DFI's Creative Economy Tour Features Artists, Boat Rides

 Vanessa Hargrove Pendexter spoke about her photography during DFI's Creative Economy and Cultural Tour.

Vanessa Hargrove Pendexter spoke about her photography during DFI's Creative Economy and Cultural Tour.

By Shanleigh Reardon, Project Manager, DFI

Downtown Framingham, Inc. hosted its first Creative Economy and Cultural Tour on Saturday, June 23rd.

The tour stopped at Farm Pond and Howard Street Studios. A bus, provided by Kiessling Transit, escorted the tour goers between stops.

On the first stop of the bus tour, a representative from Sudbury Valley Trustees accompanied tour goers on a boat ride around the pond. During the tour, he highlighted the diverse wildlife and the conservation efforts of Farm Pond. On shore, SVT also displayed wildlife photography that has been taken on and around the pond over the past few years.

Also on shore, a representative from KIG Real Estate Advisers shared renderings and answered questions about their upcoming housing development on Fountain Street, where the Bancroft Building currently stands. Plans for the development include a swimming pool and three buildings that will hold studio, one- and two- bedroom units. The real estate firm hopes to attract young professionals from Boston who will be interested in living close to the commuter rail.

District 8 City Councillor Judith Grove raised questions about the increase of traffic the development will likely bring to the area. The planned parking areas would be accessible only via Fountain Street in an area where visibility is already a problem due to the CSX Bridge and the orientation of the Bancroft Building.

The developer said the current staircases that impede visibility at the intersection will be removed. He added most potential residents of the development will not be driving as much as they will be walking, biking and riding the train.

 Beverly and Nancy reveled in their Farm Pond Boat tour, courtesy of Skipper Dave Anderson

Beverly and Nancy reveled in their Farm Pond Boat tour, courtesy of Skipper Dave Anderson

After Farm Pond, the tour stopped at Howard Street Studios. Local artists Jay Pendexter, Cathy Gruetzke-Blais, Judy Schneider and Vanessa Hargrove Pendexter opened their studios and allowed those on the tour to view their art, their work spaces, and ask questions.

After exploring the studios, everyone gathered around a timeline where the artists each spoke briefly about how and when art has impacted them over the course of their lives.

Judy Schneider said she would try to stick to a linear timeline, however, the way she thinks - much like her art - is more abstract.

Jay Pendexter said his art has been greatly influenced by nature and wildlife. He says he owes this influence to his upbringing in Michigan and Minnesota. Pendexter works primarily in watercolors but also creates prints and uses oil pastels in his pieces.

Cathy Gruetzke-Blais said her goal for this summer is to spend most of her time in her studio on Howard Street. Being a school teacher and a mother to teenage twins, Grueztke-Blais said she hasn't been able to spend as much time on her art as she would like. She added, having a creative work space, like Howard Street, allows her to connect with other creative people and to dedicate time and space to her art.

Vanessa Hargrove Pendexter said she is currently trying to get reconnected to her creativity through photography. Pendexter said she grew up very lucky and had many opportunities to take art classes as a student.

After the presentation at Howard Street Studios, the tour returned to its starting point at Braza Grill where tour goers checked out the new restaurant and its event space.

Earlier in the day, DFI hosted Berklee College of Music student Jeremy Green at Sofa Cafe as the last installment of the organization's Taste of Downtown Framingham Concert Series. Green performed current pop hits on his viola for the community while they enjoyed coffee and breakfast.

It's Crosstie Night in Downtown Framingham

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In collaboration with Downtown Framingham, Inc. (DFI), Depot 417 (formerly the Deluxe Depot Diner) brings you Crosstie night this Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the biweekly Xchange Depot, featuring a lively scene to build social capital while supporting our area's creative economy. 

Enjoy burgers and Depot 417's famous appetizers while getting to know your neighbors better through speed friending. Don't hesitate to try your hand at downtown trivia, either.

If you're feeling creative, head to the Succulent Creation Station or the Make-A-Minion table. While you're looking around, vote for your favorite piece of art work from Felicia Tuttle of Howard Street Studios.

Framingham's commuter rail station, next to Depot 417, is the foundation for Framingham's transit-oriented development. Because transit-oriented development prioritizes pedestrian and cyclist mobility, DFI will give you the opportunity to show where you prefer to bike while also supporting MA Bill S. 3262, An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities.

