Framingham Online News

FOCUS 2000 - Framingham plans for the 21st Century.

Filed under: Public Meetings by Randy Harris at 12:27 am on October 17, 1996

FRAMINGHAM, MA - If you are wondering "What will Framingham be like in the next century?", you'll be glad to know a concerned group made up of town officials, business, education, and community leaders is already hard at work on a plan to insure that Framingham will be an even better place to live, work, and enjoy life beyond the year 2000.

Framingham Town Manager, Russel Marcoux, chaired a meeting of the FOCUS 2000 group in the Ablondi Room of the Memorial Building, calling upon representatives from groups focusing on issues ranging from "Town Image", to Economic Development, Housing, Town Building Use, Downtown Revitalization, as well as Enviromental, Recreational, Regional, State, and Transportation issues.

FOCUS 2000 is organized into committees, and at the October 17, 1996 meeting, reports were presented to those in attendance, with copies submitted to Mr. Marcoux for further action, (some committees will not submit their reports until the next meeting).



Framingham High School student, Suzanna Parpos was the first to report to the group, presenting results of a survey which asked high-school students what could be done to provide safe, after-school, non-sports recreation. The overwhelming suggestions were that a dance-club, coffe-house, or teen center be located near the high school, to which members of the group commented that the survey could repeated either in the newspaper or online to get a broader response.



Joe Bradley presented a report focusing on taking inventory of human services available in town, to insure citizen's needs were met, and that there would not be duplication of efforts. Bradley suggested a professional assesment be undertaken, and estimated cost to the town at $30k-$50k, but noted that not doing so could cost the town and it's residents even more.



Neighborhood activist, Debbie Cleveland, reported to the group on suggestions for improved outdoor recreation including bike paths in various areas of town, and trails and canoe drops along portions of the Sudbury River. Cleveland also introduced Ed Barry, neighborhood activist, and Randy Harris, operator of Framingham Online to the group. Harris gave a brief description of Framingham Online, and recognized several in attendance who were already using the web-site to post public information.


Showing the true spirit of how private enterprise and town services can work together to better life in Framingham, Fire Chief Michael Smith reported on new cardiac equipment recently accquired by the department, along with improved CPR education. Representatives from Columbia/MetroWest Hospital announced free Saturday morning CPR classes to be held at the hospital, (watch our Community Calendar for dates).


Framingham Building Commissioner, Lewis Colten, distributed a report on IMPROVING DOWNTOWN FRAMINGHAM, which notes;

  • the downtown areas' past history as a thriving center where neighborhood pride was evident, large manufacturing plants provided good jobs, and area businesses and residents thrived.
  • the loss of G.M. and Dennison Manufacting jobs, a shift in retail development to the route 9 shopping areas, urban flight, and deteriorating properties and neighborhoods.
  • an influx of new immigrants, and longtime residents, unwilling to give up on Downtown, and, as he called it, "The Battle of The Blight", and the subsequent rejuvination the areas has enjoyed.

Mr Colton also noted several operations set in motion and executed by his office, including;

  • Operation Red
    A focus exercising all legal means to rid the town of brighted properites, (properties in blighted condition are boarded up with sheets of plywood which were painted red, and a "Condemmed" banner large enough to read from a distance listing the property owners' names were hung... not exactly subtle, but effective!)
  • Operation Black Bag
    This focus targeted illegal signs, (black plastic was used to cover the signs, and notices stating the owner was in disregard of Town Sign Bylaws). Again, an effective approach responsible for the removal of many obtrusive, illegal, and other signs that detracted from the look of the community.

Other portions of Mr. Colton's report note enforcement of Safety Codes, a new Sign Bylaw, and other positive changes to the Downtown Area, (and in fact the entire town).


Mary Murry, presented a report, (also prepared by Erica Mash and Elaine Thompson), for the IMAGE COMMITTEE, which dealt with issues concering the Town's Image, and the vision and goals of each FOCUS 2000 subcommittee.

In an effort to promote Framingham, a (draft) passage was proposed, and comments from attendees were noted so that further action can be taken to accomplish the committee's goal.

Comments suggesting that the "multi-cultural", diverse nature of Framingham and it's residents be included along with a "vision" for the Town representing each subcommittee's focus and goals.
The Image committee expressed it's hope that a professional marketing firm could be persuaded to provide service "pro-bono", (without cost), to accomplish the image committee's goals.


The FOCUS 2000 group will meet again Thursday, December 12, 1996 at 3:00pm, the Ablondi Room of the Memorial Building.



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