The Mission of the Ashland Redevelopment Authority
The ARA exists to create opportunities to attract and sustain economic development that will revitalize Ashland’s economy and cultural growth. The end goal is to realize a community that is more attractive and self-sufficient.
What is the Ashland Redevelopment Authority?
The ARA is a volunteer board charged with helping to facilitate economic development opportunities for the town. Board members are elected at Town Meeting for five year terms. As an independent board, the ARA is in a unique position to bring the public and private sectors together. The ARA also has broad powers that enable it to encourage new development and promote sound growth. The board is not bound by daily processes of a local town department but works on special projects that can be run by the town or a business. The ARA can participate in development, issue bonds, borrow money and receive grants and gifts.
Goals of the Urban Renewal Plan
- To coalesce the various studies conducted in town into an action based plan that has community input and state approval.
- Set concrete goals and actions for the ARA to achieve with measurable success.
- Realize project success that will encourage private investment.
- Set standards for infrastructure improvements that will make the Downtown and Route 126 areas attractive to new business and Residents.
- Increase the Commercial tax base to allow for investment and improvements in the Community.
- Encourage Residents to shop and do business locally.
What is an Urban Renewal Plan?
A URP is an approved redevelopment project by the state that grants the applicant that ability to pursue redevelopment and improvements of substandard, decadent or open blighted areas as well as plan for future land use. The stringent application and process also goes thru public review and comment.
Once approved by the state, the plan provides the Authority the ability to:
- Establish rehabilitation/design standards
- Demolish and/or rehabilitate substandard structures
- Participate in real estate development and commercial revitalization
- Issue bonds, borrow money and invest funds
- Receive grants and loans
- Accept gifts or requests
Accomplishments to date
Creation of a Town wide Focus Group – cross section of public and private leaders that meet periodically to propel ideas and coordinate efforts in the community
Urban Renewal Plan – draft form of a long term action plan will be submitted to the state for review Spring 2012 [read more]
125 Font Street – Purchase and permitting of undeveloped property in Downtown
Design Review Committee – Formation of Planning Board committee created for aesthetic review of Commercial development projects.
Route 126 Initiative – Working closely with businesses and residents in the 126 corridor. Progress engineering documents have been completed for reconstruction of the roadway and infrastructure revitalization.
Ashland Farmer’s Market – Agreement to host the AFM for 2012.
Ashland Half Marathon – Tentative Plans for a road race that begins at the original starting line of the Boston Marathon. [read more]