Published in the August 18, 2017 edition

FIFTY A-FRAME chalkboard signs like this one will be deployed in the town’s business districts as a way to promote the idea of shopping locally.

FIFTY A-FRAME chalkboard signs like this one will be deployed in the town’s business districts as a way to promote the idea of shopping locally.


WAKEFIELD – Starting on Sept. 2, you’ll be seeing a new feature on the sidewalks of the downtown and Greenwood designed to help enhance local businesses and promote the idea of shopping locally.

A pilot program that will deploy 50 A-frame chalkboard signs was approved by the Board of Selectmen this week. The program, called “Experience Wakefield,” is a joint project of Wakefield Main Streets, The Cooperative Bank, The Savings Bank and the Wakefield Merchants group.

Bob Mailhoit, president of Wakefield Main Streets, Laura-Marie Small of Kidcasso Art Studio and Jennie Terry, Marketing & Social Media Manager of the Wakefield Co-operative Bank appeared before the selectmen Monday night to pitch the project.

The proponents told the board that they fully understood that A-frame signs are currently not permitted under the town’s bylaws. However, they requested permission “to create a controlled, limited pilot program that would allow for 50 beautifully designed chalk board, wooden A-frame signs” to be placed at brick and mortar Wakefield businesses in the shopping/dining districts of Main Street, Albion Street and Greenwood.

The group requested approval to deploy the signs on Saturdays only, from Sept. 2 to Nov. 25.

The 50 businesses will be chosen by lottery, according to the written proposal for the project, “and will have specific guidelines on the placement of the A-frame signs and a signed agreement from the business owner showing understanding and agreed upon terms set forth by the Project Team and the Wakefield Board of Selectmen.”

The team hopes that the project can be expanded and extended in the future.

“If this project is deemed successful,” the team told the selectmen, “our hope is that we can work towards the approval for a long-term “Experience Wakefield” A-frame project for the spring of 2018 – December 2018.”

The pilot program will be financially supported by donations from The Wakefield Co-op Bank and The Savings Bank. The total budget for the project is $5,461. Wakefield Main Streets and the Wakefield Merchants group plan to work hand-in-hand with the banks to ensure the success of the program.

Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio insisted that, as a condition of implementing the pilot program, that all illegal A-frame signs anywhere in town would have to go. The board agreed.

A separate initiative to promote the downtown was also discussed by the Board of Selectmen at this week’s meeting. The initiative seeks to steer some of the thousands of people who walk the Lake on to a route that would bring them through the downtown.

According to a written description of the proposal, “the campaign will tie the Lake in with the downtown by promoting lake walkers to “Go the Extra Mile….” That extra mile is a mapped route tacking an additional 1.2 miles to the route around the Lake.

“Simply stated,” the proposal says, “going the extra mile is heart healthy — both for the walkers and for the heart of Wakefield, its downtown. With a catchy slogan and visuals, we can easily promote “going the extra mile for your heart and the heart of the downtown” to the many walkers who enjoy Lake Quannapowitt on a daily basis.”

Two proposed routes would take walkers through the downtown, down Albion Street and North Avenue and then up Church Street to the Common.

Signage around the Lake would suggest to all walkers “that there is an opportunity to walk an additional mile by following their heart and walking the downtown route as well.”

The initiative calls for promotion via t-shirts, the web and social media the idea of “walking the extra mile.” The proposal also talks about getting merchants involved through special tie-ins and discount offers for walkers.

Also suggested was the idea of having a public “kick-off” walk, where the entire route would be walked by groups of people.

The selectmen voted to implement the “Extra Mile” program.

Still another initiative presented by the selectmen to promote local businesses is “Wakefield Wingo.” Board Chairman Paul DiNocco said that it was based on an idea that Boston had some success with. The idea involves a card resembling a bingo card, with each square listing types of local commercial transactions like buying a cup of coffee, getting a haircut, ordering a pizza, dining out or hitting the gym.

The program involves using social media to document your visits to local businesses as well as marking squares on your card. Winning cards would be eligible for a raffle to win prizes.

The board voted to move forward with the “Wakefield Wingo” program.


In other business this week, the Board of Selectmen:

• Approved a request from Town Treasurer to transfer $1,050,162.50 from the Town’s capital projects account to the Town’s general fund to pay bonds due in August.

• Approved a request from Lucius Beebe Memorial Library to accept and expend a gift or gifts to the Town of Wakefield in the amount of $35,493.78.

• Approved a request from Hallmark Health to hang a banner over Main Street from Aug. 21, 2017 to Aug. 28, 2017 to promote Hallmark’s Stride for Healthy Communities and for the Town to accept the banner as a gift.

• Approved a request from WCAT to donate a bench to be installed at the Dog Park.

• Held a public hearing and approved the transfer of a Package Store License for Prachi Corporation d/b/a McDonough’s Liquors, 13 Water Street.

• Approved a request for an outdoor dining permit for The Bread Shop, 411 Main St.

• Approved a Common Victualler License for Laurie’s 909, 93 New Salem St.

• Approved the renewal of a Second-Hand Dealer License for Wakefield Antiques, 306 Main St. 

• Approved the renewal of a Bowling Alley License for Wakefield Bowladrome, 92 Water St. 

• Scheduled a public hearing for the transfer of liquor license to Meera, LLC d/b/a Four Points by Sheraton Wakefield for Sept. 11, 2017 at 7:10 p.m.

• Scheduled a Public Hearing on a request from Verizon to place underground conduit on Emerson and Chestnut streets for Sept. 25, 2017 at 7:10 p.m.