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Identifying year-round uses and diversifying the economy of a classic New England seaside town

CivicMoxie was contracted through the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development’s MA Downtown Initiative Program to work with the Town of Hull to identify cohesive strategies to support businesses and a robust district throughout the year.

The business district in Hull is 1-1/2 miles long (an approximately 30-minute walk) and consists of two distinct areas connected around the midpoint by a stretch of less active street frontage along the Atlantic beach stretch and the Bay side of the strip. The southern portion of the district, the Nantasket Beach area, is the gateway to Hull and caters more to summer visitors and beach goers while the Kenberma area to the north focuses more on neighborhood resident services and needs. Most beach visitor parking is located near the southern edge of the district, making it unlikely that visitors would walk the long stretch to the northern part of the district. With the distinct character of a summer seaside community, Hull grapples with a number of issues related to the district, including the location of parking, the tradition of many visitors bringing their own food and drink and not frequenting local businesses, and the sheer length of the district that discourages pedestrian activity, despite recent Town improvements of new sidewalks and street furniture at new development areas. While businesses seek more customers, the lack of public transportation and concerted campaign to attract visitors from Boston and beyond, including by ferry, hampers efforts to increase the capacity of the district which is already taxed, in terms of parking supply and congestion, during peak summer weekends.

CivicMoxie recommendations included using public art to weave together disparate areas of the district, coordinating public events and activities to draw beach goers deeper into the district, and forming a BID to support marketing, programming, and transportation initiatives. Employing strategies to expand the Hull season from summer to year-round can also support businesses and provide local activities for residents to enjoy throughout the year. A critical part of this will be DCR’s presence at the table and collaboration on key initiatives. Their active support of this State Rapid Recovery Program will have a tremendous impact on Hull’s commercial district and provide benefits for DCR.

Project type:

Arts and culture, community revitalization, corridor / main streets, downtown / district plan, placemaking, urban design

Rapid Recovery Program: Hull, MA

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)

Town of Hull, MA


October 2021

Project Type:
Arts and culture, community revitalization, corridor / main streets, downtown / district plan, placemaking, urban design

Project Team:
CivicMoxie (lead)

Town of Hull

Subject Matter Experts: Goman & York Advisory Services (marketing) and Stantec (parking and transportation)

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