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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Announces Economic Development Grants to Western Mass Region
August 19, 2008

Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce an influx of state aid to boost small business in the Town of Chesterfield and 10 surrounding western Massachusetts communities, totaling $151,050 in economic development grants.


Senator Downing said, “Economic development grants are essential to establishing and supporting vibrant communities across the Commonwealth.”


Grant funding comes from the Economic Development Fund (EDF), which is administered by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. EDF grants are a component of the federal Community Development Block Grant program.


Chesterfield will act as a lead community and administer a $151,050 EDF grant for itself, Ashfield, Chester, Cummington, Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Westhampton, Williamsburg and Worthington to continue and expand a regional program of technical assistance and training for micro- enterprises operated by Hilltown Community Development Corporation.  A micro- enterprise is a small business with five or fewer employees.


Downing added, “The Hilltown CDC is a conduit for sparking economic opportunity and job creation in the more rural reaches of western Massachusetts.”


The Hilltown CDC technical assistance program is provided through a pool of consultants and in-house staff addressing website development, marketing strategies and financial planning. The program will be matched with $12,000 from local banks and will serve 100 low- and moderate-income owners and developers of small businesses in the region.


EDF grants provide funding for projects that create and/or retain jobs, improve the local and/or regional tax base, or otherwise enhance the quality of life in the community. This program is offered to local communities for industrial, commercial, service, and mixed-use projects. The program offers assistance in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the proposed economic development project.




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