This page, Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) , is part of
This page, Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) , is offered by

Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI)

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

Stay tuned for more on the Local Rapid Recovery Planning program (LRRP).  The community application period closed on December 18, 2020.  Consultants seeking to apply as LRRP Plan Facilitators or Subject Matter Experts can apply via COMMBUYS Bid Solicitation Number: BD-21-1076-OCDDE-OCD01-57259

The LRRP program provides technical assistance by consultant teams with expertise in effective strategies to stabilize business districts. There is no direct funding available through this program, applicants will be matched with consultant team(s).  There is a total of $9.5 million in technical assistance available, we encourage every interested applicant, whether from a small town center or a group of business districts within a large city, to learn more and to apply.  LRRP projects must be completed by June 30, 2021.  


Slides from the Local Rapid Recovery Planning Webinar held December 9, 2020 

Questions and Answers from December 9, 2020 Local Rapid Recovery Plan webinar can be downloaded here.


Questions:  Send an email to Emmy Hahn at   


US Census 2019 Population Estimates for MA Cities and Towns


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 the MDI Technical Assistance program.MDI FY22 Application Guidelines

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, priorities, and investment. Access to this program is now exclusively available through the One Stop. Learn more about the One Stop.

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. The TA Site Visit Program is restricted to non-entitlement CDBG communities.

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

Technical Workshops

Technical Assistance Grantees