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Bentley Students See A Better Main Street In Waltham

Bentley University students give Waltham tips for improving Main Street business district.

Easing the city’s permitting process and improved signage are just a few of the ways the city could improve the Main Street business district. 

Those, among others, were just a few of the ideas a group of 14 Bentley University seniors presented to city and business officials in a presentation at the Arthur J. Clark Government Center on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Some Of The Suggestions For Improving Main Street Business District (source: students’ presentation and study)

  • Simplify the permitting process businesses have to endure to open their store. Currently, there is no central office at City Hall to fill out the various required permits, according to Bentley senior Chris Lauder, a member of the study group. Instead, he suggested, the city should create a packet to help business owners navigate the permitting process.
  • Better-looking signs and cleaner storefronts would help attract customers, according to the study.
  • Business should reach out to the large population of college students attending Bentley and Brandeis through additional advertising and incentives, according to the study. Businesses could better use social media, newspapers and other outlets to attract students to their stores, according to Bentley senior Erin Collins. Also, businesses, she said, could improve their Web sites.
  • The city could help ease traffic congestion, which would make it more accessible to consumers. Also, parking signs could be improved to make parking regulations clearer, said Lauder. The city, he said, is already planning on sign upgrades. “If people consider [the area] a hassle they may not come and shop there,” he said.
  • More events could be held on the city common and at the library, which would draw more customers to the Main Street area. “The community really takes pride in this area,” said Bentley senior Liz Terchunian.
  • Tree foliage could be better trimmed thereby allowing more natural light into the Main Street area, which would combat the myth that it has inadequate lighting, Terchunian said. “It really will add an aspect of safety to the area,” she said.
  • Also, the students suggested keeping Main Street cleaner. The area has a “major litter problem,” according to Terchunian. She suggested placing garbage cans at each block on each side of the street.
  • Additional suggestions can be found in the study.

How The Study Was Done

  • The study, which the students did as part of a university project, started in September, according to Bentley senior and project manager Natalie Caldwell.
  • The students surveyed local business owners, interviewed city officials, landlords and Mayor Jeanette McCarthy, Caldwell said.

The Future Of The Study

  • McCarthy said she looked forward to reading the report and plans to take the suggestions into consideration.
Don Michael Donahue December 20, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Thank U Bentley Students, We sure need some help! :)
Gary Rogers December 27, 2011 at 05:54 PM
I attended the presentation and the students did a great job! I am concerned about the vitality of Main Street and hope that the two groups working on this can come together with the Chamber of Commerce as well as the city to come up with meaningful solutions.

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