Commonwealth Places Campaign Launched to Activate North Adams' Ashland Street Corridor

$12,500 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places

April 22, 2019


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

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Ben Lamb, Ashland Street Initiative, 518-312-6363

MassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with the Ashland Street Initiative, a coalition of community groups including the NAMAzing Initiative, North Adams Complete Streets Initiative, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, and O+ North Adams. Using campaign funds, the Ashland Street Initiative will implement several placemaking projects along the Ashland Street corridor in North Adams, with a goal to activate the neighborhood and make it more bike- and pedestrian-friendly. Specifically, the organization will add new benches, plant trees, create rain-activated art along the corridor’s sidewalks, install custom-made single-mount bike racks and stations with crossing flags for pedestrians, and paint a mural on the exterior wall of 50 Ashland Street.

“The Ashland Street Initiative is spearheaded by a diverse group of local organizations committed to making Ashland Street a more welcoming place to dine, shop, and spend time,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “MassDevelopment looks forward to supporting these partners as they implement strategic streetscape improvements and breathe new life into the neighborhood.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $12,500 by May 17 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program. Learn more and donate to the Ashland Street Initiative at!.

“Ashland Street has the potential to again become a central artery for people and interactions into and out of the heart of downtown North Adams,” said Ben Lamb of the Ashland Street Initiative. “With the enhancements that will be made possible through the Ashland Street Initiative, we will amplify the sense of place on the street, allowing for our diverse breadth of community members, from college students to lifelong city residents, to experience a safer and more attractive corridor to help draw them into the vibrant future of our fantastic city.”

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

This is the second Commonwealth Places campaign launched in North Adams. In 2017, the NAMAzing Initiative, a collective of community members, business owners, and municipal leaders in North Adams, crowdfunded $35,871 and received a $25,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment for a placemaking initiative to reinvigorate Eagle Street in the city’s downtown.

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.