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Boston kicks off its Reimagine Main Streets programme

The goal is to embed greater equity into the programme, particularly as local economies feel the impact of Covid-19, and to help close the racial wealth gap.

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Mayor Walsh says Boston is facing a pivotal moment in its history
Mayor Walsh says Boston is facing a pivotal moment in its history

The City of Boston has held a virtual community ‘kick-off’ discussion event as part of a community engagement process designed to strengthen the future of Boston Main Streets programme.

 

The goal of “Reimagine Boston Main Streets” is to embed greater equity into the programme, particularly as local economies feel the impact of Covid-19, and to help close the racial wealth gap by supporting new and existing businesses.

 

Main Street organisations

 

Boston was the first city in the US to create a neighbourhood Main Streets programme, established in Roslindale in 1983. Today, Boston’s 20 neighbourhood Main Street organisations work with business and community members to create, build, and sustain healthy commercial districts.

 

“We are facing a pivotal moment in the history of Boston – a moment of opportunity to reshape our urban neighbourhoods and their businesses,” said Martin Walsh, mayor.

 

“Our small businesses add to the vibrancy and character of each of our neighbourhood commercial districts, and I look forward to working alongside our communities to reimagine their future.”

 

Over the last 24 years, the city leaders report each Main Streets district has had varied success, with some demonstrating difficulties in establishing thriving economic commercial efforts.

“We are facing a pivotal moment in the history of Boston – a moment of opportunity to reshape our urban neighbourhoods and their businesses”

Through the ‘Reimagine’ process, the City hopes to expand the programme into a more equitable tool for community development and transformation across all of Boston’s neighbourhood commercial districts. The public engagement from this process will shape the vision for the Boston Main Streets programme.

 

Following a public request for proposals (RFP) process, in May, the Office of Economic Development chose Boston-based Strategy Matters and CJ Strategies as the consultants to lead the Reimagine Boston Main Streets effort, which includes Archipelago Strategy Group (ASG) as subcontractors.

 

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the City of Boston reports it has been steadfast in its commitment to supporting the small business community. Nearly $6.7m in debt-free grants have been distributed to over 1,850 small businesses in every neighbourhood across the city through the Office of Economic Development’s small business relief fund.

 

Earlier in November, the City announced three new funds totalling $6.3m that will help support small businesses in Boston that have been affected by Covid-19.

 

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