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Main Street March Mondays: Design

Welcome back to Main Street March Mondays! This is a series about the structure of community revitalization and how Building a Better Boyertown interprets Main Street America’s “Four Point Approach” to improve and maintain Boyertown’s Historic District! This week we’re looking at Design. If you missed our first three installments “What Does Building a Better Boyertown DO?”, “Organization”, and “Economic Vitality” go check them out!

As mentioned in our last post covering Economic Vitality, Main Street Programs predominantly exist in historic commercial districts. The unique character of a place is the attraction that makes someone fall in love, whether it be a vacation spot or a place to call home. What do you love about your favorite places? Is it the relaxation of a pristine beach under the sun? Perhaps it’s the artwork on the walls of your favorite coffee spot. It can even be the ease in which you can carry your groceries up your front walk. The Design focal point of the Main Street Approach covers all of these aspects and more.

Like Economic Vitality, Design analyzes where we are and considers where we could be when it comes to physical and visual assets. Its bedrock is to preserve the character of a place that gives it its identity. For example, maintaining our original Victorian architecture allows us to be charmingly transported back in time without feeling stuffy and antiquated. From there, we can plan comprehensively about how we’d make additions or repairs that will not detract from our sense of place, but rather enhance the existing features that ensnare our senses. 

Buildings are not the only feature encompassed by Design. All factors that contribute to our sense of place, including signage, public spaces like alleys or parking lots, streetscape, parks and natural features, and infrastructure are all pieces to consider. Some examples of smaller, ongoing design work include the trees starting to bud just now along our avenues, bringing a fresh touch of spring downtown. Soon planters will also be full of vibrant color. These may seem simple, but the warm and inviting feeling they bring to our bustling state route crossroads make a great impact on the overall visitor experience. The space feels alive and dynamic as well as cleaner and safer.

Larger projects, like public art installations or pocket parks, require a longer timeline and higher funding, but are well worth the effort. Safe, accessible, attractive spaces are crucial for families and those aging in place. BaBB’s Community Improvement Projects Fund plans to create such spaces with the installation of a beautiful and tranquil fountain adjacent to the Colebrookdale Railroad Station and with the Community Walkway & Garden leading from the Town Center Parking Lot. Consider these spaces safe havens for a lunch meeting, a quiet reflection, or simply to be – improving health and wellbeing, establishing curb appeal, and allowing visitors to fall in love again and again. Ask us how you can be a part of these placemaking projects!

Spend some time falling in love with your town today – admiring the quaint features on your daily route that you may typically pass by without a glance. Dream a little about what Boyertown would look like to you if you were visiting for the first time. Next week we’ll talk about Promotion – the last focal point in the Main Street Approach – which discusses how we communicate these unique features through storytelling and create a positive image of downtown!

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