Residents Share Ideas, Concerns About Future Of Town Center
Sep 23, 2015 11:16AM ● Published by Bill Gilman
Residents participate in a breakout session at the Town Center Visioning Session last week at the Senior Center.
Gallery: Town Center Visioning Session [6 Images] Click any image to expand.
Short of access to a time machine or a crystal ball, that question is impossible to answer.
But what should it look like? What would you like it to look like?
Those are the questions posed to more than 50 residents who turned out last week for the Town Center Visioning Session at the Tewksbury Senior Center. The event was sponsored by the Town Center Master Plan Committee and facilitated by representatives from The Cecil Group, a consulting firm hired by the town to guide the master plan process.
"I was very pleased with the turnout," said Steve Sadwick, Tewksbury's director of Community Development. "The concerns that were raised were things we expected to hear. In the breakout sessions, I think there were some great ideas brought up. These are all things the Cecil Group will include in their report."
The Visioning Session was divided into two parts. Ken Buckland, a principal with The Cecil Group, welcomed the residents and used a Powerpoint presentation to give an overview of the Town Center district and a breakdown of the Master Plan process. The area in question includes the Town Common/Town Hall/Center Fire Station area, about a quarter-mile north and south on Route 38 and a short distance up Pleasant Street and North Street.
(Editor's Note: The complete Cecil Group Town Center Powerpoint is attached to this story as a PDF file.)
The residents next moved into an adjacent area and sat at eight round tables for the breakout sessions. With the help of a facilitator at each table, they had a chance to talk about what types of businesses, infrastructure and activities they would like to see in the Town Center district.
Buckland said the Master Plan will definitely include a reworking of the traffic flow in the area of the East Street/Main Street/Pleasant Street intersection.
Residents spoke of the need for more sidewalks in the area and additional parking if the Town Center is to be viewed as a "destination spot" in Tewksbury.
As for businesses, several residents mentioned a desire for a couple of high-end restaurants, not only for residents but to attract our of town visitors. Professional office space and boutique shops were also popular ideas among the residents participating.
"We're very happy with the number of residents who are participating in the process," said Selectman Bruce Panalaitis, who sits on the Town Center Master Plan Committee. "We want to get the input from the public, whether it's positive or negative. This is all about giving people the chance to tell us what they want to see."
According to Sadwick, The Cecil Group will take the information gathered from the Visioning Session and put together a report to present to the Town Center Master Plan Committee in August. The committee will then go over the report themselves before presenting it to the public in November.