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Springfield, Chicopee each receive $30,000 grants to help downtowns recover from COVID shutdowns

June 10, 2021 : MassLive, by Jeanette DeForge

Business organizations in Chicopee and Springfield were among nine across the commonwealth to receive MassDevelopment grants to help boost local downtowns recovering from the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.

The Transformative Development Initiative grants were designed to help Gateway cities, which are midsized former manufacturing cities that face economic challenges, boost businesses. They ranged from $65,000 to $30,000, officials said.

“Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities are home to dynamic downtowns with one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “As these neighborhoods recover from the impacts of COVID-19, MassDevelopment’s TDI Local awards will provide a timely boost to help businesses attract and welcome patrons through their doors.”

A total of $390,000 was awarded to help the organizations support businesses by providing assistance for outdoor dining, sign improvements, marketing, public events and more, he said.

The Springfield Business Improvement District received $30,000 to support its Destination Downtown Initiative aimed at increasing foot traffic to local businesses affected by the pandemic. It will fund outdoor events, marketing, aesthetic improvements and do other things, officials said.

The Chicopee Chamber of Commerce will also receive $30,000 to support marketing efforts, help businesses create outdoor dining spaces and make store improvements in the downtown area, officials said.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth.