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Worcester’s Pleasant Street Receives State Support for Economic Growth Initiatives

For Immediate Release: 2/17/2022 12:49 pm

WORCESTER — City officials announced this week that Pleasant Street has been selected as one of the state’s next participants in the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI), a MassDevelopment program for Gateway Cities in the Commonwealth designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts.

The statewide program is doubling, representing a $23.7 million investment in Gateway Cities over three years. In addition to Pleasant Street in Worcester, new districts are being established in Attleboro, Hyannis, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Springfield, and Taunton. Gateway Cities are midsize urban centers that anchor regional economies around the state.

“Over the last several years, we have seen the tangible benefits of the TDI program in the Theatre District downtown and more recently in the Main South area,” City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. said. “We appreciate MassDevelopment’s continued support and look forward to working with the coalition of partners in the Pleasant Street area over the next few years to achieve their community development goals.”

TDI concentrates economic development activities, resources, and investments within designated neighborhood areas, known as “TDI districts,” for a term of two to four years. TDI districts are mixed-use with a commercial component, compact – with a five-minute walking radius or less – and are defined by a walkable, dense physical environment.

“The Pleasant Street neighborhood is made of great people and great businesses,” said District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera. “The neighborhood has dealt with multiple challenges that have affected quality of life for residents and the business community. As the district councilor, I advocated to have this area become a TDI district. Having the TDI will provide much needed resources that can help this community flourish to its full potential. “

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative works with cross-sector partnerships in targeted commercial districts in Gateway Cities in order to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. Since 2015, MassDevelopment has invested $20 million in TDI districts –such as Worcester’s Theatre District and Main South – through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $100.2 million in public and private investments in the districts, and assisted an additional $219.9 million.

"Pleasant Street, like many of our main streets, are really important spokes on the economic wheel in Worcester,” said state Representative Mary S. Keefe. “We've focused a lot of energy on the downtown area and now it's time to channel energy into the other spokes, and that means Pleasant Street. We've seen TDI work on Main South and we're very proud of that success, and now we're really excited to see it come to Pleasant so that we can see our businesses empowered."

The new districts will be awarded TDI fellows – MassDevelopment employees who will provide on-the-ground economic development expertise and collaborative leadership in these cities – and will have access to a range of tools to help accelerate development, including technical assistance, grants to support local market development and arts and cultural infrastructure, collaborative workshops, resources, events, and more.

“Gateway Cities are home to one-of-a-kind businesses, institutions, and communities that anchor regional economies across the Commonwealth,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “Our Administration was proud to launch MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative in 2015 as a mechanism for stimulating economic growth, and we’re excited to now expand this proven program’s reach in more than a dozen cities.”

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