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Our participatory process

The Acktown Steering Committee met twice monthly beginning October 2012, posted an abbreviated report in February 2013 and a Phase ONE report June 2013.  Rich Turer and Steering Committee members met with residents and business owners, non-profit groups and transportation companies, church leaders, town management and attended over 100 municipal meetings in 12 months.  Acktown also met with Chamber leadership twice monthly (including board and committee meetings), promoted and attended public coffees and shared our progress and thinking with members of the media along the way.  In December 2013, having delivered an updated version of our work to the Town of Nantucket and Chamber of Commerce, we updated www.acktown.com and made all materials public.

What is needed to “Make the Downtown Business District More Accessible More Often to More People?”

1) INCREASE DEMAND
           Create more reasons for being downtown and more reasons to visit 
           Nantucket.  


2) ALIGN INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS
           Getting to and from downtown should be easier and safer for all.  Creating 
           more public spaces downtown to serve residents and visitors alike is a must.
 

3) RE-PURPOSE EXISTING ORGANIZATIONAL ASSETS
          A new operational model is needed to support and represent tourism, commerce and recreation which will efficiently and  effectively coordinate services, events and experiences for all.  Combining existing entities, establishing a Business  Improvement District or forming a new entity were all considered.

Plan Highlights (Phase ONE)
 
1) Adds $20,000,000 to the island economy and approximately $300,000 to the tax-base within the first 12-18 months of implementation and over $100,000,000 over 5 years.  Plan creates much needed shoulder season employment, supports all island businesses and finances arts and recreation for residents. 

2) Increases annual visitation by a modest 5% in the first 18 months, delivering an additional 16,000 visitors to "the shoulder seasons". New events of all sizes were informed by focus groups and other methodologies representing the wants and needs of full-time residents and are designed to be no or low-cost.

3) Better utilize existing public and private spaces to deliver arts, entertainment and recreation to all.  Pursue and support creative solutions to procure and develop downtown waterfront parks, amphitheaters, higher learning centers and light industry (including local arts and crafts).

4) Establish an organizational model charged with supporting economic development and enhancing the experiences of residents and visitors by combining existing public and private entities (Visitor Services, Chamber of Commerce and Park & Recreation).  Similar reorganizations have been successfully pursued by many seasonal and like-communities in Massachusetts and throughout the country.

Phase Two Assignment

After delivering the Phase ONE report, Acktown was charged with the following:

1) ORGANIZATION IMPLEMENTATION –Research potential barriers at the Town, County and State level for proposed entities and infrastructure.

2) FUNDING & CONTRACTUAL MECHANISMS – Study bylaws, budgets, contracts and possible new board formation as provided by other communities (see report). Support continued study of Business Improvement District modeling as required.

3) TEST EVENTS – As feasible, test pocket park music series and other free events as outlined in the June report. Observe and report on existing events.

Plan Highlights (Phase TWO)

1) A review of best practices from other communities including Cape Cod, Plymouth County, Aspen, Vail and New York City. All have merged public and private resources including Chamber, Visitor Services, Economic Development and other organizations to the benefit of the community.  Most have moved to a non-profit model (501C3 or 501C6 or both).

2) Provided Bylaws, contracts and other documents to the Chamber leadership and to town management (currently oversees Visitor Services). Offered to coordinate calls or visits from other community managers and board members.  Worked with NP&EDC to model a second look at a Business Improvement District.

3) Funded and delivered free children’s book readings and folk music pop-up events in coordination with the NHA, Dreamland, Bookworks and Town of Nantucket.

Next Steps

On October 9th Nantucket’s Board of Selectmen held a workshop session to discuss the potential benefits of combining public and private entities to manage tourism, visitor services and park and recreation.  The Chairman suggested continued dialog with all parties and the pursuit of other means to deliver the products and services outlined in the report.

Who funded the ACKTOWN project?

ReMain Nantucket was the sponsor.  The original project was completed in June 2013, presented at the Atheneum and made available online, to the media and at the Atheneum’s resource center.  Upon the recommendation of the Steering Committee, Phase TWO was initiated and completed November 2013.  

Who is ACKTOWN?

Rich Turer, Downtown Marketplace Coordinator, Project Lead
Cooper Veysey, Executive Administrator & Event Coordinator (May ’13 thru Nov ’13)
Kaitlin Borrelli, Executive Administrator & Event Coordinator (Oct ’12 thru May ’13)
The ACKTOWN Steering Committee (14 members)
                                                          
ACKTOWN Steering Committee
Representing Downtown Nantucket & the Island Community


Allan Bell - Owner, Nantucket Pharmacy and Island Pharmacy
Trish Bridier - Owner, Murray's Toggery Shop
John Daniels - Owner, Sherburne Inn
Kate Hamilton* - Director of Nantucket Visitor Services
Susan Handy - Owner, Black Eyed Susan’s & The Chanticleer
Rachel Hobart - Project Manager, ReMain Nantucket
Wendy Hudson - Owner, Nantucket Bookworks
Cecil Barron Jensen - Director, Artists Association of Nantucket
John Keane - Owner, Queequeg’s, Town Restaurant & Kitty Murtagh's    
Greg McKechnie - Principal / Broker, Great Point Properties
Mark Snider - Owner, Nantucket Hotel 
Andrew Vorce - Director of Planning, Town of Nantucket 
Dylan Wallace - Chairman, Agricultural Commission, Co-Owner, Ambrosia
Liz Winship - Owner, Nantucket Looms   


*Kate Hamilton recused herself from the committee in June 2013 prior to the final report being released to the community. 
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