In December 2014, MassDevelopment announced the designation of 10 Gateway City districts identified for enhanced assistance through its Transformative Development Initiative (TDI). Worcester's Theatre District was named as one of the original TDI districts. TDI districts are eligible to receive enhanced technical assistance, small business grants, strategic real estate investments and additional staff capacity to support local visions for redevelopment and to catalyze and leverage investments and economic activities. The TDI district designation in the Theatre District ended in June 2018. In May 2018, MassDevelopment announced a two-year TDI district in Worcester's Main South neighborhood, which has been extended until September 2022. The Pleasant St corridor district has been approved by MassDevelopment as the next TDI designation in Worcester.
Worcester's Main South TDI district is one of the City's most diverse neighborhoods. Situated on a five-block stretch of Main Street, the district is about a half-mile from City Hall to the north and Clark University's campus to the south, and acts as a gateway for those traveling to downtown Worcester and the Webster Square neighborhood. Main South has a long and proud history as home to much of Worcester's blue-collar working class; splendid Victorian structures coexist with traditional triple-deckers that were built to house the workforce once employed in nearby industrial facilities. Aiming to bridge the success seen downtown, the TDI Partnership's vision is to engage local business and property owners, organize a business association and develop strategic reuse plans for vacant sites to help Main South become a walkable and vibrant neighborhood. The partners in the Main South TDI District include: The City of Worcester, the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, Clark University, Emmanuel Baptist Church and Main South CDC. Major initiatives with the TDI Partnership include:
After many positive and enthusiastic meetings between EOED Staff, neighborhood leaders and individual businesses, an application to designate the Pleasant St corridor as a TDI district was submitted to MassDevelopment. This district was one of twelve districts throughout the state to be approved by MassDevelopment, opening opportunities for new investments in the focused area.