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City Council to hold hearing tonight on proposed Easthampton Center Cultural District

EASTHAMPTON — The public can weigh in on the creation of the proposed Easthampton Center Cultural District at a City Council hearing Wednesday. Councilors are expected to vote whether to endorse it at the completion of the hearing.

Burns Maxey, coordinator of Easthampton City Arts Plus, the city committee proposing the cultural designation, said she and other committee members are excited to lay out their vision for the district.

“The next step here is presenting this to the public,” she said Tuesday.

If the council supports the move, the city will apply for the cultural district designation from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

The district would include a section of Main Street, all of Union and Cottage streets and Holyoke Street up to the Historical Society at 7 Holyoke St. The 115 “cultural assets” in the area range from art studios and workshops to restaurants and shops, according to the application.

The designation could attract more tourists and help the city secure funding for future projects in the district, she said. The only cost would be $200 to purchase signs marking the area.

The city is also required to form partnerships with individuals, organizations or businesses within the zone. Partners will collaborate on a five-year plan for the proposed district. “It will describe what the district means to us, if we plan to expand, and what sort of marketing we’ll do for it,” Maxey said.

Although she and other ECA+ representatives will answer questions at the public hearing Wednesday, Maxey said the group is planning another informational meeting to inform residents and seek out potential partners. She said she hopes to announce the date and location of that meeting during Wednesday’s hearing.

The City Council meeting takes place on the second floor of the Municipal Building at 6 p.m.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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