Four years after Braintree and Weymouth started work to revitalize the Braintree/Weymouth Landing, the two communities are just starting to reap the rewards.
New businesses are popping up along the once-downtrodden street, and both communities have been recognized by the Massachusetts Municipal Association for their dual work in the revitalization of the corridor, now referred to by both communities as The Landing.
“It’s nice to be noticed, but I think it does demonstrate the underlying achievement; two communities working together in a way that’s compatible and complementary to one another,” said Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan.
The space has been in the works since 2009 after both communities received a $2.4 million Public Works Economic Development grant from the state.
The project was set to renew the entire area, including sidewalks, streetlights, crosswalks, park entrances, and a repaving of the corridor.
Today, the project is a few minor touches away from completion, and already it is being touted as a success.
“I think it means that you can compete,” Sullivan said when asked about the award. “I’m always talking to department heads about pushing ourselves, stepping into the ring and competing, trying to put our best foot forward. In this case, you had two communities that came together and figured out a way to beautify a combined area.”
Sullivan noted that the project wasn’t just about beautification.
The streamlined zoning – which made business district requirements more even consistent throughout The Landing - also helped solidify the area as a centralized meeting place for the two communities, and has made building and permitting for new development easier.
That has ushered in a new restaurant from the owner of Quincy restaurant Fat Cat into the shuttered Blue Point Bistro space, and also brought in façade upgrades to El Sarape. The Landing Pub will also start a series of upgrades.
A hairdresser studio is also opening up, and the new downtown is officially open for small business, said Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay.
“We’re just now putting the finishing touches on it. It is ascetically pleasing. There is ornate lighting. At Christmas time we can dress it up more,” Kay said. “If anything we’re inviting people in and we have two new businesses that have just come in. … Hopefully, it will be a little more inviting and we can put business in all the empty stores”.
Kay said the project was especially notable because it is a gateway for the two communities.
The award also makes sense, Kay said, as The Landing project is the epitome of regionalization.
“That’s the catch word now. It’s cost savings, and I believe we were probably awarded the PWED grant due to the creativity of having two communities be served at once,” Kay said.
Kay noted that the space needs a few finishing touches, including updates to the park entrances.
Town officials are also working with one small stretch of building that has not yet been improved.
Kay said the town is encouraging developers and contractors to look into purchasing the property and spruce the space up.