The city took an important step toward revitalizing part of Brunswick that for too long has needed a bit of love when it approved a new enterprise zone along Norwich Street.
Meanwhile, the action on Newcastle Street in downtown Brunswick these days is popping, so to speak.
Signs of construction are appearing at the future home of Richland Rum, a brewery is making plans to open a few doors down from there and a conference center seems to be closer than ever since it was planned more than a decade ago.
On top of that, restaurants and stores are thriving and people are taking notice.
But several blocks down from Newcastle’s intersection with Gloucester Street, Norwich Street runs parallel to the north, for years without the same luster.
Norwich Street was once a hub of activity in Brunswick, prior to the days of box stores and merchants moving to the suburbs.
Today, the corridor only needs a little investment and TLC to make a resurgence.
It has already started in some blocks, like the 1900 block where a creative tattoo artist decided to make turn a long, one-story building into several unique businesses. A few blocks to the south, a hardware store and furniture store that have operated for decades and a neighborhood food market thrive.
There are plenty of other examples along Norwich Street of businesses having long successful lives in the corridor, but sprinkled throughout them are abandoned buildings and dilapidated structures that could provide places for area residents, at Norwich Commons for example, to patronize.
With the city’s action on Wednesday night approving a new enterprise zone that will create one contiguous area in which to offer incentives, all of Norwich Street may start changing.
Imagine if the street had gotten the same treatment Newcastle Street has, with landscaping and clever ways to recreate the feel of a bygone time when cities’ downtowns were the centers of commerce. That can still happen. Having one enterprise zone offering tax incentives and other options to attract new businesses along the corridor may be just the shot in the arm the area needs.
Businesses along the corridor have asked the city for help for years in combating some of the nefarious activity that has developed in the past decades. Perhaps the best medicine for that is an injection of new life that fills empty buildings and creates an area thriving with commerce and activity.
We hope the enterprise zone has the kind of impact that makes Norwich Street all that it can be.