Wellesley Business Buzz: Free meters ending; Restaurant could fill Gap spot; Semester Off has offer for school & healthcare workers

Our roundup of the latest Wellesley, Mass., business news:

Free meters ending this week

Wellesley parkingWellesley is taking the bags off its parking meters, which no longer will be available for two free hours as of March 1. Get out your nickels, quarters, or parking app.

The meters have been free for two hours for much of the pandemic in an effort to help local businesses. The town, which has been losing tens of thousands of dollars per month in parking fees (largely from near empty commuter rail lots), has taken one for the team by bagging the meters.

Still, some would like to see the free parking continue.

Greg Reibman, president of the Newton Needham Regional Chamber (which the Wellesley Chamber has become part of), wrote to the Select Board last week urging the town to extend free meters:

“Paid parking is an essential tool for managing turnover. But parking in Wellesley’s retail areas doesn’t seem to be a problem right now, which should be all the evidence needed to determine that it’s too soon to resume charging.

Meanwhile, our retailers and restaurants are struggling right now. We should do everything we can to make it easy for customers to shop and dine locally, rather than choosing to go to the internet, a mall, or to a neighboring community (including Newton and Needham) that continue to offer free meters….”

Demian Wendrow, owner of London Harness and president of the Wellesley Square Merchants’ Association, says “The merchants feel the continuation of the free parking is very important.  These first few months of 2021 traffic in the square has been very slow.  Anything that can encourage customers to shop at their local stores helps! The free parking also helps us with our curbside pickups which most stores are still offering, and customer are still utilizing this service as they are still not ready to be inside of stores yet.”

Restaurant could fill Gap spot

gap closes jan 2021Linear Retail, which owns the Central Street strip in which the Wellesley Gap operated until its recent shutdown, has put out the word that the space is being subdivided and restaurant operators are encouraged to fill 3,000-6,000 sq. ft. of space, with outdoor seating available.

Linear is also looking to fill other gaps along that stretch, though appears to have a lease pending for the former Florijn space, which has been vacant since 2019.

Semester Off takes off March program fees for school and healthcare workers

Semester Off in Wellesley has since 2015 offered group programs designed to help recent high school graduates and college students struggling academically, socially, and/or emotionally.

Now the educational enrichment group is offering pro bono programming to local teachers, school personnel, and frontline healthcare workers during the month of March. The remote programming options include:

  • Yoga, exercise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workshop, Reflections, Healthy Body/Healthy Mind, Group Team-Building, and Creative Expressions
  • Groupings, specifically of teachers and frontline healthcare workers, matching compatible participants who wish to engage in the same modules and who are willing to devote 3-5 hours each week for 3 weeks.

Email founder Dr. Ilan Goldberg at ilangoldbergmd@SemesterOff.com or call 781) 318-3223 x101.

Got tips on business openings, closings or whatever, feel free to email us here: theswellesleyreport@gmail.com

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