Friends of Saxonville established the Village Center Improvement Committee in 2016 to preserve and enhance the cultural and natural resources in and around Saxonville’s McGrath Square, the village’s historic business center. Our focus is on calming traffic and increasing walkability, facilitating local economic development, celebrating local history, and reducing visual blight.
Saxonville’s village center is Framingham’s oldest settlement, anchored by the current Mills property at the Saxonville Dam and built around and along the Sudbury River’s oxbows. The village center is at the crossroads of five major roadways connecting Saxonville to Nobscot Village to the west (Water Street), the Town of Sudbury to the north (Elm Street), the Town of Wayland to the east (Danforth Street), and Framingham Common and the Downtown to the south Central and Concord Streets).
Though for two centuries Saxonville Center was a vital and diverse commercial and residential village, with the end of manufacturing at the mill in the mid-twentieth century, the village’s center began to decline. There was limited re-investment in public infrastructure such as parking areas, street trees, traffic controls, and sidewalks. Major businesses such as Purity Supreme supermarket and State Lumber closed, leaving these large properties under-used and/or with uncertain futures. As a result, the village center increasingly became more a place to travel through than a place to be.
Village Center Improvement Committee’s goal is to help revitalize the village center. The Committee has committed itself to collaborate with multiple Framingham governmental departments and commissions on planning for and implementation of enhancements at McGrath Square and its multiple street approaches. We are working with Planning and Economic Development, Department of Public Works, and the Conservation and Historic District Commissions.
The Committee has establish the following specific objectives and goals for revitalization of the village center:
1. Invite pedestrian activity and increase walkability
- Rehabilitate and widen sidewalks
- Increase numbers of crosswalks on Concord St. and create all-way traffic stops at McGrath Square for pedestrian crossing
- Create shade and add benches
2. Calm motorized traffic to promote multi-modal transportation
- Set the Village speed limit at 25mph
- Create better defined stop lines and turning lanes
- Set limits on right turn on red
- Re-allocate public right-of-way space for other public purposes (e.g., on-street parking, bike travel, sidewalks, green spaces)
- Signal pedestrian cross walks
3. Facilitate local businesses and commerce, working with property owners
- Increase the foot traffic
- Add vehicle parking areas, including allocating space for on-street parking (even if only during designated hours)
4. Celebrate Saxonville’s history
- Set aside public space for kiosks that describe local history
- Improve visual and physical access to historic, cultural, and recreational resources
5. Mitigate blight
- Reduce or eliminate overhead wires (and leaning poles) in McGrath Square
- Update older pole-mounted streetlights with new pedestrian-scaled lights
- Replace metal guard rails with alternatives
- Plant shade trees along sidewalks and add planters
We welcome the participation of all interested residents and businesses in our efforts.