Kindness Delivers Results in Burkis Square

Kindness Delivers Results in Burkis Square

Downtown Engagement Team Receives Positive Response from Businesses, local Stakeholders

Friday, July 26 - Prepared by Downtown Framingham, Inc. Project Manager Evan Robertson

Framingham Police Officer Kat Demoraes (left) greets Adam Fini (center) and Gabriel Araujo (right) of the Downtown Engagement Team as they cross paths near City Hall.

Framingham Police Officer Kat Demoraes (left) greets Adam Fini (center) and Gabriel Araujo (right) of the Downtown Engagement Team as they cross paths near City Hall.

The first two weeks of the Burkis Square Betterment Project have concluded, drawing appreciation from businesses, community members, and local stakeholders.  During the Project, the Downtown Engagement Team, comprised of Adam Fini and Gabriel Araujo, helped showcase a pleasant shopping area by fostering authentic relationships through only positive, meaningful conversations with 40 businesses along with at least 25 individuals who spent considerable time outside. With coordination and support from the Framingham Police Department (FPD) and South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC), daily reports of actions taken and observations were shared with primary project stakeholders. 

At the end of the second week of the Project, 21 businesses were asked to share feedback on the quality and effectiveness of Downtown Engagement Team by participating in a short survey.

The goal of this research was to help identify main issues facing small businesses in the downtown area as well as possible impacts that the Downtown Engagement Team has had on Burkis Square before, during, and after the hours of their engagement.

Takeaways

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Results

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Zero respondents selected options for “Disagree” or “Strongly Disagree” for Question 2.

Zero respondents selected options for “Disagree” or “Strongly Disagree” for Question 2.

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Zero respondents selected options for “Decreased Slightly” or “Decreased Considerably” for Question 4.

Zero respondents selected options for “Decreased Slightly” or “Decreased Considerably” for Question 4.

Zero respondents selected the “Worse” option for Question 5.

Zero respondents selected the “Worse” option for Question 5.

Zero respondents selected options for “Disagree” or “Strongly Disagree” for Question 6.

Zero respondents selected options for “Disagree” or “Strongly Disagree” for Question 6.

Zero respondents selected options for “Disagree” or “Strongly Disagree” for Question 7.

Zero respondents selected options for “Disagree” or “Strongly Disagree” for Question 7.

Moving Forward

by Courtney Thraen, Downtown Framingham, Inc. Executive Director

  • Kindness is a contagious, powerful force.

    • Harnessing meaningful community support and sharing personal stories through the Downtown Diaries Facebook page has catalyzed the spirit of healthy co-existence toward the sometimes conflicting needs of businesses, shoppers, residents, and individuals who spend time outside in Burkis Square.

    • Our downtown businesses have big hearts, often offering food, water, and restroom facilities to individuals in need.

    • Sharing personal stories of individuals in daily reports to FPD and SMOC helps all agents work together in a highly informed manner, reducing misconceptions and instilling a higher level of dedication.

Our community and visitors can feel comfortable not only shopping, but also learning more about one another in our shared public spaces.
— Courtney Thraen, Executive Director Downtown Framingham, Inc.
  • The City of Framingham’s Police Department is a top-notch, community-driven force

    • Immediate support and mission expansion from LT Wareham and Officer Strange enabled the Downtown Engagement Team to effectively work in tandem with these service agents. Through the FPD’s recommendation to meaningfully engage both businesses and individuals outside, the Downtown Engagement Team provided consistent, tailored motivation to both groups through their approachable, yet identifiable dress and encouraging, professional demeanor.

  • Equal access to facilities supports urban public health

    • For example, AARP grants can be used to fund public restrooms, charging stations, and water spouts.

  • Take advantage of a tight-knit, cohesive business community

    • Although culturally diverse, downtown businesses share stories and frequently work together to create solutions at the lowest level. They communicate quickly through phone apps, instantly informing each other of news and observations. This strong networking base enables the Downtown Engagement Team to work even more effectively to report pesky issues to the City, including instances of illegal parking.

  • Anything is possible when the community comes together for a shared goal.

    • Thank you to all the donors and advocates who continue to support this kindness-based mission to drive a healthy co-existence in our urban core.

    • Businesses and community members are dedicated to bringing the Downtown Engagement Team back for two additional weeks from August 12 to August 23.

  • WORDS MATTER

    • The Downtown Engagement Team (formerly the Business Support Detail) provides a sense of comfort to those they encounter through their approachable demeanor and neutral affiliation. They can calmly diffuse verbal disagreements and provide constant reminders of the high-level, bigger picture. These steps help everyone re-assess the lens through which life is viewed, including the subtle, but sometimes detrimental, biases that may rarely be acknowledged.