City of Nashua partners with Beyond Walls to create welcoming downtown district supporting local businesses
LYNN, Mass. – As part of its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Nashua has partnered with Beyond Walls to create a welcoming downtown district that supports local businesses while following best public health practices and protocols.
Beyond Walls, a nonprofit dedicated to activating spaces to strengthen communities, recognized the need for flexible outdoor spaces where people can safely gather, eat, drink, and enjoy all that their communities have to offer. With pro-bono design services provided by longtime-supporter, the Boston-based architecture firm, Payette, and in partnership with Lynn Vocational Technical High School, Beyond Walls developed two new “tools” designed to address the immediate challenge.
Last March, Beyond Walls began producing freestanding handwashing stations (WaSH) and customized, easy to install barriers (FoLD) designed to create safe and attractive outdoor dining spaces to help eateries reopen. Using federal CARES Act funds, the City of Nashua invested in six WaSH stations that have been placed outside the Nashua Public Library, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, and at several locations on Main Street. In addition, 130 linear feet of customized FoLD units, an alternative to concrete barriers, will be installed on September 1, along the city’s popular “restaurant row.” Nashua and Lynn are the first municipalities to collaborate with Beyond Walls.
Tim Cummings, Nashua’s Economic Development Director, first became aware of Beyond Walls through its street art initiatives, which include the installation of more than 60 large-scale murals, vintage neon art, mixed-media pieces and LED lighting in the city of Lynn, Massachusetts. Since its founding in 2016, Beyond Walls public art projects have also been featured in three other Massachusetts cities: Cambridge, Beverly and Peabody.
“When I saw the thoughtful barrier design, I knew these barriers were both functional and aesthetically pleasing. We are trying to create a sense of place where people will want to stay and enjoy themselves. Beyond Walls has developed a very practical solution to a very real urban problem. The cold harsh traditional New Jersey Barriers do not create the experience one would want in a downtown dining setting,” said Cummings.
WaSH stations are weather-resistant and can be used in high traffic areas such as parks, playgrounds, business and cultural districts, construction sites and at outdoor dining areas. No electricity or plumbing is required to use WaSH stations which are constructed from laser cut sheet-metal and feature solar powered lighting and foot pedals for hands-free operation. The modular FoLD barrier systems make outdoor dining accessible while protecting clientele from traffic. Each unit can include planters for additional privacy, lighting, and trellises. Both WaSH and FoLD are made from laser cut stainless steel.
“From the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Nashua has clearly demonstrated its commitment to innovation and its support for the city’s business community,” said Al Wilson, Beyond Wall’s Founder and CEO. We welcome the opportunity to work with Mayor Donchess and his team in support of small businesses and local nonprofits. To highlight our positive and productive working relationship with civic and municipal leaders, the words, Nashua, The Gate City, will be inscribed on all FoLD units installed in the downtown area.”