Downtown Fitchburg selected for $1.6M MassDevelopment arts program

April 26, 2022 : Worcester Business Journal, by Katherine Hamilton

Fitchburg has been selected as one of three cities to be included in MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative Creative Cities program, which supports arts and culture partnerships in TDI districts.

The total grant across Fitchburg, Lynn, and Springfield is more than $1.6 million, although it was not disclosed how much Fitchburg individually will receive, according to a Tuesday press release from MassDevelopment.

Since 2018, Fitchburg’s downtown has been a TDI district, where MassDevelopment assigns a fellow to help stimulate economic growth in a particular section of a city. The newly announced Creative Cities initiative will offer staff support, implementation funding, partnership development, leadership training, and place designation for arts and cultural development.

Fitchburg’s TDI Creative Cities program will be headed by ReImagine North of Main, an ongoing downtown revitalization project led by Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus, whose college is located within the TDI district. Lapidus has supported downtown development since he took on his role in 2015, jumpstarting the efforts in 2018 with the redevelopment of Fitchburg’s Theater Block. Another 15 organizations, including businesses and nonprofits, will partner in the Creative Cities program.

The program aims to support the ongoing work of ReImagine North of Main to create equitable opportunities for economic and community growth. 

TDI Creative Cities was founded in 2019 with a $4.4 million award from the Barr Foundation, a nonprofit based in Boston.