A regional outlook
Let's take a look at median income comparisons between the North of Main, Fitchburg, and the rest of Massachusetts. If median income was a race between us, West Fitchburg, Fitchburg, Worcester County and Massachusetts, it looks like we’re the ones taking a breather at 22K while the rest are keeping stride. At 47K, Fitchburg is barely within our reach and right behind West Fitchburg at 54K. Worcester County and the Commonwealth are neck and neck for the win with 66K and 67K.
Having the highest percentages isn’t always a good thing, especially when we take the lead with a 14% unemployment rate. That’s more than double West Fitchburg at 6%, almost double Worcester County and Massachusetts’ rates of 8%, and still ahead of Fitchburg at 11%.
Local Business in the North of Main
It’s awesome that we can count on one hand the number of residents who say they rarely support local business. It’s totally not awesome that we’d need almost 30 hands to count the number of people who said they never support local business.
Vacancies on Main Street
On a quick walk down Main Street, all of this becomes very apparent. One of the biggest challenges to bringing investment in the North of Main is the large number of vacant storefronts on Main Street. Take a look at the map below, highlighting this issue. These storefronts have become vacant for a variety of reasons.
One of the biggest reasons relates to the quality of the buildings and infrastructure. Another reason relates to the level of foot-traffic on Main Street. It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg problem: there are too many vacant properties on Main Street because there isn’t enough foot traffic, but there isn’t enough foot traffic because there are too many vacancies.
What should we do about it. Any ideas?
A large community need
Taken together, it should come as no surprise that, in our resident surveys, "Jobs and Local Ownership" received one of the lowest scores, and was identified as the 2nd highest priority for action. The ReImagine Team has listened to your concerns, and is working with local businesses, government, and other committee partners to help improve the economic environment in the neighborhood, and indeed throughout the city!
Learn more about how you can get involved and take action in your neighborhood!
Banner image by Marie Caton