The City in partnership with the Greater Easthampton Area Chamber are workedwith a consultant Third Eye Network to identify, evaluate, and prepare for ways to support businesses in response to COVID-19. The project will culminate in the below plan to outline actions and projects suitable for various groups to seek funding to implement.
The enclosed recommendations are comprehensive by design beginning with a year of conversations with over 35 community members initiated by the Mayor in fall 2020—before the recovery program began. The forums featured representatives from local and state government, law enforcement, small businesses, higher education, non-profit, and a local Black Lives Matter coalition. As a result, municipal priorities involve streetscaping and wayfinding, embedding the arts and culture into real estate and infrastructure, technology-enabled marketing for the commercial district, ongoing racial equity training, establishing a coworking facility providing technical assistance to small businesses, and expanding the cultural district across downtown. Another major effort entails partnering with local business owners to revitalize the the Mills on Pleasant Street. Inclusive collaboration and capacity building are critical to recovery and sustained growth.