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ABOUT TOWN: Downtown Business Owners Talk Traffic Problems, Lack of Parking in Stoughton Center

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

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.

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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

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HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY:  to Stoughton lawyer and Man About Town Barry Crimmins.

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Fiscal Conservative January 31, 2013 at 02:11 PM
Question: Is any child excluded from Youth Baseball because parents cannot afford the very high registration fees?
DJ January 31, 2013 at 03:04 PM
2 cents: Mr Kelly, go with the art theme over the train theme. Train Town? Trains are not celebrated. A hundred years ago maybe, but not today. They are considered dirty and obsoletem, but necessary. Not a theme to embrace IMHO.
Theresa February 01, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Ok its great they want to boost businesses and all. But what about the people who live in the downtown area? Not everyone can afford to buy a home. I don't live Here bc I want to, unfortunately I have to. There is a business which I will keep anonymous, located under my apartment. Their patrons (usually the husband's and children of the women who go there) sit on my front steps. I have had mail go missing(checks) mail thrown on the steps, and many messes left behind. Adding this whole extended train thing will just bring more unwanted rude people to sit on my stairs and feel they have the right to do what they want. I know there are alot of officials in town who don't care about the residents in downtown (I have dealt with quite a few), but someone needs to take a stand, and stand up for us.
Longtime Resident February 01, 2013 at 08:27 PM
It is all well and good to try and improve the downtown area, but until the general area is able to attract some business' that attract the average shopper. and not just the "lunch time" crowd, and also improve parking I wish you luck. There is not one single store in the square (except for the army-navy store) that has anything of interest to offer. Most are service business' or restaurants. Many years ago there were several clothing stores, shoe stores and other places that catered to a wide variety of needs. I realize times change, but has Stoughton looked at other small towns in the area to see what they do and encourage in their downtown shopping areas? One more thing - the train thing is cute, but Stoughton would probably be criticized for "false" advertising if they bill themselves as "Train-town USA." Unless Edaville or some other type of train museum moves in that name means nothing. Perhaps if you look up Strasburg, PA you will get an idea of what a train town is. Stoughton's rail station is nice, and I hope someone does something unique with it, but commuter rail just doesn't have the same appeal to visitors as hisotric trains and many here consider them a necessary evil. It would be nice to see more of Corcoran's turned into artist's studios, with more publicity done about what is available there. Many in town probably still think it is a flea market.
DJ February 01, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Theresa, can't you address this issue with the business owner and ask that they keep the steps clear from loitering? Perhaps the town or the business owner would be agreeable to placing a bench nearby?
cheryl April 02, 2013 at 10:28 PM
what about the parking on School st- it says NO PARKING (CORNER CAFE) Yet everyone parks there leaving kids to walk into the street w traffic at the biz times. If there are signs that say NO PARKING then why have the Stoughton Police dept done anything about the cars that park there? Whats it gonna take another child to be killed in stoughton due to the no side walks? Shouldnt there be side walks for the kids to walk to school? You do have a crossing guard right there!!!! Corner Cafe has done nothing to help after it has been brought to their att. Thanks for nothing!!

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