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Urban Agenda

On Wednesday, January 13, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the inaugural round of awards from the Commonwealth’s Urban Agenda Grant Program during an event attended by dozens of town and city officials, as well as non-profit organization representatives. The combined $3 million in grant funding will go toward 16 economic development initiatives, planning, and housing development initiatives across 13 communities.

“The diversity of projects we are funding today – including a food manufacturing initiative in Dorchester, a Latino entrepreneurship program in Holyoke, a small business mentorship initiative in Greenfield and North Adams, a vocational-technical fabrication lab in Somerville, a neighborhood planning effort in Winthrop, and a housing development project in Lynn – speak to the myriad of forms urban economic development takes,” said Governor Baker.

Check out the full list of projects here.

Governor Baker kicked off the announcements by returning to Roxbury, the place where he had first announced his commitment to the state’s urban centers. It was there in Dudley Square that he presented the $225,000 grant award to Madison Park Development Corporation and Boston Education, Skills & Training Corp (BEST) to create a new 3,400 square foot hospitality training facility. The next day, January 13, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito announced the remainder of the grants during an event at the State House.

In Framingham on Thursday, a packed room welcomed Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito’s announcement highlighting the $125,000 grant to launch a one-stop microenterprise center that will boost entrepreneurship and the growth of startups by low- and moderate-income Framingham residents. 

“Urban Agenda grants build on our administration’s commitment to empowering communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “By supporting community-driven responses to local economic opportunities, this grant program will help transform urban neighborhoods.”

The three types of grants that are part of the program will empower urban communities to advance employment and economic opportunity, bring residents and stakeholders together to identify needs and create solutions, and expand housing opportunities with an emphasis on housing opportunities that leverage vacant or under-utilized publicly-owned land.

“The focus of our urban agenda is community empowerment across the Commonwealth, to meet local needs with locally driven solutions,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The partnerships that have formed in response to this new program will be essential to building leadership, collaboration, and capacity, while creating economic opportunities in the short term, and building a foundation for long-lasting economic development in our urban communities.”

The Commonwealth’s Urban Agenda Grant Program–proposed by the Baker-Polito Administration and funded by the Legislature in the FY16 budget–seeks to promote economic vitality and cultivate safer, stronger urban neighborhoods across Massachusetts. The Grant Program recognizes that urban communities face significant economic and quality of life challenges, and that the path to sustainable growth lies in tapping into unique local assets, rather than one-size-fits-all directives. 

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