Panel eyes John Fitch revitalization

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Sandy

Fitchburg, MA

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#1
Sep 16, 2011
 
FITCHBURG -- Members of the Urban Land Institute's Boston District Council toured Fitchburg Thursday morning to come up with recommendations to improve the business district along John Fitch Highway.

"One of the overriding issues is the flooding that occurs on John Fitch Highway," said Scott Payette, co-chair of the Fitchburg technical assistance panel for ULI, which includes members with backgrounds in the public sector as well as real estate and private development. The panel recommended the city perform a storm-water study in the area to deal with the flooding and work on beautification, as the area is a series of strip malls, bare concrete and empty storefronts.

Michelle Landers, manager with ULI, said additional long-terms plans will require moving Baker Brook, which runs behind John Fitch Plaza where CinemaWorld is located, and installing trees and grass through swales along the sides of the road to absorb rainwater.

Another issue is drivers illegally traveling along the turning lane in the middle of John Fitch Highway, which causes traffic accidents.

"You could break it up with some islands in the middle," said Landers. She said grass in these islands would also absorb rainwater, and the improved appearance would signal to businesses that it is a better place to set up shop than it was before.

"Retailers tend to be followers," said Todd Finard, a retail developer and ULI panelist. He said once some businesses expand in the area, others will follow in a cascading effect. He said the trouble facing Fitchburg is to how to start that effect.

Payette said while Main Street is a good place for smaller boutiques, John Fitch Highway has different properties that are perfect for chain stores with a big footprint and large parking lots.

"It should complement the downtown area," said Payette. He said while the downtown area has a lot of foot traffic, John Fitch Highway is away from residential areas and customers will have to drive there.

On the tour Thursday, Mayor Lisa Wong told the ULI volunteers that the more expensive developments are taking place at the north and south ends of the city, while the John Fitch Highway area is being ignored by businesses.

They traveled up and down the thoroughfare in a Fire Department tour bus before being deposited at the Massaferro Center at Fitchburg State University, where the 13-member panel conducted "stakeholder interviews" with property owners, business owners, residents and city officials. They then met for four hours to determine proposed solutions before making them public.

Landers said the panel also met with Wong the previous week to go over some of the problems, like flooding, traffic and the area's appearance.

A detailed report of the panel's findings and recommendations will be available at boston.uli.org within six weeks.

James Lydon, senior vice president for economic development with MassDevelopment, said ULI members selected Fitchburg as the neediest city in central Massachusetts, based on median incomes and the city's ability to implement solutions. The group divided the state into four sections, the others being western, northeast and southeast, and also selected Fall River, Haverhill and Pittsfield to review and recommend solutions.

Read more: http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/local/ci...
Still confused

Leominster, MA

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#2
Sep 16, 2011
 
I never understood why it's call a "Highway". It's just a road. I understand 495/128/190 etc. as being highways but this one has always baffled me.

Since: Feb 10

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#3
Sep 16, 2011
 
Still confused wrote:
I never understood why it's call a "Highway". It's just a road. I understand 495/128/190 etc. as being highways but this one has always baffled me.
Back in the day anything over two lanes was a highway!
Lynch campaign

Fitchburg, MA

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#4
Sep 16, 2011
 
Every one that is involved in the current business world knows that strip malls over traditional malls is the current trend.I do not like the idea to put an island in the middle of John Fitch,what were they smoking local herbs?These lanes are currently utilized often,narrowing John Fitch will detour traffic.I would talk to a local hardware shop to see if they would think of relocating to John Fitch.The fact that this board chose Fitchburg gives the city some print/backing for a grant submission for a connector.
Oh boy

Gardner, MA

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#5
Sep 17, 2011
 
More connector bs talk.
Hobo

Leominster, MA

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#6
Sep 18, 2011
 
Doesn't anyone get it at all!!!!!!!! Fitchburg wil NEVER..........NEVER attract any substantial businesses as long as Unitil is in the picture. Why set up here?? Go to Leominster where the rates are cheaper.
The Insider

Fitchburg, MA

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#7
Sep 19, 2011
 
Lynch campaign wrote:
Every one that is involved in the current business world knows that strip malls over traditional malls is the current trend.I do not like the idea to put an island in the middle of John Fitch,what were they smoking local herbs?These lanes are currently utilized often,narrowing John Fitch will detour traffic.I would talk to a local hardware shop to see if they would think of relocating to John Fitch.The fact that this board chose Fitchburg gives the city some print/backing for a grant submission for a connector.
Strip malls are not the current trend. Parkhill plaza has many empty storefronts. You won't be see JCPenny or Macy's coming to Parkhill plaza. Nope, sorry.

