Bedford Cultural District
Facilities include: Performances spaces, museums, galleries, artist studios, arts-related retail shops, music or media production studios, dance studios, high schools or colleges for the arts, libraries, arboretums and gardens.
The creation of a cultural district implies collaboration between the arts and the local community. Cultural districts may be seen by local authorities as a way to revitalize the “brownfields” of the urban core: areas of abandoned buildings tha that encourage businesses and residents to leave the cities.
Harwood and Brown Trail is the home of a sleeping cultural district. There are forty specialty shops ranging from an old fashioned barbershop, piano store, farmers market, bakery, two dance studios, two spas, health food shop and a book store. There are also several types of foods available including French, German, Lebanese, old fashion baked goods, home grown fruit and an Indian grocery store. These are to name a few. The rezoning of Harwood and Brown Trail into a cultural district will allow the broken down appearance to flourish into a beautiful and economically booming area by simply going with a theme that is already there inside the shops. This rezoning would include the allowance of bigger eclectic signage and the addition of patios and awnings. Also we propose that the individual business owner has the power to decorate and paint the outside of the business within certian asthetic standards to be set by commissions that associate themselves with aesthetics. Landscaping and banners should be included and the individual stores will stand out with their own identity. The benefit of this rezoning is the increased attraction to businesses that fall within this category of sales. An identity given to this intersection will not only help Bedford become charming but it will be a unique attraction for all to come and experience. This would not be an expense that has no return. We already have no surplus in this area and we cannot afford to let the businesses here continue to economically suffer. By creating an overall theme of the area, customers are surely to come to see what this intersection has to offer. The stores are already there. After the obvious facelift such as landlord ordinances being fulfilled and repaving of the parking lots, we suggest the following: 1. Outward extension of walkways to become patios where tables and chairs may be placed. These may be optionally fenced off not unlike the cosmopolitan areas in other towns. 2. Banners to be placed on light posts to improve the aesthetics and announce the new attraction. 3. Allow store frontage to be more definitive of the shopping experience such as barbershop poles and unique awnings that have the businesses flare and optional decor including the shop title. 4. Extensive landscape overhaul. 5. We propose that the former pet store on the southwest corner be turned into a community theater. Stores would be allowed to advertise more aggressively due to the specialty aspect that each has to provide. This is an underplayed area. It is a cove that has a hidden gift to offer the culture of Bedford.
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