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BOSTON – MassDevelopment today, December 21, announced the availability of $390,000 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 second 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. Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced the funding today during a coronavirus update at the State House.

Downtown Framingham, Inc. received a $10,000 grant through the first round of the Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round,

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Resurgent Places for its Route 126/135 Activation Project, which included installing

  • outdoor seating, umbrellas, and barrier art for cafes at 12 Irving Street
  • murals at 398 Waverly Street and 10 Pearl Street
  • landscaping on Waverly Street. 

“Our administration is committed to supporting local economic recovery efforts as communities adjust and respond to the impacts of COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It’s more important than ever to find new and creative ways to drive foot traffic to our Main Streets and commercial districts, keeping safety and distancing in mind.”

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“Over the past several months, programs like MassDOT’s Shared Streets and Spaces and MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places have delivered much-needed resources to help communities rethink public spaces with new outdoor seating, sidewalk retail venues, and more,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Not only does this kind of creative placemaking create destinations where residents and visitors can dine, shop, and support local businesses, the placemaking process itself helps to set the stage for meeting longer-term economic development goals, starting with getting more community members civically engaged, empowered, and ready to bring their diverse perspectives into planning and recovery efforts.”

“Commonwealth Places helps nonprofits and other community groups develop innovative ways to draw users into our downtowns and commercial districts, so many of which have been impacted by the pandemic,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “I’m proud that MassDevelopment is investing another $390,000 to assist additional cities and towns through this program.”

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“Earlier this year, MassDevelopment ‘pivoted’ our annual Commonwealth Places crowdfunding program to more quickly assist nonprofits and other community groups looking to reimagine and reopen public spaces for safe dining, shopping, and recreation during the pandemic,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “Today we are pleased to double down with another, larger round of available funding to continue to support place-based recovery efforts across Massachusetts.”

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.

Expressions of interest will be accepted on a rolling basis until June 30, 2021, and are available at

MassDevelopment will host an informational webinar about the program on January 12, 2021. Those interested can register at​.

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. Recipients included the Amesbury Chamber of CommerceAttleboro Arts MuseumBeverly Main StreetsBeyond Walls, Inc.Bristol County Chamber FoundationChicopee Chamber of CommerceCreative Hub Worcester Inc.Do-it-Yourself (DIY) LowellDowntown Framingham, Inc.Egleston Square Main StreetFrankie’s Ristorante ItalianoFriends of the North Brookfield Town HouseGreenfield Business AssociationHaverhill Chamber of CommerceHyannis Main Street Business Improvement DistrictLynn Main StreetsNuestra Comunidad Development CorporationReImagine North of MainStockbridge Library, Museum & Archives, and the Turners Falls Cultural District.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.