the Olde Magoun Saloon and other local leaders to implement changes in citywide parking regulations in ways that are sensitive to the operating requirements of local businesses.

Looking ahead, my hope is to work through OSPCD, local business leaders and the Board of Aldermen to promote a community-based Magoun Square business network along the lines of other successful Main Streets-style groups in places like Union Square and East Somerville. Such a group would help improve access for local owners to our existing Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) and Retail Best Practices (RBP) Program while promoting a more coordinated approach to a shared branding and marketing strategy.

Copyright 2011 Somerville Journal. Some rights reserved.

3 comments:

Courtney O'Keefe said...

Thank you for your thoughtful insight, Mayor Curtatone,

My hope is that city policies are reviewed to give Magoun, and all Somerville business districts for that matter, the tools it needs to reach its fullest potential. I have submitted ideas to Alderman O'Donovan that I would like to see considered by Traffic and Parking, the DPW Commissioner, and OSPCD.

I would also like to see a business network, as well, that bridges the gap between City Hall, residents, and Magoun Square business/property owners. This gap closure is critical considering Maxwell's Green will bring in occupants of 199 units of housing that will be beneficial to Magoun's current businesses.

I understand your focus on the importance of the Green Line Extension, however, as I have written in the past, MY focus is on creating a business district in Magoun Square that is complimented by the Green Line and not dependent upon it. I would like to see Magoun draw riders off the train for a wonderful experience and not vice versa as those trains do go in both directions.

Magoun certainly needs advertisement on both major streets and on the extension of the Community Path from Cedar to Lowell Street. Serious attention to secure bicycle parking is also a must as newly painted bike sharrows and increases in parking meter costs/fines have led to more bicycle traffic.

I look forward to participating in community meetings, visioning sessions and constructive conversations about Magoun! Please know that there is a core group, of which I am a member, that are ready to work for our Square!

Regards,
Courtney O'Keefe
Proud Gouner!

Visionary Joe said...

I would like to point out that MY focus is on creating a business district in Magoun Square that is complimented by the Green Line and not dependent upon it. I would like to see Magoun draw riders off the train for a wonderful experience and not vice versa as those trains do go in both directions. I've been saying this all along.

What's a Gouner?

Visionary Joe

Anonymous said...

"Gouner"?

One who lives, and/or hangs out near or in Ma"GOUN" Square.

Same person wanting only the best, business-wise, the future holds for the square and all Gouners.