2017 Preservation Achievement Award: City of Concord for outstanding rehabilitation and revitalization of Concord’s Main Street
with: McFarland Johnson (Project Engineers), Carol R. Johnson Associates (Landscape Architects), Elizabeth Durfee Hengen (Preservation Consultant), L. Karno & Company
After eighteen months of construction, Concord’s Main Street re-opened in November 2016. This award applauds the project leader’s methods and goals to enhance downtown’s economic vitality, improve safety for all, promote the historic fabric and character of Concord, increase ADA access to storefronts, and create new spaces for outdoor dining and public gatherings. Using a mix of public and private dollars, a competitive federal transportation grant, and guided by historical research, the team chose materials and designs that harkened back to various eras in downtown Concord’s history.
Some of those symbolic, yet functional, designs include: the granite pavers in the center lane, which reflect both early paving material and recall the former streetcar track; re-introducing brick and granite curbing first used in 1867; adding street lights based on designs from the 1920s; planting street trees in numbers not seen since the mid-nineteenth century; and accent lighting the 1892 Memorial Arch and 1983 Iron Arch. Other improvements include kiosks with maps and histories, contemporary benches and bicycle racks, and enlivening public art.
Already, the redesigned space has attracted new residential and business investment. The thoughtfully redesigned eight blocks embraces the “complete street” model and serves as a statewide example of how a collaborative effort yields spectacular results.