Aside from building social capital, heightening our creative economy, and demonstrating cycling advocacy, you can also relax and play traditional board games, to include Yahtzee, Scrabble, Risk, and Clue. Don't miss out on free raffles for gift cards to Depot 417.

Downtown Framingham, Inc. is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that builds business, community, and culture through four tenets of the Main Street America model, which include public design, promotion, organizational partnerships, and economic vitality.

Read more about DFI here: http://downtownframinghaminc.org

Depot 417 hosts on-site parking at 417 Waverly Street.

UPDATED - DFI presents findings to Framingham's Marijuana Task Force

UPDATED  - MAY 31, 2018

DFI presents findings to Framingham's Marijuana Task Force

Richard Sanger, Downtown Framingham, Inc. Policy Intern, contributed to this article

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On May 31, Downtown Framingham, Inc. (DFI) presented its findings to Framingham's Marijuana Task Force after interviewing 63 businesses this May in downtown's Central Business District (CBD) and one business in South Framingham's manufacturing district.

Downtown Framingham is known for its density of small businesses, bevy of arts and entertainment venues, social strolls, historical and cultural tours, and no less than 10 recreational active spaces. When Massachusetts residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, conversations immediately sparked about opening a dispensary in downtown Framingham.

 Richard Sanger address the Marijuana Task Force

Richard Sanger address the Marijuana Task Force

In March 2018, the Cannabis Control Commission, the state's regulatory body, published the rules that will regulate the cannabis industry. With these guidelines in place, it is expected that the first recreational cannabis dispensaries will open in July 2018.

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Framingham's City Council recently contacted DFI to gather feedback from a sample downtown businesses about this opportunity. Richard Sanger, a policy intern at DFI and Master of Business Administration candidate at Framingham State University, walked into 63 CBD venues this May and held meaningful dialogues with business managers and owners, collecting their responses to opening a downtown dispensary. DFI also collected feedback from one downtown businesses in the nearby manufacturing area.

Feedback from a sample of Central Business District and Manufacturing zone businesses during May 2018

While four businesses (accounting for 6 percent of the total) vocally chose not to respond to the inquiry, 60 businesses shared their responses and foreshadowed possible impacts of a downtown cannabis dispensary upon the area.

41 percent of respondents, or 26 businesses, were favorable towards having a cannabis dispensary in downtown Framingham. They shared that a dispensary would not have any noticeable impacts on their businesses, and some businesses shared that it could help their businesses by increasing foot traffic downtown.

"If proper care is taken to select the right businesses, they will increase traffic and visitors to the area. If they are the right businesses, they will bring in the right kind of visitors," shared one downtown business manager.

However, 53 percent of respondents, or 34 businesses, were not in favor of a cannabis dispensary in downtown. They felt it would have negative impacts upon both their businesses and the area.

Reasons for negative responses included:

  • perceptions about clientele who may smoke marijuana
  • odor coming into their establishments
  • current presence of smoking both cigarettes and cannabis immediately outside stores could increase with a nearby downtown marijuana dispensary
  • one business shared that it would approve of a dispensary in Framingham, but not in the downtown area

DFI Policy Intern Richard Sanger addresses Framingham's Recreational Marijuana Task Force on May 31

"This was my first assignment, and I really enjoyed discussing this policy issue with the local businesses. It was eye opening to listen to all reactions from our local businesses," shared Sanger, also a downtown resident, after compiling the responses.

To learn more about Downtown Framingham, Inc., visit our website: https://www.downtownframingham...

Check out our three upcoming events on June 2:

 

 

 

DFI Kicks Off its Summer Yoga Series on the Downtown Common

Amy Moses led an inspiring and enlightening yoga class on Framingham's Downtown Common. This class was the first installment of Downtown Framingham, Inc.'s 15-week Summer Yoga Series.

Those who attended included one woman who was new to the area, as well as a downtown business owner. Activating public spaces, such as the Downtown Common, can benefit local business owners as activities can bring potential customers to the area and add vibrancy to the area.

Sarah, who participated in the yoga session said "I haven't felt this relaxed in four years!"

The six participants enjoyed an intimate class in the sunshine on Saturday morning between 10-11 a.m.

The classes will continue each Saturday morning throughout the summer. Each class in the series costs $5. A season pass can also be purchased for $60.

Downtown Framingham, Inc. organized this Summer Yoga Series with cooperation from the City of Framingham and the Framingham Police Department. FPD Officer Scott Brown was on location throughout the duration of the yoga class and was kind enough to snap some photos of the class to help spread the word about DFI's Summer Yoga Series!

