BREAKFAST HELD FOR DOWNTOWN BUSINESS OWNERS: The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) sponsored a breakfast for downtown business owners, town officials, and interested parties last Friday, Jan. 25 at the Old Colony YMCA in Stoughton.
Emily Torres-Cullinane, the Community Liaison for MAPC said, "This is really a time for people to meet. I really enjoyed my walk in downtown Stoughton. Everyone was so friendly! Of particular interest to me was the large percentage of female-owned businesses. I'd estimate half of the owners I met were women. That's a good thing!"
Stoughton Town Planner Noreen O'Toole said that "We're here to get to know each other. We are looking to determine the needs of the downtown business owners. This is really a mini-visioning exercise of examining ideas for the downtown."
Marc Racicot of Stoughton, who runs the Land Use Planning Department for MAPC, was also on hand. He's the Chief Planner for our area. Stoughton's new Procurement Officer, Maureen Doherty, offered to help businesses navigate the bidding process for the town, and some free consultation for the State process, as well. Angela Insinger, Senior Planner for MAPC also was there.
The downtown meeting emphasized the traffic problems, and the lack of parking in the downtown.
There was talk of the town trying to obtain part of the area where the post office is currently located, and turning that space into convenient parking spaces to aid the local businesses.
There was also an announcement that the town is close to obtaining the Stoughton Train Depot, and its adjourning 30 parking spaces.
Some speakers mentioned the South Coastal Rail, with hopes that some mitigation funds from that project could be funneled to downtown improvements.
The breakfast was funded from the State money, provided towards mitigation of the South Coast Rail, the two billion dollar colossal waste of taxpayer money to extend the Stoughton Rail to New Bedford & Fall River. (As I've written before, and will write again, it would be cheaper to send every Fall River/New Bedford commuter to Boston in a limo, stocked with champagne and caviar that it is for this unneeded hit on our wallets and our environment.)
Some brand new Stoughton businesses were represented at this breakfast get-together by Jean Nagi (Nagi Jewelry Designs) and Sarah Feragen, an artist with SKF Designs. Both are located at 2 Canton Street, in a building refurbished by Developer Steve Kelley.
Kelley thought that Stoughton should attract people to the area with a "train theme," such as "Train your eyes on Stoughton." After the meeting, he told About Town that he intends to follow through on that idea, even if others don't support it.
He said, “Set your sights on Train-town USA could be a fun theme for the town to embrace. To let you know my commitment to the theme, whether or not anyone else follows, I have just contracted for a simple and fun, outdoor display at 2 Canton Street using a see-through lexan base and lexan rounded cover to achieve waterproofing. Middleboro Glass will be installing a 24-inch wide train platform that will allow a small train to drive around our marquee sign at a height of about 14 feet.
"The train will be connected to a push-button below for children, who can walk up to the button ('For Kids'), and engage the train which will start on its path around the sign and back. A second button will be placed at about 6 feet with a sign saying, 'For the bigger kids'. Both buttons will send the small scale train around the loop, hopefully with a horn-sound, although that part hasn’t been worked out yet. My hope is that each business in town might consider joining the train theme, and further that the Town Government could support it as mentioned in the meeting by dedicating the area behind the existing post office building to the theme."
In addition, Kelley also mentioned an "art themed" idea to promote the town, citing the boot factory artists in his building, along with the Felos Memorial Art Gallery on Park Street.
Faces In the Crowd: Spotted among the dozens of attendees were Stoughton Police Chief & Actor Paul Shastany; Fire Chief and Beach Hero Mark Dolloff; Planning Board Chairman Joe Scardino; Redevelopment Chair and Vice Chair, Carlos Vargas and Forrest Lindwall; Library Director and Actress Pat Basler; Selectman and Actress Cynthia Walsh; and Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terry Schneider.
PLAY BALL! Stoughton Youth Baseball and Babe Ruth will hold a Registration Breakfast on Sunday, Feb. 3 from 8 a.m. to noon at Sons of Italy Hall, 560 Washington St. (behind Copy Inks). This is for the Stoughton Youth Baseball & Babe Ruth Spring 2013 Season. Youth Baseball is open to all kids ages 5-12, with costs ranging from $55 to $130. Babe Ruth is open to all kids ages 13-15. Cost is $165
HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY: to Stoughton lawyer and Man About Town Barry Crimmins.