D2020 History

A little bit of history: In 2008, BMS conducted a survey of Beverly residents to find out what people liked and didn’t like about downtown Beverly.  We followed up the survey with some focus groups and we did man-on-the-street interviews with visitors to find out what they thought. More than 400 people responded and the results were eye-opening. There were hundreds of ideas and the most-mentioned opportunities were to brighten up the area, bring in more retailers and fix the parking issues – all major projects for which we knew we’d need help!  

We put together our own thoughts on how we could make a difference and we hired Kennedy Smith of The CLUE Group, an expert in downtown revitalizations, to assess our plan, validate whether it would work and help us figure out where to start. Kennedy spent 3 days here and conducted focus groups with another 100 people, including elected officials and city department heads, bankers, residents, business owners, property owners, developers and community leaders. She studied our competition – Salem, Marblehead, the malls – shopped in our stores and traveled our streets. She spoke about trends in downtown revitalization at a community meeting which drew more than 200 people. She recognized the many strengths of Beverly that we all love, called out our issues and recommended a clear strategy to revitalize downtown. The best news was that she highlighted the ability of Beverly Main Streets to lead the work and she expressed strong confidence that we could make it happen.

Our Board of Directors and committee members then reviewed all of the input. It was enormously helpful to have both the insider view from our residents and the view from an outsider with broad experience. Kennedy’s recommendations blend the community’s desires with a proven revitalization approach and we voted to use her report as the blueprint for Downtown 2020. Read Kennedy Smith’s report here.