With Mr. Burbick’s Phoenx Project about ready to lay the last couple of bricks in Acorn Alley, downtown Kent should be ready to kick into high gear with the return of the student body in the next couple of weeks. Mr. Burbick has shown what’s possible and his investment has created a lot of momentum that we hope to use to lift downtown revitalization to the next level. In football parlance the downtown project continues to grind out 3-4 yards a play which is enough to keep moving the first down marker but it’s not nearly as exciting as Mr. Burbick’s special team heroics. But by working together we think we’ve got a chance to win the game. Here’s an interesting scouting report of another city that has had success with the same gameplan.
The old college try comes to Westfield
by The Republican
Tuesday July 14, 2009, 5:27 AM
The city of Westfield and Westfield State College turned another page in their growing town-gown relationship with the recent announcement that the college and Barnes & Noble College Bookstores will open a bookstore downtown in the fall of 2010.
Hopefully, the store will be a major building block in the city and WSC president Evan S. Dobelle’s efforts to place the college front and center in the economic and cultural life of downtown Westfield.
That’s the way it should be. For too long Westfield has been a city with a college and not a college city.
Dobelle’s out to change that.
“You cannot do business with the college without helping the downtown,” Dobelle told The Republican recently. “This decision and cooperation by Barnes & Noble represents a big vote of confidence for Westfield.”
We agree, and we can’t think of a better way to bring the bustling college-town feel to the city than a bookstore that attracts both students and the public downtown. We hope its the seed for bigger and better projects.
It takes those two groups – students and the public – to build a great college town. Just take a trip to Amherst, Northampton or Burlington, Vt., to see how its done.
Businesses, restaurants and attractions that first cater to students eventually add adult visitors to their clientele. Buildings get renovated, people get creative, and once tired downtowns become major destinations. Before you know it, everybody’s having fun.
Westfield State is doing its part to ensure that students are plugged into the equation.
The college has already unveiled a revitalization plan that will include leasing housing for 1,000 students in the central business district along Routes 10 and 202. The college is also working to bring continuing education courses downtown, and last fall WSC opened an art gallery in the Rinnova Building downtown.
Westfield’s doing its share as well. Local businesses kicked in $100,000 to develop a downtown revitalization plan.
Just as Dobelle recognizes the value of downtown Westfield to the college, Mayor Michael R. Boulanger recognizes the value of the college to the city. The two values added together equal good town-gown relations