Harwich Moving Forward with Cultural District Plans

HARWICH – The Town of Harwich is moving forward with plans to create two new cultural districts.

Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) has awarded the Town of Harwich with a $10,000 Communities Cultural District Initiative grant for improvements to the Harwich Cultural Center and assistance in developing the districts in town.

After receiving the grant, Executive Director of the Harwich Chamber of Commerce Cyndi Williams and Town Planner Charlene Greenhalgh pushed for stakeholders to be involved in the planning process. The first stakeholder meeting was held in mid-October. About 15 people attended.

“The hope is that we’ll extend the season on either side. As many villages on the Cape and the towns do, we want to see if become much more than just the summer business,” said Williams.

“So, we’ll reach out to an international market that may enjoy the arts and culture that Harwich has to offer. We’re looking to extend from April until maybe November and bring business into the hotels, the restaurants, the shops, the galleries.”

Williams will continue to moderate the meetings for the Harwich Port and Harwich Center districts. During the meetings, area residents are able to collaborate with town officials to determine how the grant money should be spent.

“Harwich selectmen have agreed to bring back an old committee and give it some new revitalization, the Harwich Center Initiative. That and then having the Harwich Center Cultural District, the two can work very closely together,” Williams explained.

The Harwich Port district will span from the Cross Rip Gallery down to 74 Williams Street. The state council has identified other cultural activities outside of the walkable area of a designated cultural district as outliers.

For Harwich Center, the walkable district proposed is located from Brooks Park to the Harwich Cultural Center on Sisson Road. The partnering district is expected to expand from Oak Street to Whitehouse Field.

Williams says the next step is to continue with the application process and bring partners that will help see the districts through to the selectmen.

By TIM DUNN, CapeCod.com News Center

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