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This ‘Happy Hour’ was about reviving downtown New Bedford, Massachusetts businesses post pandemic

WGI is helping the Massachusetts Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the City of New Bedford, MA implement a rapid recovery plan to rebound from the effects of COVID-19.

The New Bedford Economic Development Council invited local businesses and community members to participate in a virtual “happy hour” forum Tuesday to hear input on how to increase tourism in the downtown area.

New Bedford Urban Planning

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Housing and Community Development (DHCD) reached out to communities wanting to understand data behind the effects of COVID-19 and to develop strategies to rebound quickly from the pandemic.

New Bedford was selected as one of several communities to participate in this process. Working with the national design and professional services firm WGI, the mission is to guide New Bedford through a rapid recovery plan (RRP).

“The goal is to develop an actionable project-based recovery plan that’s really tailored to the city and tailored to your needs,” said Angela Biagi, WGI director of Urban and Community planning. “And to help with any impacts that occurred from COVID-19 and really try to feed any sort of recovery process.”

WGI spent four days prior to the meeting analyzing and exploring the city. The firm gathered input from experts and developed project recommendations. “We’re now at the point where we’re gathering input from the community with different stakeholders,” Biagi added.

Preliminary key findings in downtown New Bedford included mention of well-maintained sidewalks and roadbeds, well-kept active storefronts, but not enough outdoor dining, many empty storefronts and wayfinding confusing for out of towners.

Click here to read the full article on South Coast Today.

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