Page 10 - BusinessWest January 20, 2021
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 Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner says major projects along Main Street speak to a sense of momentum despite pandemic- related obstacles.
  grants as an important early step that prevented a tough situation from becoming worse. Inau- gurated to her first term as mayor a year ago, Wedegartner said finding herself in emergency public-health and safety meetings a month later was quite a shock.
“While I’m pleased that we started planning early for the pandemic, I have to say it’s not where I thought I would be in my first year in office.”
Great Outdoors
Wedegartner is not letting COVID-19 challeng- es dampen the many good things happening in Greenfield. She pointed with pride to the approv- al of a new, $20 million library and the ongoing construction of a new, $17 million fire station. Groundbreaking at the library is scheduled for April 21, while firefighters are expected to move into their new facility in July. Once complete, Adams noted that both ends of Main Street will be anchored with major public investments.
“It’s a clear statement that the town is very much committed to public safety, as well as cul- ture and education,” she said.
These qualities, and a resilient business com- munity, are why Greenfield is poised to bounce back quickly, according to Diana Szynal, execu- tive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. She specifically mentioned the area’s many outdoor recreation options as assets that contribute to the local economy.
“For spring and summer, we will put a strong focus on outdoor recreation because it’s a safe and healthy thing to do,” Szynal said. “You don’t have to travel far, and you can access some of the best river rapids around. We have ski areas and great golf courses — basically four seasons of out-
door activities.”
Before the pandemic, Adams and her staff
were working with local restaurants to consider outdoor dining. Of course, COVID-19 accelerated those plans as moving outside was one way eat- eries could generate at least some revenue. With restaurants scrambled to figure out ad hoc ways to set up outside, Adams said now is the time
to see how to make this concept work better for everyone for the long haul.
“We’re looking at Court Square to see if we
can shut down the street that runs in front of
City Hall to make that a more permanent out- door dining space,” she said, admitting there are traffic-impact and access issues that need to be considered before the street can be closed. “We’ve been wanting to do this for some time and even have conceptual drawings to see how that space would look.”
Szynal emphasized that restaurants are one key to bringing more people to downtown Green- field, so she hopes to draw more places to eat. While outdoor dining presents challenges, she believes the net result is positive. “Dining outside helps the downtown become a little more pedes- trian. It’s a different vibe, a good vibe.”
Wedegartner promotes the fact that Greenfield has a walkable downtown and plenty of hous-
ing within a short walk of it. A former Realtor
in Franklin County, she still has contacts in real estate who tell her that houses in Greenfield bare- ly hit the market before they are sold.
Adams said the city is poised to take advantage of welcoming new people to the area. “As we start to emerge from the pandemic, there’s a discus- sion about how much people miss the feeling
of community and how to re-establish that. At
the same time, there are people who want to live closer to nature and further away from the heav- ily populated cities. Greenfield can satisfy both of those concerns.”
Because the pandemic has resulted in so many people working from home, Szynal predicts a shift in where people choose to live.
Wedegartner concurred, citing the example of a couple who recently moved to Greenfield from the Boston area after learning they would be working from home for the next two years. “They bought one
of the more beauti-
ful homes in town
Continued on page 44
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front row: Mike Buckmaster - back row: Jim Alexander | Adam Baker Maura Guzik | Chelsea Depault | Barbara Campbell | Jim Carvalho
 10 JANUARY 20, 2021

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