MassDevelopment has awarded a $10,000 Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places grant to Egleston Square Main Street for Neighborhood Outdoor Dining + Cultural Commons in the Egleston Square Peace Garden, an outdoor dining project at a community-maintained pocket park in Boston’s Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods.
The organization will use funds to buy and install weather-resistant picnic seating at the park, as well as domino tables, temporary art installations, COVID-19 spacing controls, barriers, and markers, hand washing and sanitation stations, planters and decorative plantings, and lighting. The organization will also use funds to repair various elements of the park, and will engage youth workers, neighborhood artists, and area small businesses to play a role in maintaining and activating the space. Egleston Square Main Street will also launch a crowdfunding campaign; if the organization reaches its $5,000 goal, it will receive an additional matching grant from MassDevelopment. The grant was 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.
“MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places program is a resource to help communities implement placemaking projects that improve public spaces, create foot traffic, and stimulate economic activity,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “During this challenging economic climate, we’re pleased to help Egleston Square Main Street activate its local pocket park and draw residents and visitors to this corner of Boston’s Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods.”
Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage and mobilize community members to make individual contributions for placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached. In June 2020, MassDevelopment announced the availability of $225,000 in funding for the Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places. For this round, nonprofits and other community groups could apply to MassDevelopment for grants of up to $25,000. Up to $10,000 per project could be awarded as an unmatched grant; awards greater than $10,000 must be matched with crowdfunding donations. All grantees and projects will be required to follow the mandatory safety standards and protocols of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts plan.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth. During FY2019, MassDevelopment financed or managed 316 projects generating investment of more than $2 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 9,743 jobs and build or preserve 1,992 housing units.