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Four local communities receive MassDevelopment grants

Date: 8/6/2015

BOSTON – Holyoke, Chicopee, Springfield and Westfield have been named the recipients of grants from MassDevelopment as part of an initiative to fund “placemaking events.”

The grants were part of the Transformative Development Initiative that “seeks to enhance local public-private engagement and community identity, stimulate an improved quality of life for local residents, and spur increased investment and economic activity.”

Kelsey Abbruzzese of MassDevelopment explained the agency is administering the funds established by the Massachusetts Legislature. This is a new program, she added and the grants announced were the first round.

Whether or not there will be additional grants is up the Legislature, Abbruzzese said.

“Placemaking projects such as farmers markets, parklets, and art installations are small efforts that make a big impact in the Commonwealth’s urban centers,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones said. “We’re pleased to partner with these Gateway Cities on their creative proposals as they build ownership in a district’s future with a wide group of stakeholders, and we look forward to the dynamic activities happening this summer.”

Chicopee received $7,500 to help develop a downtown block party this fall. The date of Sept. 12 has been established for the event and the details will be announced at an upcoming press release, according to Mayor Richard Kos’ office.

Holyoke also received $7,500 to fund a competition and installation of “dynamic street furniture by Holyoke-based artists and makers will serve as permanent infrastructure and public art, further showcasing the Holyoke creative economy.”

Springfield received $5,000 for a five-week program of outdoor movie presentations in September and October, while Westfield also received $5,000 “to create a vibrant outdoor space in the heart of the Elm Street corridor in a former empty lot; Westfield will introduce additional placemaking elements around the Crepes Tea House food truck.”