Urban Land Institute (ULI) Technical Assistance Panel

Urban Land Institute Assisting with Southborough Downtown Revitalization Effort

[Southborough, Massachusetts] April 27, 2018: The Southborough Economic Development Committee (EDC) is pleased to announce that it is partnering with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Boston on its ongoing downtown revitalization effort. On May 9, the EDC will host a day-long technical assistance session with ULI experts, residents, business leaders, and elected and appointed officials. Through this event, the EDC seeks to advance a vision for downtown expressed by residents and recommended in the Town's 2008 Master Plan. Residents are encouraged to attend the public portion of the ULI session, scheduled for May 9, 2018, 6:30 pm, at Saint Mark's School, 25 Marlboro Road Southborough.

ULI has long been recognized as one of the world's most respected sources of objective information on planning, growth, and development. Southborough is partnering with ULI Boston through the Institute's Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) program, which brings interdisciplinary teams of senior local professionals to municipalities to take a comprehensive look the development process and formulate realistic options to move projects forward.

When the ULI team visits Southborough on May 9, they will tour the Downtown, review background materials, interview representatives of the residential and business communities, and prepare findings. The team will examine three questions:

What planning and/or zoning changes and design features will encourage and allow for small-scale business growth on privately-owned parcels that will compliment residential, local amenities desired by residents; such as (non-chain) locally-owned restaurants and coffee shops, and boutique retail and shopping opportunities.

Will the Town need to consider infrastructure capacity accommodations, including, but not limited to, collective wastewater treatment options to serve the Downtown businesses for expanded growth? If so, what are the septic infrastructure options for such systems and the associated funding sources to plan, design and build (are there public or private grant opportunities)?

How should the Town plan, design and fund (promote and execute) the residents' desire for enhanced trail and recreational connectivity, and improved "public spaces" within the Business Village District of Main Street.

The ULI session builds on ongoing work by the EDC. In fall of 2017, the EDC surveyed Southborough residents about their preferences and visions for Downtown. A robust outreach effort garnered 427 responses. Overwhelmingly, the survey results indicated that Southborough residents and businesses care about the Downtown and want to see improvements including more restaurants and retail, public spaces, connectivity, and attention to aesthetics and wayfinding (full survey results here). In late 2017, the EDC convened a public workshop to discuss survey findings and implications. At this event, participants assessed Downtown investment opportunities and challenges, zoning, infrastructure, and beautification/ connectivity. In March 2018, the EDC convened a meeting of Downtown business owners to discuss such topics from a business perspective. The May 9, 2018 ULI TAP session is designed to address the priorities, visions, and challenges identified through the course of these events and efforts.

About the Southborough EDC: The EDC is a permanent committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen. The mission of the EDC is to stabilize residential taxes through the growth of the Town's commercial and industrial tax base while preserving the character and charm of Southborough. The EDC was established to expand and strengthen the local economy, promote job creation, and enhance the Town's quality of life through prosperous, balanced and sustainable economic development.

For more information about the Economic Development Committee and this effort, email the EDC Coordinator, Marijke Munsiff-Vegting or call 508-485-0710, ext. 3011.