Common & Court Square Use
THE HISTORY OF COMMONS
A town or city common is also sometimes referred to as a green, a mall, or a square. As far back as when European colonists settled in North America, records used the phrase “common lands”' to signify public or non-granted land in the center of a village or settlement. In addition, the term was used to describe open spaces such as meeting house commons. Later some of these spaces were used for burying grounds, agriculture, or in some cases pest houses for victims of infectious disease. Most frequently found in New England’s clustered and linear villages, commons typically exist in communities with a commercial core marked by a bounded corporate space and surrounded by shops, a meeting house, and private dwellings. These commons came to be primarily recreational and social arenas, and that use persists today.
The Common in Greenfield is situated in the center of the City with Main Street to its north, Bank Row to the east, and Court Square to the west, and is overlooked by City Hall.
Court Square is the stretch of road between the Common and City Hall; it is closed to vehicular traffic at certain times of the year in order to host events.USE OF THE COMMON AND/OR COURT SQUARE
Use-of-the-Common guidelines are outlined in the regulations created and updated in 2022 by the Board of License Commissioners, and in the Code of the City of Greenfield. Many activities are also allowed without permission of the City, as outlined in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Applications for use of Court Square can often be considered through a simple administrative process through the Mayor’s Office. City-run events take precedence over private events, but the Mayor’s Office can work with citizens to find a suitable date.
Use of Court Square, the Common, or both areas, can be requested using a single form.
Applications which include alcohol, entertainment where an admission fee is charged, or physical set-up on the Common, beyond what is allowed by the 1st Amendment, need to go before the Board of License Commissioners, which meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 4 p.m. at the City Hall Meeting Room, Room 203. Completed applications must be received no later than noon on the Thursday preceding the meeting in order to be considered.