For Immediate Release - April 16, 2015

Nine Communities Across the State Receive Grants Through the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative

Awards will support downtown revitalization and training and technical assistance

BOSTON – Thursday, April 16, 2015 – Today the Baker-Polito Administration is pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) will make nine awards to communities across the state. The MDI awards will fund consultant services to support local downtown revitalization efforts. In addition, MDI has approved funds for training and technical assistance for the communities that requested MDI assistance this year. These awards, totaling $100,000, are set aside from the Community Development Block Grant program every year and are administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

“In addition to supporting our municipalities through increases to local aid in this year’s budget, Lt. Governor Polito and I are pleased to announce these awards to further target investment into downtown development,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to our continued partnership with local governments to revitalize Main Streets and prepare our cities and towns for future success.”

“These types of targeted downtown revitalization efforts at are critical to the attraction and preservation of diverse businesses in communities across the state” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Creating great urban places that people can take pride in will have resounding benefits, both economically and culturally, throughout the Commonwealth.”

“The Massachusetts Downtown Initiative has chosen awards that will accurately and meaningfully target various aspects of these communities, including small business support, parking, navigation, and the creative economy” said Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay. “These awards give local officials the tools they need to support and revitalize their downtown.”

“Congratulations to Amherst and Greenfield on receiving Downtown Initiative grants to invest in their communities. These grants will help local officials by providing them with tools and assistance to continue to grow their downtowns into more vibrant and innovative districts,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “Thank you to the Department of Housing and Community Development for providing meaningful investments into these efforts.”

“The local small businesses and the many arts and culture opportunities in downtown Natick are driving economic growth and community engagement in our town and across MetroWest and the Commonwealth,” said Senator Karen Spilka. “The Massachusetts Downtown Initiative is a terrific way to support innovative projects, like the creative economy efforts in Natick Center, that are bringing new energy to downtown areas.”

Project awards will support the implementation of a business improvement district in Great Barrington, an assessment of cultural assets in Natick, analyses of street designs in North Adams and North Reading, a market study in Palmer, parking development in Danvers, a retail retention program in Millbury, and navigation plans in Amherst and Greenfield.

In partnership with local towns and cities, the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative will also be providing technical assistance in the form of workshops, programs, and professional consultant services as part of a holistic approach to downtown revitalization. These services will provide the framework and tools to continue advancing local improvements beyond the grant program.