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Commonwealth Places Campaign Launched for "Heart of Holyoke" Placemaking Project

$20,000 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopmentā€™s Commonwealth Places

March 25, 2019


Kelsey Schiller, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2011 & 617-694-9695 (cell)

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Marcos Marrero, City of Holyoke, 413-322-5655

MassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with the City of Holyoke, the Center for Design Engagement, and Nueva Esperanza for a creative placemaking project to activate Main Street and celebrate Holyoke’s Puerto Rican and Latinx community. The project, dubbed El Corazón, or “The Heart of Holyoke,” was developed using feedback from a survey of residents of the city’s newly designated Puerto Rican Cultural Area, and will fund three public art installations downtown: (1) large and welcoming gateway markers that will cover two decommissioned electrical towers; (2) colorful banners that will be hung on light posts along a stretch of Main Street from I-391 to Lyman Street; and (3) community-developed murals and art installations that will be placed on several storefronts, windows, and fences. 

“By infusing culturally significant artwork along Holyoke’s Main Street corridor, ‘The Heart of Holyoke’ aims to show all who live, visit, shop, or dine in downtown Holyoke what this diverse and vibrant neighborhood is all about,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment looks forward to contributing to this project through Commonwealth Places, and is eager to see how these streetscape improvements provide a boost to the local economy.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $20,000 by May 19 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places. Learn more and donate to the Heart of Holyoke at patronicity.com/heartofholyoke.    

“We’re grateful to MassDevelopment and Patronicity for providing this platform where we can bootstrap and boost our local efforts towards making our communities better,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse. “Making artistic expression a clearly visible piece of placemaking and redevelopment efforts is dearly important to my Administration, as our communities thrive not only on better bricks-and-mortar construction, but also by publicly reflecting our hopes for the future and the things that make us proud of our past.”

Commonwealth Places is a collaborative initiative from MassDevelopment and Patronicity that leverages public support for placemaking projects through crowdfunding and a matching grant from MassDevelopment. The program engages residents in the development of strategic projects in their towns and cities. In November 2018, MassDevelopment announced $500,000 in funding for the third year of the program, which has supported successful campaigns across the Commonwealth, from Northampton to Hyannis. Communities, nonprofits, and other entities can learn more about these successful projects, donate to ongoing campaigns, and apply at massdevelopment.com/commonwealthplaces.

“The Heart of Holyoke” placemaking project will take place within Holyoke’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) District. TDI is a separate MassDevelopment program designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts in Gateway Cities. The program works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members in actionable planning, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2018, MassDevelopment financed or managed 384 projects generating investment of more than $4.1 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,994 jobs and build or rehabilitate 830 housing units.