Originally published in the Worcester Telegram 10/25/20
Drury Square has long been a center of commerce, civic and cultural significance. Auburn, lacking a traditional New England downtown, has been working diligently to develop Drury Square as a pedestrian friendly and mixed use center. Based on numerous planning documents, including the Auburn 2019 Master Plan, residents articulated a vision for a downtown that includes a walkable, pedestrian-friendly center with a variety of retail and restaurant establishments. The vision for Drury Square is to develop a sense of place and to enhance the economic value of the area as a place to shop, live, and visit. One of the most recent initiatives for Drury Square is the Transportation Improvement Program for the reconstruction of Auburn Street. This project is primarily funded through MassDOT funds.
The reconstruction of Auburn Street is expected to begin in fall 2020 or spring 2021. This is a project that has been years in the making and will bring many improvements to the Drury Square area of Auburn. These improvements include better traffic flow, pocket parks, bicycle accommodations, new sidewalks, new street lighting and landscaping, walking paths, a gazeebo and a new tree that will be used for the Town’s annual holiday tree lighting event.
For many, many years the Town of Auburn has held an annual tree lighting ceremony on the grounds of Goddard Park at Drury Square. The Colorado Blue Spruce that has had the honor of being the highlight of Drury Square during the holiday season has succumbed to disease and age and is no longer safe and able to hold the distinct honor. Since so much attention has been dedicated to creating a sense of community and an identifiable “town center” in Drury Square, it seemed fitting to find a new tree to continue the tradition that Auburn has enjoyed all these years.
The Auburn Chamber of Commerce discussed this issue when it was brought to their attention and decided that a donation of a new tree along with new decorations would be a great way to give back to the town that has supported the Chamber and its member throughout the years. The new tree will be a Frasier Fir tree, which is more conducive to the Northeast climate and less prone to disease. The Board of Selectmen extended their sincere gratitude to the Auburn Chamber for their generous donation at their meeting on October 13th. Town Administration and residents are grateful that the annual tree lighting can continue to take place for many years to come.
This year’s tree lighting ceremony has yet to be finalized at the printing of this article. Due to the current pandemic there are many safety measures that will need to be considered prior to holding any community events. Whether there is a ceremony or not, Auburn will have a new tree to admire and decorate during the holiday season.
The Auburn Street Reconstruction Project is a combination of hard work from many departments on the state and local level. For further information of this project, please click here.