BOSTON—March 18, 2016—Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced thirteen awards from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative to communities across the Commonwealth. Through the MDI Technical Assistance Program, these grants support local downtown revitalization efforts by connecting municipalities with high-impact consultant services. This year’s awards, totaling $130,000, are set aside from the Community Development Block Grant program every year, and are administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

“These awards represent our administration’s continued efforts to promote investment in our downtowns,” said Governor Baker. “These programs deepen our ongoing engagement with cities and towns and will help to revitalize Main Streets districts across the Commonwealth.”

“Vibrant downtowns and town centers are a crucial component of the success of communities across the Commonwealth, and we are proud to support these targeted investments,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “These grant awards leverage unique community assets and help to ensure long term growth.”

“Our administration is proud to support efforts to spur job creation and economic growth in our downtowns,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “These local technical assistance grants complement our other efforts to make ensure that our cities and towns are prepared for future success. Creating vibrant downtown spaces ensures our communities can retain their local character and benefit residents throughout the Commonwealth.”

Auburn Town Manager, Julie Jacobson stated, “We are grateful to the Baker-Polito administration for their support of local government and for providing the resources to assist communities strengthen their downtowns and village centers.  The Town is very excited to begin this planning initiative. I want to recognize Matt Benoit, our Town Planner, for his work on this successful grant application to a very competitive program.”

“The Massachusetts Downtown Initiative gives communities tools to meet their own unique needs and take advantage of their strengths and assets,”said Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development Chrystal Kornegay. “Downtown spaces are a vital asset for municipalities across the Commonwealth to preserve and enhance residents’ ability to live, work and thrive in their community.”

The MDI project awards will be used to fund a variety of downtown revitalization initiatives across the thirteen communities. In partnership with local towns and cities, the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative will also be providing technical assistance in the form of workshops, programs, and professional consultant services as part of a holistic approach to downtown revitalization. These services will provide the framework and tools to continue advancing local improvements beyond the grant program.

2016 Massachusetts Downtown Initiatives Grant Award Winners

Auburn will create design guidelines for its village center.

Agawam will implement a downtown retail retention program.

Beverly will implement a downtown parking inventory and management plan.

Essex will implement a parking management plan for the village center.

Holliston will draft conceptual designs, and recommendations, for a downtown complete streets plan.

Hudson will implement a Business Improvement District feasibility plan for the downtown.

Middleborough will conduct a downtown market analysis.

Saugus will conduct a market analysis of Cliftondale Square.

Stoneham will implement a downtown complete streets study.

Stoughton will conduct market analysis and space inventory related to downtown restaurant uses.

Sturbridge will conduct a feasibility study for seasonal trolley service.

Wellesley will implement a wayfinding plan for the downtown.

Woburn will implement a wayfinding plan for Woburn Square.