Downtown district improvements coming to more than a dozen towns

February 8, 2023 : The Center Square, Brent Addleman

(The Center Square) – Thirteen Massachusetts communities will benefit from $1.5 million in new state investments, MassDevelopment said.

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative local grants are designed to bolster small business growth and retention in Gateway Cities. Funding is aimed at projects including storefront improvements, technical assistance, equipment upgrades, and marketing plans.

“Thriving small businesses are at the core of vibrant, walkable downtowns and main streets,” Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “This $1.5 million investment from MassDevelopment will boost small businesses in 13 Gateway Cities by helping them attract customers and grow operations.”

The program, according to the release, will work via cross-sector collaborations to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives designed to spur public and private investments.

“We know that funding for small business growth and retention is a priority in all communities, and the organizations we are awarding TDI Local funding to today have designed outstanding projects to help meet this need,” MassDevelopment President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Rivera said in a statement. “Our Transformative Development Initiative is driving economic growth in 13 Gateway Cities through the expertise of our fellows working on the ground and through grant programs such as this.”

Of the awarded projects, according to the release, the Downtown Attleboro Business Association will receive $100,000 that will extend direct grants in the Attleboro district for general improvements, marketing, equipment upgrades and other needs. The funding will also support event programming.

Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, the release reads, will receive $106,500, which is earmarked to spur small businesses and improve walkability in the downtown district.

Lynn Main Streets Inc., according to the release, will see $125,000 in grant funding to assist downtown restaurants. Worcester Common Ground Inc. will receive $115,000 to help small business owners collaborate with property owners for the costs of doing business, including rent, payroll, and utilities, to give flexible funding to be used for property improvements.