Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI)

The Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) offers a range of services and assistance to communities seeking help on how to revitalize their downtowns.

This program is part of the Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process of community and economic development grant programs that make targeted investments based on a Development Continuum. This process will streamline the experience for the applicant and better coordinate programs and staff on engagement and grant making. It will also reorient the State from a passive reviewer of funding requests to an active partner in economic development strategy, priories, and investment. Access to this program is now exclusively available through the One Stop. Learn more about the One Stop

To learn more about the Rapid Recovery Plan (RRP) Program, please visit the program website.

Questions:  Send an email to Emmy Hahn at   

The primary mission of the MDI is to make downtown revitalization an integral part of community development in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. MDI's guiding principles are that the most effective approach to downtown revitalization is a holistic one; that it addresses economic and community development needs; and that it provides a framework of interrelated activities that promote positive change in a downtown to keep it healthy and prosperous.

Successful downtown revitalization is comprehensive and includes a well-balanced community strategy composed of seven downtown building blocks:

* Encouraging Community Involvement & Ownership;
* Preserving & Enhancing Downtown Character;
* Ensuring Economic Vitality;
* Promoting Downtown Assets;
* Getting Into & Around Downtown;
* Living Downtown; and,
* Keeping Downtown Safe.

Business Improvement District information


Currently, MDI provides assistance through the following components:

  • Desktop Technical Assistance
  • Ongoing technical assistance on downtown-related issues is provided by staff via telephone, fax, and written materials based on requests from communities as well as referrals from DHCD staff. Recent requests have included how to develop business recruitment programs, upper story spaces, and downtown organizational bylaws.
  • Download the Guidelines for MDI Technical Assistance Program. 

FY25 MA Downtown Initiative Program Guidelines

Education and Training

MDI is charged with development of downtown education and training opportunities that meet the needs of communities at various stages of downtown revitalization. A series of workshops is held each year on topics such as business recruitment and retention, design issues, creating a business improvement district, or upper-story housing.

Eligible Applicants

Eligibility requirements vary among program components and restrictions may apply. 

To access the application for MDI please use the Community One Stop application which can be found at

Technical Assistance Grantees

FY 24 MDI Technical Assistance Grants

Town of Acton: Wayfinding and Branding
Town of Ashburnham: Wayfinding and Branding
Town of Athol: Design Guidelines
City of Attleboro: Pedestrian Experience Study
Town of Barnstable: Design Signage Standards
Town of Brookline: Phase 2 BID Implementation
Town of Edgartown: Wayfinding and Branding
Town of Falmouth: Parking Management Plan
City of Framingham: Design Guidelines
Town of Grafton: Wayfinding
City of Greenfield: Coordination of Organizations supporting the Downtown
Town of Hudson: BID Impact Study
Town of Lancaster: Wayfinding and Branding
Town of Leicester: Parking Plan with future Development
City of Lowell: Phase 1 BID Implementation
Town of Manchester by the Sea: Wayfinding and Branding
City of Quincy: Pedestrian Walkability Study
Town of Reading: Arts and Culture Plan
City of Revere: Parking Management Plan
City of Taunton: Downtown Branding
Town of West Springfield: Parking Wayfinding Plan
Town of Williamstown: Wayfinding and Branding

FY 23 MDI Grantees and Final Reports

City of Fitchburg Downtown Market Report

City of Gardner Wayfinding Report

City of Greenfield Parking Report

City of New Bedford Wayfinding Report

Town of Ashburnham Design Guidelines

Town of Essex Placemaking Report

Town of Manchester Placemaking Plan

Town of Middleborough Wayfinding Report

Town of Stougton Train Station Report

Town of Walpole Wayfinding Report

FY 22 MDI Grantees and Final Reports

City of Attleboro 

City of Chelsea 

City of Greenfield 

Town of Medfield

Town of Athol 

Town of Belmont 

Town of Bolton

Town of Hyannis

Town of Montague 

Town of Needham

Town of Reading

Town of Rockport

Town of Winthrop

Contact   for Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI)


Press Contact: Meggie Quackenbush, Director of Communications Email EOED Contact Information at


(617) 788-3605


1 Ashburton Place, Room 2101, Boston, MA 02108

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