New Bedford State Pier RFP: Public Information & Opportunity to Comment. Learn more

Back to News

Lowell Launches Commonwealth Places Campaign to Activate Downtown Kerouac Park

$25,000 goal to win matching grant through MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places Initiative
May 15, 2018


​Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)

Jonathan Berk, Patronicity, 617-750-6008

Tobias Marx, City of Lowell, 978-674-4000

MassDevelopment and the civic crowdfunding platform Patronicity have launched a new Commonwealth Places campaign with the City of Lowell to transform an underused downtown park into a vibrant and lively space filled with music, events, food and festivities throughout the year. Last year, Lowell transformed a windswept lot into a place for food trucks, music, and more. Dubbed the Mill Yard, this formerly vacant lot became a downtown destination. Knowing this installation would be temporary and with construction underway in the Hamilton Canal Innovation District, the Mill Yard did not have plans to re-open in summer 2018. This Commonwealth Places campaign will transfer some of the existing equipment that made the Mill Yard successful – a shipping container, furniture, lighting, barrels, and a generator – to Kerouac Park, and expand upon it with new equipment, providing a permanent space for people to congregate and enjoy downtown Lowell.

“Lowell has seen how successful a pop-up placemaking effort can be for community gathering, and this campaign will provide a permanent space for that success and create a year-round boost to the downtown economy,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We look forward to supporting the city’s work to transform a small piece of beloved Kerouac Park.”

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $25,000 by June 30 at midnight, the project will win a matching grant with funds from MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program. Learn more and donate at

“Kerouac Park is a rare green space in downtown Lowell, and it can be much livelier with a little more love,” said Tobias Marx, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Lowell. “Fundraising with Commonwealth Places means money to make Kerouac a better space to relax, play, mingle, laugh, gather, and celebrate Lowell,” added Marx.

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 June 2017, MassDevelopment announced $1 million in funding for the second 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, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2017, MassDevelopment financed or managed 377 projects generating investment of more than $4.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 9,488 jobs and build or rehabilitate 1,863 residential units.