Mason Square in Springfield and Pleasant Street in Worcester among new districts to receive boost of money from MassDevelopment program

February 15, 2022 : Mass Live, by Douglas Hook

Gateway cities like Springfield and Worcester will expand the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), a MassDevelopment program designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts.

Gateway Cities are small to mid-sized cities in Massachusetts with between 35,000 and 250,000 residents. They anchor regional economies around the state, with below state average household incomes and educational attainment rates.

“Gateway Cities are home to one-of-a-kind businesses, institutions, and communities that anchor regional economies across the commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. “Our administration was proud to launch MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative in 2015 as a mechanism for stimulating economic growth, and we’re excited to now expand this proven program’s reach in more than a dozen cities.”

The announcement includes the selection of 12 new districts in downtown Attleboro, Hyannis East End in Barnstable, South High in Holyoke, Broadway and Essex in Lawrence, Upper Merrimack Street in Lowell, Union Street in Lynn, Acushnet Ave. and North End in New Bedford, downtown Pittsfield, Shirley Avenue in Revere, Mason Square in Springfield, Whittenton District in Taunton and Pleasant Street in Worcester will be active for a term of three years. A district in Fall River (South Main) will also be extended for a period of three years.

For seven years, $20 million has been invested in TDI districts through technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs and fellows who work in the districts.

TDI concentrates on economic development activities, resources and investments within designated neighborhood areas, known as “TDI districts,” for a term of two to four years.

During fiscal 2021, MassDevelopment financed or managed 416 projects generating investment of more than $1.86 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 6,578 jobs and build or preserve 1,909 housing units.

“This collaborative, street-level approach engages community members to advance small businesses, activate public spaces, rethink vacant properties, and more,” Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said.

Kennealy also serves as chairman of MassDevelopment’s board of directors.

MassDevelopment has previously designated 16 TDI districts across the commonwealth and has provided other support through the program in five additional cities. Existing communities in Chicopee, Fitchburg, Lawrence, and Worcester will graduate from the program in June 2022.

There are 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, according to the legislature.