Why the Norton Village Center?

When we think of New England villages, we might picture two-lane streets lined with local businesses surrounding a town common. Buildings might be two to three stories, with shops and restaurants on the first floor, and apartments above. You can typically walk from place to place along sidewalks and pathways that connect key places in the village.

The Norton Village Center has many of these characteristics, but has struggled to maintain its identity as a true “town center.” It is the historic heart of Norton, with Library Square and Wheaton College serving as the anchors of the Norton Center Historic District along East Main Street. There’s an impressive collection of architecture in the area, and many residents come to “downtown” to see friends, run errands, and grab a bite to eat. But getting around Village Center on foot, by bike, or in a car can be a challenge with the high levels of traffic and lack of safety features.