Next week, Samela St. Pierre will be hosting the class. Samela led the first Yoga class on the Downtown Common during DFI's Mural Mile Road Race and Art Market on May 5.

Tickets for upcoming Yoga on the Downtown Common classes can be found at downtownframingham.org/yoga

Downtown Businesses Respond to Potential Downtown Marijuana Dispensary

Richard Sanger, Downtown Framingham, Inc. Policy Intern, contributed to this article

Downtown Framingham is known for its density of small businesses, bevy of arts and entertainment venues, social strolls, historical and cultural tours, and no less than 10 recreational active spaces. When Massachusetts residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016, conversations immediately sparked about opening a dispensary in downtown Framingham.

In March 2018, the Cannabis Control Commission, the state’s regulatory body, published the rules that will regulate the cannabis industry. With these guidelines in place, it is expected that the first recreational cannabis dispensaries will open in July 2018.

Framingham’s City Council recently contacted Downtown Framingham, Inc. to gather feedback from downtown businesses about this opportunity. Richard Sanger, a policy intern at Downtown Framingham, Inc. and Master of Business Administration candidate at Framingham State University, walked into 63 downtown businesses this May and held meaningful dialogues about their response to opening a dispensary in Framingham’s Central Business District.

While four businesses chose not to respond to the inquiry, 59 businesses shared their responses and foreshadowed possible impacts of a downtown marijuana dispensary upon the Central Business District.

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42 percent of respondents were favorable towards having a cannabis dispensary in downtown Framingham. They shared that a dispensary would not have any noticeable impacts on their businesses, and some businesses shared that it could help their businesses by increasing foot traffic downtown.

However, 58 percent of respondents were not in favor of a marijuana dispensary in downtown. They felt it would have negative impacts upon both their businesses and the area.

Reasons for negative responses included:

  • perceptions about clientele who may smoke marijuana
  • odor coming into their establishments
  • current presence of smoking both cigarettes and cannabis immediately outside stores could increase with a nearby downtown marijuana dispensary.
  • one business shared that it would approve of a dispensary in Framingham, but not in the downtown area.

“This was my first assignment, and I really enjoyed discussing this policy issue with the downtown businesses. It was eye opening to listen to all reactions from our local businesses,” shared Sanger, also a downtown resident, after compiling the responses.

To learn more about Downtown Framingham, Inc., visit our website: https://www.downtownframingham...

Check out our three upcoming events on June 2:

Downtown Framingham, Inc. Hosting 3 Events This Saturday

Downtown Framingham, Inc. (DFI) is hosting three events in downtown this upcoming Saturday, June 2.

With Yoga on the Downtown Common in the morning from 10-11 a.m., BrewCycle in the afternoon from 12-4 p.m. and the Masashi Nakamura dinner concert at Terra Brasilis from 5-7 p.m., DFI has organized an event for every member of the family this Saturday all within Framingham's vibrant urban core.

BrewCycle, an event hosted by DFI in collaboration with Exhibit 'A' Brewing Company and the 1854 Cycling Company, will bring bikes, brews, and live music to Exhibit 'A''s brewing facility on Morton Street. This is the second annual BrewCycle event to be hosted at Exhibit 'A' and after last year's successful Saturday afternoon event, this year is shaping up to be even bigger.

n+1 Cyclery, another downtown Framingham bike shop, will be hosting fix-a-flat workshops. The 1854 Cycling Company will be holding E-Bike demonstrations and revealing its new line of apparel. Children and families are welcome to attend. Kids can practice their cycling skills on a safety rodeo course and parents can enjoy freshly poured beer from Exhibit 'A'. Food will be available on-site from the Sabor Latino, which specializes in Cuban cuisine.

In an effort to truly promote cycling and sustainability, Papa Wheelies in Natick has organized an 18-mile social group ride beginning and ending at Exhibit 'A'. Anyone who is interested in participating in the group ride can sign up here.

The ride begins at 10:15 a.m.

Also on Saturday, DFI will be hosting the first session of its Summer Yoga series on the Downtown Common.

The class will be instructed by Amy MosesMoses is a certified instructor from Framingham who helps her students have fun and become more mindful through stretching and breathing exercises.

Each yoga class during this series costs $5. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite. For those who wish to attend many classes throughout the series, a $60 pass can be purchased that offers unlimited access to the classes during the 15-week series.

In cases of inclement weather, the yoga classes will be relocated to the Amazing Things Art Center's upstairs gallery.

