Council views presentation on improving CBD storefronts

The Winthrop Town Council met on June 21, where it viewed the Town Planner’s presentation on the potential revitalization of the Center Business District (CBD).

CBD Storefront Improvement

Town Planner Rachel Kelly presented a draft of a Facade and Storefront Improvement Program for Winthrop’s newly renovated CBD. The presentation was created by the Town of Winthrop and Innes Associates with aid from the Mass. Dept. of Housing and Community Development.

According to the presentation, a Facade and Storefront Improvement Program is a “program for economic development within a specific area or entire community, a tool to strengthen and promote small businesses, and a strategy to revitalize and showcase a downtown or commercial center.”

Beginning in March, presenters visited the CBD and met with local businesses, documenting current conditions and developing a draft improvement plan. Photos showed the existing storefronts in the CBD.

If the Town adopted the program, businesses visible from the street could apply for a grant to address code violations; improve accessibility and energy efficiency; and upgrade signage, awnings, lighting, painting and landscaping.

Other communities that have participated in similar programs include Ashland, Brookline, Cambridge and Woburn.

Question of Inclusion

During the public comment period, a number of residents expressed their concern about the town’s lack of inclusive messaging for the June holidays of Juneteenth and Pride.

One resident said that, although leadership claims that Winthrop is an inclusive town, that has not been the experience of a lot of marginalized communities.

“We, as a council, have failed the community miserably,” said Councilor Joseph Aiello in response to the criticism. “All of us need to do better, including myself.”

The councilor received a standing ovation from those present in the audience.

Board of Health Updates

Regarding the black plastics ban that we reported on two weeks ago, the Board of Health suggests that retail locations stop distributing black and dark-colored plastics. They will have six months to comply with the new demand.

Outdoor pools at four locations have become a safety concern. The Board of Health will be drafting an ordinance to upgrade the safety at those locations, which can include requiring a lifeguard to be on duty.

General Announcements

Independence Day will be celebrated on July 3 with the Horribles Parade and evening fireworks.

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