More Green in Downtown Lowell
MassDevelopment Awards UTEC, Inc. a Commonwealth Places Grant for “The Green @ UTEC,” an Outdoor Community Space in the Former Lowell District Courthouse Neighborhood of Downtown Lowell
January 3, 2022
Matthew Mogavero, 857-248-0868
|Rendering courtesy of UTEC, Inc.|
LOWELL, Mass. – MassDevelopment has awarded a $38,555 grant to UTEC, Inc. to transform an underutilized open space at the intersection of Warren and Hurd Streets in downtown Lowell into The Green @ UTEC, a public outdoor area. The space sits adjacent to the headquarters of UTEC, an agency serving justice-involved young adults. The organization will designate approximately 2,000 square feet at the space as a public park, using funds for outdoor seating, interior plumbing, electric work, and an AV system to support park programming. Additionally, UTEC will use a portion of the space for events and childcare and will also make it available for rent by community members and local businesses. The project, which complements a 2019 MassWorks grant, will help activate a highly visible area in downtown Lowell that has recently experienced increased vacancy due to the relocation of the Lowell District Courthouse. The funds are awarded through MassDevelopment’s special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places, which was made available specifically to assist local economic recovery efforts as community partners prepare public spaces and commercial districts to serve residents and visitors.
“The Commonwealth Places program is one way that we can help the vibrant centers of our cities and towns bounce back as a driving force behind the strength of local economies, and continue to be the places where we gather to dine, to shop, and to be entertained,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “The Baker-Polito Administration has been pleased to support The Green @ UTEC through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, and this Resurgent Places grant will provide additional resources to activate this public space, boost economic activity, and support an equitable recovery.”
“Lowell will join Gateway Cities across Massachusetts in leading economic development through expanding green spaces that drive foot traffic downtown, stimulate their local economies, and create hubs of community and cultural activity,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is proud to help UTEC, Inc. advance The Green @ UTEC and breathe life into a prime parcel in downtown Lowell.”
Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions to placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MassDevelopment announced the opening of the first Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places in June 2020 and from August – October 2020 awarded $224,965 in funding for 21 placemaking projects across Massachusetts.
In December 2020, MassDevelopment announced the availability of $390,000 in funding for a second Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places. Nonprofits and other community groups can apply to MassDevelopment for seed grants of between $250 to $7,500 to fund inclusive community engagement, visioning, and local capacity building that will support future placemaking efforts, or implementation grants of up to $50,000 to execute a placemaking project. For implementation grants, up to $10,000 per project may be awarded as an unmatched grant; awards greater than $10,000 must be matched with crowdfunding donations. For this project, UTEC, Inc. crowdfunded $28,555.
More information about the program is available at massdevelopment.com/commonwealthplaces.
MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2021, 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.