After a full day of outdoor activities, DFI is sponsoring a concert at Terra Brasilis on Waverly Street. The dinner concert will feature the guitar and bongo music of Masashi Nakamura.

This concert is a part of DFI's Taste of Downtown Concert Series. This series was organized as a part of DFI's Taste of Downtown eventwhich featured samples from local restaurants at the Springdale Barrel Room in April. The restaurants who participated in the event are being rewarded with concerts to help activate their restaurants.

The concert will take place from 5-7 p.m. and is free for customers of Terra Brasilis.

The summer is a busy season for Downtown Framingham, Inc. Visit downtownframinghaminc.org or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with the latest events and initiatives the organization is spearheading to help activate the businesses and public spaces in downtown Framingham.

Fuller Aviators After School Program Explores Downtown

Downtown Framingham, Inc. hosted 30 Fuller Middle School students for a history tour and scavenger hunt of the downtown district on Monday May 14.

The students were guided from the old Danforth Art building to the Memorial Building where they were asked to find the Women Veterans Plaque for the first question on their scavenger hunt. DFI's Executive Director Courtney Thraen greeted the students on the patio outside of the Memorial Building before ushering them inside to explore the lobby area where they had to seek out the plaque that fit the description on their scavenger hunt.

Students found the Women Veterans Memorial inside of the Memorial Building to answer the first question on their scavenger hunt.

Next, students headed north on Concord Street and visited Sofa Cafe, a local coffee shop and roasting facility that opened last year. Students piled into the coffee shop and listened attentively to figure out where they could find the roasting computer that would give them the answer to the second question on their scavenger hunt.

Students learned about Sofa Cafe's roasting facility during a stop at the Cafe during the scavenger hunt on May 14.

Thraen then led students down Concord Street to Atlantis Dental.

Dr. Sumbul Naqvi welcomed the students and answered questions about her practice and how she decided to become a dentist.

"When I was a young girl, I had very bad teeth and so I didn't like to smile or talk to anyone because I was embarrassed. Then, I met a dentist who helped me get braces and have a beautiful smile and she inspired me to become a dentist so that I could help other people in the same way that she helped me," said Naqvi.

Atlantis Dental gave all of the students dental hygiene kits after they listened to Naqvi speak.

Dr. Sumbul Naqvi spoke to students about how she became a dentist and why it's important to have health services like her business in downtown districts like Framingham's.

After leaving Atlantis Dental, students gathered on the sidewalk to talk about the historic Kendall and Amsden buildings and the new development being constructed by Wood Properties. The new mixed-use building site was where students could find the hydraulic excavator they needed to answer the next question on their scavenger hunt.

After talking about the importance of this transit-oriented development, students explored the downtown common where they learned about the history of their city through the monumental "books" stationed around the center of the park. Thraen also spoke about the historic Armenian Church and how it had the first steeple in all of Framingham.

 

Students then headed to the MBTA parking lot where they learned about the history of the train depot that now houses Depot 417. Afterwards, students took individual and group photos in front of Sorin Bica's mural and answered another question on their scavenger hunt about the "giant people" of downtown.

Students made their way across the tracks and learned about one of the downtown restaurants Pueblito Paisa before walking to their final destination: the Amazing Things Art Center.

At Amazing Things, students learned about local arts and entertainment that are hosted in the old firehouse. Students also learned that the answer to the last question on their scavenger hunt (Home of Prince) wasn't referring to the singer, but rather the horse that used to live and work in the firehouse that is now home to Amazing Things.

The DFI team and the coordinators of the after school program that organized the tour were happy to see the enthusiasm the students displayed for the downtown district. Students were comfortable and safe walking through downtown and were excited to learn more about the history of their home.

A Fuller Middle School after school program supervisor surprised the DFI team with a "Thank You" poster signed by the students who attended the tour.

Downtown Framingham, Inc. hosts entertainment series & new market

Based on popular demand, Downtown Framingham, Inc. (DFI) is hosting two regular markets this year. Morever, DFI has collaborated with the Berklee College of Music to sponsor free concerts which reward each restaurant that participated in this year's successful Taste of Downtown Framingham.

Public Markets

  • Xchange Depot Market at Depot 417 (417 Waverly Street)– Wednesday, May 23 - 5 pm to 8 pm. The Xchange Depot runs every other Wednesday night through October 31. Get the details here.
  • Downtown Public Market at Springdale Beer Barrel Room (102 Clinton Street)– Sunday, June 17 - 12 pm – 5 pm

This market repeats the third Sunday of each month through October. Check out all great vendors here.

