Age-Friendly Funding Alert: MA Downtown Initiative

Oct 31, 2018

The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development manages the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI), which offers a range of services and assistance to communities seeking help on how to revitalize their downtowns.

The MDI Technical Assistance Grants are due November 9th and present an opportunity for Age- and Dementia Friendly Communities to build a more comprehensive assessment of livability through. The grant itself provides consultant services to assist a community with its downtown revitalization efforts.

The primary mission of the MDI is to make downtown revitalization an integral part of community development in cities and towns across the Commonwealth.  MDI’s guiding principle is that the most effective approach to downtown revitalization is a holistic one that addresses economic and community development needs, and provides a framework of interrelated activities that promote positive change in a downtown to keep it healthy and prosperous.

Applications will be accepted in the following categories:

  • District Management- Business Improvement District (BID), Parking Benefit District (PBD) or Volunteer-based Organization

Requests for assistance may address any aspect of creating a BID, PBD or a Volunteer- based Organization, including but not limited to: review of the proposed district, development of a local strategy for implementation of a district management option.

  • Design:

Requests for assistance may address any design issues related to downtown or town center revitalization, including but not limited to:  preliminary design guidelines, sign and facade program, concepts for streetscape design.

  • Economics of Downtown:

Requests for assistance may address any economic development issue related to downtown or town center revitalization, including but not limited to:  a review of market areas for the downtown, feasibility studies, building reuse, or business development.

  • Housing:

Requests for assistance may address any aspect of determining how to increase housing in the downtown or town center, including but not limited to:  a housing plan, market analysis for suitable housing mix, zoning recommendations, and second story development assistance.


  • Downtown Mobility:

Requests for technical assistance addressing downtown mobility will range from a parking management plan, analysis of existing and future parking needs, walkability plan, trolley feasibility plan, bus route analysis, and other requests that address improving mobility in a downtown.


  • Small Business Support:

Requests for small business support may address any aspect of providing technical assistance to your downtown businesses.  This could include workshops, small group training, or one-on-one onsite consultations with 6-8 businesses.   It could also be used to support the entirety of businesses in your commercial district with marketing plan, customer building plan and other activities in support of small businesses.  Alternatively, if you are not sure what kind of assistance would be best for your downtown businesses, this grant could be used to conduct a review/needs assessment of your business community’s challenges to determine what kind of help is needed.  Please contact Emmy Hahn to discuss your application.

  • Wayfinding/Branding:

Requests for assistance may address any aspect of developing a public way finding system and the creation of a distinguishable image or logo that carries through the various streetscape elements, including but not limited to: creation of public design elements that will be used throughout the downtown, way finding plan, cost analysis for implementation, and branding of a downtown through historic elements.