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Commonwealth Places Campaign Launched to Improve Walkability and Support Small Businesses in Salem's Point Neighborhood

$40,000 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopmentā€™s Commonwealth Places

April 2, 2019


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

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Machel Piper, North Shore Community Development Coalition, 978-825-4009

Congress Street, SalemMassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with the North Shore Community Development Coalition, which will use campaign funds to make streetscape improvements to Congress Street, a corridor in the Point neighborhood of Salem that is home to many small businesses but is too-frequently used as a convenient cut-through for drivers in route to other parts of the city. To help transform Congress Street into a vibrant retail and restaurant district, North Shore CDC will (1) create a public art plaza at the intersection of Congress Street and Ward Street that will reduce traffic and create an attractive outdoor gathering space; and (2) install three custom-designed parklets with outdoor seating, plantings, bicycle parking stations, and play areas near the Espacio Community Program Space and local businesses.

“These design enhancements along Congress Street will improve walkability, benefit local businesses, and set the stage for further public space improvements down the road,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We look forward to supporting this campaign to make the Point neighborhood an even more unique and vibrant commercial destination.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $40,000 by May 31 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program. Learn more and donate to Revitalize Congress Street at

"We are so grateful for the support of MassDevelopment and Patronicity,” said Mickey Northcutt, CEO of North Shore CDC. “This project is an exciting step for Congress Street, the key corridor in the Point neighborhood, and will lay the groundwork for so much more investment in the coming years."

"Congress Street is the actual heart of the Point neighborhood and where everyone gathers in the summer time,” said Point resident Shantel Alix. “This revitalization project will allow people to appreciate the neighborhood more and it will add value to the community."

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 third Commonwealth Places campaign launched by the North Shore CDC. In 2017, the organization crowdfunded $40,000 and received a $30,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment to build the 2,000-square-foot Espacio Community Program Space in the Point neighborhood of Salem. In 2018, the organization crowdfunded $50,250 and received a $50,000 matching grant from MassDevelopment to fund public art and streetscape improvements at the Punto Urban Art Museum, a mission-driven, open-air, public art program in the Point.

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.