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.

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 elizabeth.hahn@mass.gov   

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

Activities

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 FY23 Application 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 www.mass.gov/onestop

Technical Workshops

Technical Assistance Grantees

Learn about the FY22 awardees

 

Cultural District:

Cultural District: City of North Adams

 

Design:

Design: Town of Auburn

Design: Town of Dracut 

Design: Town of Duxbury

Design: City of Greenfield

Design: Town of Holliston

Design: Town of Marshfield 

Design: Town of Spencer

Design: Town of Sterling

 

District Management:

District Management: Town of Hudson

District Management: Town of Rockland

 

Economics of Downtown:

Economics of Downtown: Town of Athol

Economics of Downtown: City of Beverly

Economics of Downtown: Town of Dracut

Economics of Downtown: City of Greenfield

Economics of Downtown: Town of Groveland

Economics of Downtown: Town of Lancaster  

Economics of Downtown: Town of Middleborough

Economics of Downtown: Town of Montague/Millers Falls

Economics of Downtown- Town of Palmer

Economics of Downtown: City of Saugus

Economics of Downtown: Town of Stoughton

Economics of Downtown: Town of Stow

Economics of Downtown: Town of West Newbury

Economics of Downtown: Town of Williamsburg

 

Housing:

Housing: Town of Athol

Housing: Town of Essex

Housing: Town of Milford

 

Mixed Use Development:

Mixed Use Development: Town of South Hadley

 

Mobility(Parking):

 

Mobility: Town of Athol

Mobility: Town of Billerica

Mobility: Town of Canton

Mobility: Town of Dedham

Mobility: City of Methuen

Mobility: Town of Rockport

Mobility: Town of Shrewsbury

Parking: City of Beverly

Parking: Town of Essex

Parking: Town of Medfield

Parking: Town of Shelburne

Parking: Town of Stoneham

Parking: Town of Sturbridge

 

Placemaking:

Placemaking: Town of Burlington

Placemaking: Town of Maynard

 

Small Business Support:

Small Business Support: City of Agawam

 

Wayfinding/Branding:

Wayfinding: Town of Clinton

Wayfinding: City of Easthampton

Wayfinding: Town of Foxborough

Wayfinding: Town of Hudson

Wayfinding: Town of Hull

Wayfinding: Town of Natick

Wayfinding: City of Newburyport

Wayfinding: Town of North Chelmsford

Wayfinding: Town of Sunderland

Wayfinding: Town of Wellesley

Wayfinding: Town of Winchendon

Wayfinding: City of Woburn

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