Town officials from Southbridge, MA have heard so many good things about Putnam’s downtown that they decided to visit the mill town to see firsthand the large and frequent community events that are garnering rave reviews, reports the Worcester Telegram.

Putnam used to be a lot like downtrodden Southbridge, in part because of an over-reliance on the antique market in the 1990’s, with the rise of websites like Ebay and Craigslist ravaging the local economy.

The group of municipal staff and town councilors from Southbridge were greeted by Putnam Mayor Tony Falzarano, Town Administrator Douglas Cutler, Community Development Director Delpha M. Very and Deputy Police Chief Lionel Konicki.

During the tour, Ms. Very said all of Putnam’s downtown storefronts are filled and she’s desperate for space, a problem Southbridge would like to have. Elements that led to Putnam’s success included ordinances that allow outdoor dining and discourage blight, as well as a nearby mill redevelopment aimed at attracting millennials an empty-nesters. As Ms. Very put it, “everyone wants to come back to the downtown, as they need a sense of community and to connect, in walkable communities.”

Southbridge searches for answers in downtown Putnam transformation