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  .......................................................................................... a product of the Milton Times

Central Avenue
Has a Fresh Look
and New Faces

By Nate Leskovic
Staff Writer

“It was a hidden gem for a long time,” he says. “I think it will be the new frontier in Milton.”
Rooney says he did a comprehensive marketing study to help decide where to open his office and everything pointed to Central Avenue. It has a trolley stop. It’s right on the Boston line, and new residential and commercial space is being planned for the old Hendrie’s building corner and the parking lot next to the retail block on Central Avenue.
“I’m excited about all the new energy,” says Rooney. “I wouldn’t trade this location for any other in Milton.”
At Home Elder Care moved into the old cobbler shop last year from Braintree and owner Pat McDonough, who used to live in town, says she’s extremely happy so far.
“It’s looking up all the time,” she says. “(Our building) hadn’t been touched in around 30 years.”
The business offers support to seniors living at home, including companionship, cleaning, exercise and cooking. It has more than 20 employees. The company’s Allison Holmes says the neighborhood is very welcoming and people often stop by just to chat.
“The town has done a wonderful job beautifying the area,” she says. “It feels nice to be part of the revitalization.”
The construction was tough on businesses last summer, however. Esprit du Vin’s wine sales were down almost 20 percent, according to owner Keith Mills. Giancarlo Francesconi’s Radio Coffeehouse suffered difficult losses as well, and his curbside coffee service—which delivers orders to customers on the street after calling ahead—was disrupted.
Mills says he sees more activity on the sidewalks now and notices people getting off the Neponset River bike trail for a visit. He’s getting an increase in customers from Dorchester and Hyde Park, even from Quincy and Canton.
“People come in and say how beautiful it looks and how it really showcases our store,” he says about the revitalization project. “It’s had a net positive effect on the area…it draws people like a magnet. Before they might have looked at (the square) as run down.”
Francesconi hasn’t seen a major increase in foot traffic or business, though it is hard to compare because his shop is now open until 9 p.m. to sell ice cream. He says he is anticipating the proposed developments.
“I think once construction happens, you’ll see more people coming into the area,” he says.
What remains to be seen is how the elimination of the Central Avenue parking lot will affect the square. Initial plans call for sharing the spaces included in the project with the existing businesses.
Both Mills and Francesconi say they are wary.
“Once and a while I still hear people say that they just drive by because there is no parking in front,” Francesconi says.






















By Jon Prestage Editor The group Sustainable Milton is immersed in an effort that it calls the “Milton Solar Challenge” that could net a four-kilowatt solar panel array worth nearly $50,000 to offset electricity costs of a town building or school. The challenge requires that the group gather 300 families by April 30 willing to join the New England Wind Fund by donating either $5 a month for a year ($60) or providing a one-time $100 payment to the fund, which is a non-profit organization offering financial support for wind development projects throughout the region. As part of the Sustainable Milton campaign, approximately 100 residents showed up on a recent Saturday to take a closer look at David DeSantis’ home, which, when it was built five years ago, was much like any other house in town. Since then, DeSantis, a real estate developer, has installed a range of cutting-edge “green” features that make the home one of the more energy-efficient in town. A 10-kilowatt voltaic solar panel system provides enough electricity to make the home electricity independent. The family’s two vehicles currently run on biodiesel or recycled vegetable oil. Compact fluorescent lighting is used throughout the home. The house is extensively insulated, and before the end of the year DeSantis plans to install a 3.7 kilowatt wind turbine to power two electric vehicles that he hopes to acquire when they become available. DeSantis is serious about energy efficiency, and he thanks Al Gore and his film, An Inconvenient Truth for his commitment to dramatically cut his energy usage. “It’s just good citizenship,” he says. “After seeing the film I had a long talk with my son and we figured the best way was to do these things was to do it ourselves and then try to share our knowledge with others.” He also visited Amazon.com and ordered numerous copies of the film, which he then sent to friends. (continued)