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MassDevelopment Announces $225,000 in Commonwealth Places Funding to Support Economic Recovery from COVID-19 through Placemaking

June 19, 2020


Louisa Stone, MassDevelopment, 857-283-3340 (cell)

MassDevelopment today announced $225,000 in funding for a new round of the Commonwealth Places program, a statewide initiative that leverages public support for placemaking projects in Massachusetts. Funding through this special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places is being made available specifically to assist local economic recovery efforts as community partners prepare public spaces and commercial districts to serve residents and visitors. Eligible projects will comply with the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan, and may include outdoor seating spaces, sidewalk retail venues, partitions to support social distancing, and more.

“Through the first three rounds of our Commonwealth Places program, MassDevelopment has funded placemaking projects that attract visitors, stimulate economic activity, and create a sense of ‘place’ that’s unique to each community,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “In the wake of COVID-19, we are pleased to offer this special round of funding to help organizations reimagine and reopen public spaces for safe dining, shopping, and recreation.”

Nonprofits and other community groups can apply to MassDevelopment for grant awards of up to $25,000. Up to $10,000 per project may be awarded as an unmatched grant; awards greater than $10,000 must be matched with crowdfunding donations. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning June 22, 2020 until July 31, 2020, and will be available at

Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places complements the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s recently announced Shared Streets & Spaces, a grant program that will provide grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for municipalities to quickly launch or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities.

MassDevelopment will host an informational webinar about Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places on June 25, 2020 at 3 p.m. Those interested can register at

Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions for placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached. Through its first three rounds, Commonwealth Places has launched 64 projects in Massachusetts, with communities crowdfunding more than $2.3 million and MassDevelopment providing more than $1.8 million in matching funds. Previous projects have included main street improvement projects in Hyannis, North Adams, and Wakefield; neighborhood-wide public art installations in Lynn, Salem, and Worcester; and pop-up retail activations in Ashland, Brockton, and Lowell, among others.

In October 2019, MassDevelopment announced $500,000 in funding for a fourth round of Commonwealth Places. The agency has selected successful applicants, and awardees are currently amending their projects to address COVID-19 restrictions prior to launching their crowdfunding campaigns. In addition to the $225,000 in Commonwealth Places funding announced today, MassDevelopment anticipates announcing a subsequent round of program funding by June 30, 2021.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.