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Pleasant St. Transformative Development Initiative Receives $125K from MassDevelopment

For Immediate Release: 3/27/2024 2:54 pm

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Worcester Pleasant Street Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Partnership was awarded $125,000 from MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative Local Program.

This program aims to enhance and revitalize the aesthetics of the Pleasant St. neighborhood commercial district by providing financial support to property and business owners to offset their investment costs for storefront improvement projects, business relocation assistance to the corridor, and the launch of a branding initiative in the district.
Storefront Improvement grants are designated for properties or businesses located on Pleasant St. between Main St. and Park Ave. Storefronts are eligible for up to $20,000 in project reimbursement. A review committee will determine the amount of grant funding awarded. Worcester Common Ground, Inc. is acting as the fiscal agent and will continue to lend its community organizing expertise to help in this effort.

The Pleasant St. TDI is an expansion of a similar program funded by MassDevelopment in 2022 that supported façade improvements, including increased lighting and repaired windows. Grants will support occupied buildings with deteriorating conditions and uplift the area as a welcoming place to live, visit, shop, and work. Improvements eligible for funding include replacing or restoring the original architecture of the façade, lighting, security cameras, signs, awnings, window bar removal, exterior paint, and more.

TDI Local funds locally developed and managed small-business support programs tailored to the specific needs of individual communities. In February, MassDevelopment awarded $1,625,000 in grants to 13 organizations across the state, including $125,000 for Worcester’s Pleasant Street TDI Fiscal Agent Worcester Common Ground, Inc.

“The TDI program assistance has been beneficial for Guardian Integrated Systems/A to Z Integrated Systems to realize an update to the front of our building, which we otherwise may not have been able to accomplish," said Wendy Steinhilbert, owner of Guardian Integrated and property owner of 253 Pleasant St. “The team at TDI made the process streamlined and extremely easy to navigate in that we simply provided a drawing and narrative on the restoration work. We then found local contractors to bid on the work, and of course, with any project in a historic district in Worcester, we had a review by the Historic Commission. The updated exterior lighting on our building helps to make the street more inviting, particularly in the evening. We hope others on Pleasant St. will participate in the TDI program to lift and improve the area and in return encourage others to invest in their properties, which will invite new businesses to the district and more people shopping, working, dining, and walking in the Pleasant St. area.”

“There is a need for walkability, connectivity, and comfortability patronizing the neighborhood for the individual experience of the residents and new visitors," said Chris Bettencourt, property and business owner of The Raven and Pleasant St. TDI Partner. “An attractive streetscape is key in positively affecting one’s sense of place and this program is a tool in achieving that.”

Applications are due by April 22, 2024. For more information and to access the application please contact Ivette Olmeda at or Vaske Gjino at

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