NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — MassDevelopment awarded a $10,000 grant to the North Adams Chamber of Commerce to transform the Center Street parking lot at 55 Veterans Memorial Drive into a seasonal public dining corridor dubbed Mohawk Plaza.
The grant is part of the agency's Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places, the first round of which awarded $224,965 in funding for 21 placemaking projects last year.
In December 2020, another $390,000 in funding was made available for a second round.
"Before this pandemic, the vibrant centers of our cities and towns were not only a driving force behind the strength of local economies, they were the places where we gathered to dine, to shop, and to be entertained, and the Commonwealth Places program is one way that we can help these areas bounce back stronger than ever," said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment's Board of Directors. "The Baker-Polito administration continues to support downtowns and town centers through various economic recovery programs, and these Resurgent Places grants are providing non-profit community organizations with the resources to activate public spaces, boost economic activity, and support an equitable recovery."
Funds will be used to add outdoor seating, a sidewalk surface mural, wayfinding signage, ambience lighting, and landscape work.
The North Adams Chamber of Commerce will also crowdfund this summer and fall; if the organization reaches its $7,850 goal it will receive an additional $7,850 matching grant from MassDevelopment.
The funds are 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.
"Amazing things can happen when communities reimagine underutilized public spaces, such as North Adams Chamber of Commerce's vision for a parking lot steps away from the city's Main Street," said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. "MassDevelopment is pleased to help the organization create Mohawk Plaza, a space that will increase foot traffic downtown, provide additional outdoor dining, and reinvigorate a prime public way."
Created in 2016, Commonwealth Places aims to engage community members to make individual contributions to placemaking projects, with the incentive of a funding match from MassDevelopment if the crowdfunding goal is reached.