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The business of keeping Main Street hopping

  • Hundreds came to Jaffrey this weekend for the annual Scarecrows on the Common event. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Nicholas Handy

  • TEAM Jaffrey held Riverfest on Saturday, July 28, 2018 in downtown Jaffrey. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • People flocked to downtown Jaffrey for TEAM Jaffrey's annual River Fest. Saturday, July 29, 2017. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Residents flocked to Jaffrey's downtown on Saturday for River Fest. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Nicholas Handy

  • Stephanie Niemela of TEAM Jaffrey on Jaffrey’s Main Street, along with some views of Main Street throughout the years. FILE PHOTOS

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Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 10:27AM

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the future of downtown Jaffrey, TEAM Jaffrey Executive Director Stephanie Niemela said Thursday.

Upcoming projects like the building of the new Park Theatre and a potential reconfiguration of the five-way intersection downtown bring much potential to revitalize a Main Street and downtown area that has grown a little stagnant as of late. 

“That’s what downtown Jaffrey’s all about – when you get down there and meet the people and see what’s available, it’s pretty incredible,” Niemela said. “We have a lot of great businesses but people don’t always stop for them.”

Niemela, who has been running the downtown-centric nonprofit for more than a year and a half, said there are many amazing shops downtown but they aren’t always the most accessible due to a lack of parking and traffic congestion.

“We are in a bit of a holding pattern for now,” Niemela said. “I think challenges like the downtown traffic pattern and parking have caused some interested businesses to hesitate in coming downtown.”

Issues like traffic congestion and parking may soon be resolved, as a state-funded project could alter traffic patterns by 2024 – if all goes according to plan. The currently proposed plan – which won’t be approved or denied until late winter/early spring – calls for a roundabout at the five-way intersection, and a bridge off Blake Street to divert through traffic away from downtown. 

“We’re counting on some change,” Niemela said. “The change will be different, and not everyone will like it, but I think it will be positive and make things better for the downtown area.”

For almost two decades, TEAM Jaffrey has been working to enhance, revitalize, and aesthetically improve Jaffrey’s downtown by hosting events and raising awareness about the great things going on in the Main Street area. 

“With an event like Scarecrows on the Common, I think we’ve set the bar,” Niemela said. “It’s incredible to say we’ve been doing this for 18 years and that we’ve been able to bring so many people downtown.”

Scarecrows on the Common, which happened this past Saturday, is the perfect example of a TEAM Jaffrey event. Much like Riverfest and other signature TEAM Jaffrey events, the event congregates people in the downtown area – allowing people not only to have a fun time but also to get a chance to slow downtown and take in all downtown has to offer.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.