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Mayor Walsh and Boston Main Streets Foundation announce innovation and impact grants


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Neighborhood Development

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today thanked the Boston Main Streets Foundation (BMSF) for awarding a total of $22,500 to five Boston Main Streets Districts. Through these grants, BMSF, which provides fundraising and additional funding to Boston’s Main Streets districts, will support a range of projects, including an art and music series, streetscape beautification, commercial district wayfinding signage, place making, and winter programming activities. The five Innovation and Impact Grants provide direct funding of up to $5,000 to innovative proposals that create new or enhanced programming, services, or partnership opportunities in Boston’s Main Streets districts. This is the fourth round of grants; a fifth round is scheduled for Spring 2015.

“The Boston Main Streets Foundation is tireless in helping support Boston’s small and local businesses,” Mayor Walsh said.  “Last year, I challenged the Foundation to double their fundraising goal from $250,000 thousand to $500,000.  Not only did they get it done, but they are now putting the funds directly into the Main Streets districts in meaningful ways.  After this challenging winter, it is more important than ever to support small and local businesses, and I am glad that we have such a strong partner in the Boston Main Streets Foundation.”

The grants were awarded to five Main Street districts:

  • Egleston Square Main Street’s grant will help revitalize its open spaces, drawing shoppers into the business district by programming a monthly Arts & Music Series in the Egleston Square Peace Garden. The series will highlight the diverse mix of local musicians from Mozambique, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ethiopia and Hip Hop artists who live in Roxbury while promoting an equally diverse mix of shops and restaurants in the Square.
  • St. Mark’s Area Main Street in Dorchester will create several design improvements in the district this spring. These will include increasing public art throughout the district, providing more seating and public gathering spaces, adding planters and plants in high-visibility areas, and installing metal “St. Mark’s Area Main Street” signs on lamp posts to better identify the business district.  
  • Hyde Park Main Street’s grant will help the district to install attractive wayfinding signage around the commercial district. In addition to helping visitors and residents with directions, the signage will enhance the overall feel of the community center.
  • As the first section of a two-part grant, Chinatown Main Street’s grant will generate an RFP to hire a technology consultant to undertake a feasibility study, create a design concept, and explore site locations for an Integrated Outdoor Digital / Wi-Fi Kiosk in Chinatown.
  • Roslindale Village Main Street’s grant will provide winter programming activities and events at the Roslindale Village Main Street’s Winter Farmers’ Market and at the Roslindale Public Library on Saturdays during the winter. This grant was awarded because Roslindale Village businesses are eager to see more programming and activities in Roslindale Village that can draw shoppers during the quiet, post-holiday winter season when foot traffic is at its lowest.

Since 2013, BMSF has awarded 30 Innovation and Impact Grants, totaling $175,000.

"The Boston Main Streets Foundation remains committed to its support of local Boston Main Streets organizations with the announcement of this fourth round of Innovation & Impact Grant awards," said BMSF Board President Joel Sklar. "This continues to be made possible thanks to the generous support provided by our Foundation investors and Board Members, and their understanding of the importance of investing in Boston's neighborhoods and small businesses."

As part of his first budget ever, Mayor Walsh increased funding to the city’s Main Streets districts by 30 percent in order to better support local and small businesses, and has more than doubled funding for the City’s programs for on-site business consulting.  

Established in 1995, Boston Main Streets is a program of the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), the City agency charged with expanding affordable home ownership opportunities, and directly supporting Boston’s neighborhood business districts.