 

Taste of Downtown Framingham Entertainment Series

  • Outdoor Pop/Rock Concert with the Max Holm Band – Wednesday, May 23 – 5 pm to 8 pm at Depot 417 (417 Waverly Street)

Max Holm has opened for Journey, collaborated on the 2016 NIMA Jazz Album of the Year, and is an active Presidential Scholar at the Berklee College of Music. Entertainment series details are here
 

  • Indoor Pop/Rock Concert with Abraham – Friday, May 25 – 9 pm to 11 pm at RR6 Kitchen and Bar (398 Waverly Streeet)

RR6 Kitchen and Bar was voted the best restaurant at the Taste of Downtown Framingham with 65 percent of the vote! The Abraham Band is frequently featured at the Middle East, ONCE Ballroom, and Santos Party House. Entertainment series details are here

  • Outdoor Funk / Latin / Neo-Jazz Concert with Sean Oliver Band – Saturday, May 26 – 10 am to 1 pm at Miranda Bread (470 Waverly Street)

Miranda Bread received third place by voters at the Taste of Downtown Framingham. Sean Oliver has been featured with the D.C. band Outfit Sunbathers and the Portland band Dangerous Gentleman. Entertainment series details are here

 

Thank you so much to all our supporters and members. We have even more great events and concerts planned for June!
To learn more about Downtown Framingham, Inc., please visit our website: https://www.downtownframinghaminc.org

Downtown Public Market Series Kicks Off April 15

On Sunday, April 15, Downtown Framingham, Inc. kicks off its monthly Public Market Series, hosted at the vibrant and socially engaging Springdale Beer Barrel Room (102 Clinton Street, Framingham, MA 01702).

This outlet for an urban market enables entrepreneurs, artisans, and small businesses from across New England to experience first-hand the people-ready amenities and business-ready infrastructureavailable in our walkable downtown.

On April 15, please give a warm welcome to our first round of diverse vendors:

The monthly public markets will occur the third Sunday of each month from April through September from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm in downtown Framingham at the Springdale Barrel Room (102 Clinton Street). On October 14th, the season will conclude with an outdoor Oktoberfest celebration.

Registration is still open for the 2018 Public Market Series.

  • Set-up for each market starts at 11:00 am inside the Springdale Barrel Room via the freight elevator (Clark Street side).
  • Vendors offering produce take precedence.
  • Each market will feature no more than 8 select vendors.
  • Upon confirmation, registration is $20.00 for vendors who bring their own tables and chairs and $30.00 for vendors who order tables and chairs.

Thank you for supporting Downtown Framingham, Inc.!

  • Accepted vendors will be assisted with submission of all health and vendor permits.

6 Mile Moment is all about entertainment and family fun!

The anticipation is mounting as the Boston Marathon makes its approach on Monday, April 16th. For family fun, food, and music, head to the 6 Mile Moment, located in both the east and west parking lots of Depot 417, near the intersection of Routes 126 and 135. This is the perfect perch to cheer on thousands of dedicated runners who are raising money for charity.

The 6 Mile Moment, powered by MediaBoss, occurs from 8:00 am until 1:30 pm. Presented by Avidia Bank, attendees in the east parking lot can enjoy great giveaways, including gift cards to Exhibit A Brewing CompanySofa Café, Garmin GPS watches, an Ultimate Runners Prize Pack and more. If you're stressed, relax and enjoy a free chair massage or just appreciate Avidia Bank's swag - from ponchos to sunglasses - that will help you manage our unpredictable weather.

Framingham's own Dulce D Leche will also be on hand, with plenty of gelato and treats for sale. Whatever the weather, this team will have your perfect delight!

Not to be outdone, Jenny the Juggler will entertain kids and adults in the east parking lot. Jenny will bring colorful face painting, music, magic, and more!

We're also indebted to our sponsors from Atlantis Dental and BRZ Insurance, who will bring toothbrush kits for everyone along with a raffle for a dental gift basket and other cool prizes.

In the west parking lot, MediaBoss will provide a world-wide live video stream along with great beats from DJ Haze and interviews of City officials. And for the first time, we're hosting a special cheering section for Team Framingham, enabling friends and family to gather together and cheer on their dear runners.

Event sponsors benefit Downtown Framingham, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving both people and local businesses by creating the most vibrant, socially engaged, and innovative area outside of Boston.