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Framingham offers help sprucing up

The Framingham Economic Development and Industrial Corporation has begun a beautification program that will reimburse local businesses for physical improvements to commercial properties.

Eligible business owners will receive up to 50 percent of project costs, with a cap of $3,500.

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The town-backed initiative encourages visual improvements through a wide range of projects, including upgrades to facades, signs, repaving, and landscaping that could stimulate further commercial investment in the area.

Erika Jerram, senior planner in the town’s Division of Community and Economic Development, said Framingham wants to “improve some of the commercial areas that could use a little help, and our goal is to make sure that business owners are part of the process.”

Though open to all businesses in town, the program is targeted for properties in high-traffic areas such as routes 9, 30, and 135, and Concord and Waverly streets, and the grant’s cap may mean it appeals more to smaller businesses, she said.

The program is application-based; business owners submit an application with their plan of improvement, and once the project is completed and approved by the town, will be eligible for reimbursement.

No applications have been submitted yet, possibly because the program is still new, Jerram said. One of her current priorities is to raise awareness of the availability of funding.

“We’re hoping to keep the requirements as open as possible to get some good projects and high visibility,” said Jerram. Though the Metrowest Chamber of Commerce is not directly involved with this initiative, she said, it will be a useful tool in spreading the word.

According to Jerram, the Framingham Economic Development and Industrial Corporation, a selectmen-appointed committee, received funds for a number of projects at last year’s Town Meeting. The list included a $25,000 award toward a pilot beautification program.

This is a one-time award, explained Jerram, and the committee has not asked for additional funding. It will evaluate the program this spring, and if it proves effective, will consider seeking additional funding from Town Meeting for next fiscal year.

Rebecca Kagle can be reached at rkagle13@gmail.com.
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