“I'm a Fitchburger and Proud ”

Since: Jan 08

Fitchburg ( of course)

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#8
Sep 23, 2011
 
Still confused wrote:
I never understood why it's call a "Highway". It's just a road. I understand 495/128/190 etc. as being highways but this one has always baffled me.
It was called John Fitch Highway long before there was a 495/190/ or 128. And none of them share the "highway" name.
The Insider

Centerville, MA

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#9
Sep 24, 2011
 
The highway was supposed to be a connector to Rte.2 for Ashby, Fitchburg and Leominster. There was off/on ramps in the original design. The current business along the stretch was not in the design. It was going to be a 4 lane highway from Rte.2 all the way thru (including Bemis Rd. and along Coolidge Park) to Ashby.

The speed limit would have been the same as any major highway since there would have not been any intersections.

The 3 lane section between Summer and Lunenburg St. was just the "phase 1" part of the plan. There were 4 more phases that were eventually cancelled.

The 190 connector to Worcestor was considered to be a more essential project and it went over the projected budget so the funds to finish the John Fitch Highway project were transferred to the 190 project.

“I'm a Fitchburger and Proud ”

Since: Jan 08

Fitchburg ( of course)

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#10
Sep 25, 2011
 
The Insider wrote:
The highway was supposed to be a connector to Rte.2 for Ashby, Fitchburg and Leominster. There was off/on ramps in the original design. The current business along the stretch was not in the design. It was going to be a 4 lane highway from Rte.2 all the way thru (including Bemis Rd. and along Coolidge Park) to Ashby.
The speed limit would have been the same as any major highway since there would have not been any intersections.
The 3 lane section between Summer and Lunenburg St. was just the "phase 1" part of the plan. There were 4 more phases that were eventually cancelled.
The 190 connector to Worcestor was considered to be a more essential project and it went over the projected budget so the funds to finish the John Fitch Highway project were transferred to the 190 project.
So John Fitch Highway was created when they put in 190??? John Fitch highway has been here for much longer that that...!
The Insider

Fitchburg, MA

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#11
Sep 26, 2011
 
sonny brisebois wrote:
<quoted text>So John Fitch Highway was created when they put in 190??? John Fitch highway has been here for much longer that that...!
Exactly and when 190 came along that killed all the future phases of John Fitch. It was a 20+ year project. Did you think John Fitch was gonna be a 1 year deal?
AAA or FPD

Fitchburg, MA

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#12
Sep 26, 2011
 
The Insider wrote:
The highway was supposed to be a connector to Rte.2 for Ashby, Fitchburg and Leominster. There was off/on ramps in the original design. The current business along the stretch was not in the design. It was going to be a 4 lane highway from Rte.2 all the way thru (including Bemis Rd. and along Coolidge Park) to Ashby.
The speed limit would have been the same as any major highway since there would have not been any intersections.
The 3 lane section between Summer and Lunenburg St. was just the "phase 1" part of the plan. There were 4 more phases that were eventually cancelled.
The 190 connector to Worcestor was considered to be a more essential project and it went over the projected budget so the funds to finish the John Fitch Highway project were transferred to the 190 project.
Very interesting! So a connector would actually travel through Fitchburg and onto other cities and towns! Now is the time for a connector! I know many of the most popular Congressmen and State reps! We need their support! The President Obama plan calls for infrastructure projects!

I say Fitchburg should go for a connector and a casino at the same time! This is thinking outside of the box! Think of all the entertainment possibilities?? And an airport to accomodate? If eminent domain is needed then be it as the city can purchase homes at current values. And these sellers could purchase many of the available homes within Fitchburg and hire carpenters and other tradesmen to renovate the homes!!

We need to constantly think out of the box! Fitchburg is a great city as a connector would give Fitchburg the economic boost that it needs!

“I'm a Fitchburger and Proud ”

Since: Jan 08

Fitchburg ( of course)

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#13
Sep 26, 2011
 
AAA or FPD wrote:
<quoted text>
Very interesting! So a connector would actually travel through Fitchburg and onto other cities and towns! Now is the time for a connector! I know many of the most popular Congressmen and State reps! We need their support! The President Obama plan calls for infrastructure projects!
I say Fitchburg should go for a connector and a casino at the same time! This is thinking outside of the box! Think of all the entertainment possibilities?? And an airport to accomodate? If eminent domain is needed then be it as the city can purchase homes at current values. And these sellers could purchase many of the available homes within Fitchburg and hire carpenters and other tradesmen to renovate the homes!!
We need to constantly think out of the box! Fitchburg is a great city as a connector would give Fitchburg the economic boost that it needs!
good idea
John M

Leominster, MA

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#14
Sep 27, 2011
 
Hobo is right. As long as Unitil is in the picture, businesses will not want to locate in Fitchburg.
That's just business 101.
Peter

Fitchburg, MA

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#15
Sep 27, 2011
 

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Fitchburg is just one of the many victims of Unitil. And Fitchburg is also the victim of Massachusetts liberals who have used her as the dumping ground for the states entitlement community. This is why Fitchburg is known as the Social Service capital of Massachusetts. Welcome to Fitchburg and the victim "hood"!

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