LAKE QUANNAPOWITT attracts many visitors to the town for active recreation or to just sit and relax by its shores. (Mark Sardella Photo)
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — A $45,000 grant from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism is being used to promote the town and help small businesses recover from the pandemic through a “shop local” campaign.
The town’s Economic Development Director, Erin Kokinda, was at last night’s Town Council Meeting to provide an update on this marketing effort.
Kokinda said that, in applying for the tourism grant, she stressed the fact that Lake Quannapowitt draws many people to the town. In the grant application, she pitched the town’s intention to leverage that attraction to help the town’s small businesses.
One facet of the campaign includes a series of “Discover Wakefield” signs. The signs are similar to yard signs and each promotes an interesting fact about the town or a local business. More than 40 of these signs will be deployed on public and private property around the Lake, Kokinda said.
She added that the grant funding enabled the town to retain local PR firm, Kevin York Communications, to help with the campaign, which also includes a series of promotional videos highlighting the town’s assets and attractions. One of the four videos was shown at last night’s Town Council meeting.
Kokinda also talked about a “scavenger hunt” planned for Sept. 17. Teams of four to six people will be challenged to go to 10 or more locations around town, take a photo or build something. She said that the intent of the scavenger hunt will be to highlight some of Wakefield’s overlooked businesses. More information will be forthcoming, she said.
Town Councilor Julie Smith-Galvin requested that the organizers ask participants not to use cars to travel between scavenger hunt locations.
But Kokinda pointed out that the idea was to get people to visit different parts of town, which may require automobile travel.
Smith-Galvin also asked that only restaurants that are in compliance with the town’s plastic bag and Styrofoam container bylaw be allowed to participate in the scavenger hunt.
Kokinda called the grant=funded marketing campaign, “a great start” from which to build future efforts to promote the town.
Kokinda also provided the Town Council with an update last night on the town’s ongoing Master Plan process.
A Master Plan is a strategic framework that guides the Town’s future physical and economic development based on the community’s vision and goals. It provides a roadmap of strategies and recommendations for the next ten years. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has been engaged to lead the project.
Kokinda noted that two of the four planned public meetings related to the Master Plan project have already taken place. The second public workshop was held on June 29. This virtual session reviewed two of the eight Master Plan topics: historic/cultural resources and housing. Other topics discussed in the public sessions include: land use and zoning; housing; transportation and circulation; open space and recreation; public facilities; town services and infrastructure; sustainability and climate; and economic development.
A Master Plan survey related to the town’s historic and cultural resources has been open on the town’s web site for the past several weeks. This survey ends today, so Kokinda encouraged residents to go to the town’s web site and complete the survey before the end of the day.
The third public meeting on the Master Plan will take place in October, Kokinda said, adding that she is hoping to have the new Master Plan ready to go before the Planning Board next summer.