BOSTON – Today, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) and State Representative Wm. Smitty Pignatelli (D- Lenox) announce a FY 2010 Massachusetts Downtown Initiative Technical Assistance (MDI) Site Visit Program grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for the Town of Great Barrington.
The award – worth up to $10,000 – will provide consultant services to assist Great Barrington with implementation of a Business Improvement District.
Business improvement districts are public-private partnerships in which businesses in a defined area pay a fee to fund improvements within the district’s boundaries. The districts provide services such as street cleaning, security, capital improvements and marketing to the businesses operating within the area. These services are supplemental to those already provided by the host municipality.
“I support Great Barrington’s vision for a dynamic and thriving downtown,” said Downing. “The consultant services funded with this award will help community and business leaders vet potential obstacles to their initiative; I hope this process is helpful to all interested parties.”
"I think this is great news,” said Pignatelli. “The MDI Technical Improvement grants have proven to be a valuable resource in assisting communities such as Great Barrington with their Business Improvement Plan."
DHCD’s Massachusetts Downtown Initiative offers a range of services and assistance to communities seeking help on how to revitalize their downtowns. The MDI Technical Assistance Site Visit Program provides assistance to communities, through consultant services, targeting specific issues related to their downtown revitalization efforts. The goal of this technical assistance is to address and overcome potential obstacles to these 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 principles are that the most effective approach to downtown revitalization is a holistic one; that it addresses economic and community development needs; and that it provides a framework of interrelated activities that promote positive change in a downtown to keep it healthy and prosperous.
Successful downtown revitalization is comprehensive and includes a well-balanced community strategy composed of seven downtown building blocks:
* Encouraging Community Involvement & Ownership;
* Preserving & Enhancing Downtown Character;
* Ensuring Economic Vitality;
* Promoting Downtown Assets;
* Getting Into & Around Downtown;
* Living Downtown; and,
* Keeping Downtown Safe.