Take a drive down Main Street at sunset and it becomes clear why Brockton, Massachusetts wants to revitalize its downtown.
The street is poorly lit and there is little activity, save at a few businesses — a barber shop, a Dunkin’ Donuts, an auto parts shop. Corner stores attract crowds that hang out by the entrances, but many storefronts are dark.
Brockton appeared to be on the rise a decade ago, yet the city has continued to struggle, beset by a perception that it was in decline and hit hard by the loss of manufacturing and a devastating foreclosure crisis.
Now, though, Brockton appears to have new energy: More than $100 million is being invested downtown, and a new city administration is aggressively pursuing economic development opportunities, prompting renewed attention from the state.
City leaders and investors are hoping that this time, at last, the renaissance will be real.