Main South awarded $60K for wayfinding, storefront upgrades
June 18, 2021 : Telegram & Gazette, by Brad Petrishen
WORCESTER — The state has awarded a $60,000 grant aimed at making businesses in Main South easier to navigate and more appealing to passersby.
The funds, part of ongoing efforts to improve the neighborhood’s business climate, will provide for wayfinding signs and facade improvements.
“It’s very much needed, and it’s going to help with everything we’re currently trying to do to revitalize the Main South neighborhood,” Laura Perez-Garcia, president of the Main South Business Association, said Wednesday.
The association, which will be throwing the first-ever Main South Dominoes Tournament at a June 25 “Back to Business" family event, last month installed a large public art installation reading “I love Main South” on Main Street across from Beacon Pharmacy.
The money for that installation, as well as the newest announced funding, comes from the Transformative Development Initiative, a state program aimed at improving business corridors in struggling urban areas.
According to MassDevelopment, the state agency that administers the TDI, the new grant will provide $30,000 for the installation of banners on light poles, neighborhood maps, business decals and street signs “pointing towards district assets.”
The other $30,000 will be used to remake the facades of businesses from 818 to 830 Main St.
That block, which is near the intersection of Main and King streets, is anchored by Maria’s Kitchen at 826 Main St.
“It needs drastic work,” Perez-Garcia noted of the building that houses Maria’s.
The $60,000 in grants will be administered by the Main South Community Development Corp., a nonprofit that has been helping the business association get off the ground.
The association was started in 2019 with the help of a state-funded “fellow” spearheading the TDI project in Main South, Ivette Olmeda.
Perez-Garcia said the association is excited to be throwing a "Back to Business” family event from 2 to 6 p.m. June 25 at Fuller Family Park, 104 Murray Ave.
The marquee event will be the first Main South Dominoes Tournament, which costs $10 per couple and will award a trophy and $100 to the victors.
“We’re very excited to put that out, and we hope it can continue on to be a tradition we hold every summer,” Perez-Garcia said.
There will also be a backpack giveaway for kids, food, a gift card raffle, music, Zumba and art activities for kids and adults.
Those interested in signing up for the dominoes tournament can call 774-243-7107 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The $60,000 TDI grant is among $390,000 in such grants announced across the state last week.
The other local TDI district receiving a grant was Fitchburg, where $40,000 will go toward storefront improvements, lease subsidies for startups and growing businesses and “other strategic projects,” the state said.