Town's revival to be subject of presentation

May 13, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

A consultant hired by the Boonsboro Town Council to help revitalize its downtown is scheduled to give town officials a summary of its findings and suggestions tonight.

Representatives of consultant Mary Means & Associates Inc. of Alexandria, Va., will make the presentation at a joint meeting of the Town Council and the Boonsboro Economic Development Commission tonight at 7 p.m.

The town plans to hold a public hearing, at an undetermined date, to give residents a chance to comment on the consultant's ideas and suggestions, Boonsboro Town Manager John Kendall said Monday.


The town has used its funds plus a $25,000 state grant to pay for a $49,100 contract with the company.

The consultant is following up on suggestions the Economic Development Commission made in a 1996 Comprehensive Development Plan, Jackie Barton, an associate of Mary Means and Associate, said Monday.

Means and others from her consulting firm have met with government and business representatives, as well as residents, to talk about how the downtown could be improved.

In a phone interview Monday, Barton explained some of the consultant's suggestions, which include having the town:

  • Capitalize on Boonsboro's existing resources, such as the Turn the Page Bookstore, which is owned by the husband of best-selling romance novelist Nora Roberts. The bookstore draws a large crowd when Roberts has book signings, and the town might want to try book signings there for authors of books about the Civil War.

  • Hold Boonsboro events linked to other regional events, such as the re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam.

  • Highlight Boonsboro's role in the Civil War through an online or printed brochure.

  • Improve the appearance of downtown by adding flowers, trees and benches in front of storefronts.

  • Turn some one-way streets into two-way streets, reducing the possibility of confusing visitors.

  • Create crosswalks to encourage a safe environment for walking.

  • Pursue designation as a National Register of Historic Places historic district.

  • Develop a program to help businesses pay for facade improvements, such as a revolving loan fund.

  • Create a downtown merchants association, which businesses can use to communicate and coordinate activities.

The consultant suggests the town discourage residential development downtown because it limits the space available for businesses to open or expand.

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