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Rockland makes push to stimulate downtown business

January 29, 2019 : The Patriot Ledger, by Joe DiFazio

ROCKLAND — Town officials are trying to breathe some new life into downtown Rockland.

The town is in the process of creating an economic development plan for the area around Union Street with the help of a $39,000 state grant. Town officials wants to promote and market a 40R smart growth district created in Rockland center in 2017.

The grant was given to Rockland by MassDevelopment, a state finance and redevelopment agency, and will be paid to consultant firm Goody Clancy hired to create the economic development plan.

“Union Street is home to dozens of restaurants, businesses, and community institutions, and the creation of the Union Street Economic Development Plan will help the Town of Rockland better utilize this important business district,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss said in a statement. “We were pleased to connect Rockland’s municipal officials with the resources and technical assistance needed to get this plan underway.”

Rockland and MassDevelopment officials met Monday with Goody Clancy and toured the downtown area. The firm said it will meet with residents, business owners, town department heads, REiMAGINE ROCKLAND members for input on the plan.

The overlay district gives developers more flexibility in zoning to build mixed use residential and commercial buildings and was put in place with to spur new development in Rockland.

Rockland Selectman Mike Mullen, Jr. chaired the town’s 40R committee when Town Meeting approved the new district.

“The town is excited to partner with MassDevelopment to create what we believe will become the blueprint for Union Street’s success for years to come,” Mullen said in a statement. “We’ve gotten off to a great start, and we’re thrilled that MassDevelopment sees the same kinds of opportunities and promises that we’ve been working to realize over these past few years.”

Officials said the plan is scheduled to be finished by the end of June.