Wareham signs contract with firm for urban renewal plan
Wareham’s Redevelopment Authority has signed a contract with a firm to help prepare a new urban renewal plan for downtown, the Director of Planning and Community Development said Monday.
Director Ken Buckland said the consulting firm Innes Associates will work with Wareham to develop a comprehensive plan for the redevelopment of downtown.
The redevelopment authority chose Innes for the company’s experience and pricing, Buckland said. Innes Associates has worked with dozens of Massachusetts communities on urban redevelopment in the past, including Scituate, Salem and Natick, according to its website.
In the past few years, downtown Wareham has seen its share of property transactions. New additions to Main Street in past years include The Blue Foot Cafe, Lucky Goat Brewing and Gone Country Creamery. In April of last year, Town Meeting voted to petition the state legislature to create new pouring licenses for Warren’s two properties, along with five new licenses for the village area.
Most recently, local businessman Danny Warren began breaking ground on his 59 Main St. restaurant-pavilion concept on Wednesday. Town officials have described his project as an “anchor” of downtown revitalization.
“We have a lot of developers that are looking around,” Buckland said. “We’ve had some exchanges of property.”
The plan is to lay out a clear, cohesive plan for the future of downtown, Buckland said, where people can enjoy the shopping and social aspects of the area.
A citizens’ advisory committee is being put together, Buckland said, to make sure the town receives input from residents on the urban renewal plan.
The Redevelopment Authority had first asked Tricia Wurts to survey residents on their ideal downtown Wareham.
In Wurts’ 60 interviews with town residents, she found that many mentioned preferring a “Cape Cod look” and “small town feeling” for Wareham Village, a presentation of her report states.
Surveyed residents name-dropped a few towns they felt Wareham could model its image after, including Plymouth, Falmouth and Marion’s Main Street.
“It is clear participants are very ready for Wareham Village to be revitalized,” one slide on the presentation reads.